Byway Celebrates National Status with Friends and Food

Last September the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association (PBSBA) was notified that the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway had been awarded national scenic byway designation, becoming Minnesota’s newest member of the prestigious America’s Byways. On May 18, 2006, the Association invited its members, supporters, the local and greater Minnesota community to join in a celebration of this accomplishment shared by only 125 other byways in the United States.

Hosted by PBSBA member, AmericInn of Pequot Lakes, the two hour event, called An Amazing Afternoon, welcomed over one hundred attendees at a reception area arranged around the official America’s Byways national designation banner and featuring the PBSB logo on a celebration cake custom designed for the event by Al Klocke of Al’s Bakery in Pine River.

The afternoon included photo and conversation opportunities with characters, Paul Bunyan and Zebulon Pike’s Private Boley, an exhibit of the newest original oil by artist Tom Ottoson depicting Zeb Pike’s party traversing Cross Lake, a display of Paul Bunyan postcards and area community postcards shown by collector, Pete Bonesteel, Paul Bunyan’s baby boots on loan for the afternoon from the Pine River Chamber of Commerce, a photo video loop of Byway scenes provided by JM Plein Consulting, Byway information and Byway playing cards. Strolling musician, Drew Hines, gave the event a special touch.

Speakers for the afternoon program included Carol Altepeter, Northcentral West Region Manager; Mark Anderson, MnDOT State Byways Coordinator; Dick Haskett, founder and director of the National Scenic Byways Foundation; Melissa Samuelson representing Congressman Jim Oberstar, author of the original scenic byways legislation; and Duane Blanck, Crow Wing County Engineer. Blanck remarked that the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is located entirely on county roads. He stated there were few, if any, other national scenic byways in the US that can claim that distinction.

Following the speakers, the Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce ambassadors stretched a celebratory ribbon across a sturdy log, Paul Bunyan swung his axe, and the ribbon ‘axing’ was completed, ceremoniously christening the byway as an official nationally designated route.

In addition to the program, eight local foods vendors from the Byway area tempted taste buds and garnered crowd enthusiasm throughout the afternoon. Providing foods were: Brambleberry Farms, A-Pine Restaurant, Lakes Latte, Maryetta’s Pies, AJ’s Up North Buffalo Ranch, Wild Acres/Iven’s on the Bay, Shamp’s Meats and Al’s Bakery. Prudential Insurance sponsored the lemonade.

Sponsors for the National Designation Celebration were Explore Minnesota Tourism, Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association, Hunt Utility Group, Close-Converse Properties, Pine River State Bank, Breezy Point Resort. Live coverage of the event by KLKS radio was sponsored by Lakes State Bank, Whalen Woods and Lakeland Agency. Byway Association board member, Roger LaPointe, coordinated the afternoon activities.

The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association is a 501c3 organization. Learn more about the Byway in the other pages of this website or visit www.byways.org. Donations can be sent to PO Box 401, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472.

The Paul Bunyan National Scenic Byway Association seeks partnerships with organizations for Byway projects that fit into those organizations' missions. If you know of a group that is interested in partnering with the Byway Association or if you would like a list of current or upcoming projects, contact the Byway at 218-543-4714 or email.

News Category: 
Published Date: 
Monday, May 15, 2006
Published By: 
the Lake Country Echo