“What you’ve done with the Byway is make more people aware of so many places in the area that we just didn’t know anything about before.”

The woman who passed along this observation had just spent time walking on the Veterans Hiking Trail at Island Lake Woods. Like many of us, she had driven past that spot along County Road #16 hundreds of times and never gave it a second thought.

Thinking twice about the array of resources, points of interest and intriguing stories right outside one’s own back door can be a surprising enlightenment.

Along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway’s fifty four miles are examples of mystery and legend, glorious natural beauty, historical commemorations, cultural icons and culture in the making.

Do you see what’s around you when you drive the Byway? Here’s a quick quiz.

Can you name the road on which the resource is located?
Site of Sioux & Ojibwe battle; marked with a wooden sign
‘Nuts’ and ‘Bolts’; metal horses and wooden wagon display
Chiarella Forest Management Area and Hiking Trail
Boulder field

Puzzled? Then the time is right for a drive!

Last year, the PBSBA created a tear-off map listing many of the points of interest along the route. Even more information, as well as beautiful photos, is on the Byway photo tour. Take a look!

The Byway’s resources are much more though, than places to stop, see and do. Some of the most precious resources are the stories of yesterday’s and today’s people who have lived along the Byway route and in the Byway area.

The famous ones, like Captain Billy Fawcett of Breezy Point Resort fame, are already familiar stories. But the heart and soul of the area is in the stories of people like forester, Art Savage; welder, Bill Habein; trapper, John Knutsen; resorter, Nancy Schwieters; early residents like the Heath family, the Swann family, the Arvigs and so many more.

The stories of the people and the families are the cultural fabric of the Byway. Printed on it are scenic places, both natural and developed, like Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area, the Whitefish Chain and Ossie Chains of Lakes, Breezy Cemetery Walking Path, Crosslake Corps of Engineers Recreation Area, Bobberland Park, Island Lake Woods and the Old Grade Logging Area; historical places like the Sioux & Ojibwe Battle Site, the Crosslake Dam, the Historic Log Village, the Resort Museum; legendary places like Fawcett House at Breezy Point, Manhattan Beach Lodge with its yarns from the roaring 20’s, Cod Kimball Homestead and the old Posting Tree on County Road #1.

It catches us off guard sometimes when we start to really see the grandeur of all that is around us every day.

The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association seeks to continually raise awareness of all these things. Uniting the 14 jurisdictions within the Byway route area through these common themes, decorating those themes with the unique and unusual within each area, and bringing the stories to life are part of our every day mission.

But, there’s more. The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway adds a dimension to our area that delights visitors and encourages them to stay a little longer. Their drive trips, restaurant meals, visits to Byway attractions, souvenir purchases and general shopping add directly to our local economy. More than that, though, the time spent on the Scenic Byway offers travelers the chance to enjoy the legacies of our area, to connect with places and stories even as they relax and play; to gain an understanding and appreciation of the beauty and stories that surround us every day.

Are we doing a good job of making...“more people aware of so many places in the area that we just didn’t know anything about before.”?

There can be no greater endorsement to the success of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway than to hear words like these.

News Category: 
Published Date: 
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Published By: 
Inkslinger, Volume 4 Issue 1 - Spring 2003