Northern Minnesota Track Club

Author: rhendrickson (page 2 of 2)

Mission Creek Restoration Work by SWCD

Following is a release from the South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), who will be doing some work in and around Mission Creek in Fond du Lac. This is in the area where the Superior Hiking Trail trailhead is located. From Ann Thompson:

Hello Trail Users,

The South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is about to begin restoration of Mission Creek. Our work will be contained in the stream corridor, and we won’t be closing any trails. But we do want to make sure you are safe.

Construction will be taking place in the Fond du Lac neighborhood near the SHT spur trail, Indigenous Land bike trail and 131st Avenue West. Please be aware of your surroundings and stay away from equipment and the construction zone. Keep pets on-leash for their safety.

Please call Ann at the SWCD office with any questions or concerns (218-723-4867).

Mission Trail User Letter

Volunteer Opportunity – Jay Cooke Annual Candlelight Event

Jay Cooke’s annual candlelight event is coming up this week, Saturday February 9 from 6 – 9 pm. This year it looks like everything is coming together (bathrooms – working, water – running, snow – YES!) so we’re looking forward to holding this event. This event attracts 100’s of participants, so we really appreciate all the volunteers that help us with setting this up. This is where we hoping you might be interested in participating.

We are looking for volunteers to help with any one of our three shifts.

Some basics:

  • We have people work in teams, so you’re not out there by yourself
  • Although the entire trail is 1.8 miles we only have volunteers work a section of it so you’d need to be able to walk/ski about ½ – ¾ mile.
  • We love volunteers of all ages, so if you want to bring your young one along please do. As long as they are supervised by yourself and can contribute to the task they’re welcome to join us.
  • You can walk, snowshoe or ski. We have snowshoes to borrow if you wish. We use sleds to carry the bags and candles.
  • This involves bending. Filling the bags with snow, placing the candles, lighting or taking it all apart depending on the shift.
  • Bonus! – As a thank you we feed you … volunteers are welcome to join the staff potluck.

The shifts:

  1. Set-up 1 – 3 pm (depending on the number of volunteers this is often shorter). Set out the bags and candles on the event trail.
  2. Lighting 4:30 – 6 pm Right before the event starts we send out our volunteers to light all the candles.
  3. Take down 9 – 10 pm Blow out the candles, pick up the bags and candles.

If you are available to help with this event please let me know:

  1. Who? (if you’re volunteering more than one person)
  2. What shift are you available for?
  3. Are you walking, snowshoeing or skiing? (this help me pair up people)

Thanks for your consideration, and regardless we hope to see you out on the trail!


Kristine Hiller
Interpretive Naturalist | Minnesota Parks and Trails
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Jay Cooke State Park
780 Highway 210
Carlton, MN 55718
Phone: 218-673-7005
Email: kris.hiller@state.mn.us

Powerlines Trail Remediation

This request remains in effect. While the powerline corridor work is complete, the remediation will take some time to gain a foothold.

Hello, trail community! As you may be aware, there have been some recent dramatic looking changes to the Powerlines. NMTC has been working with the City of Duluth regarding the MN Power remediation that is occurring. The City of Duluth and NMTC do have plans to re-evaluate a trail corridor together once the remediation process has been completed but in the meantime, all trail users are asked to refrain from using the former trails through the Powerlines. Please be patient as it could potentially take a few years for the Powerlines to be fully healed and ready to go.

We ask that all trail runners respect this temporary closure while the remediation takes place and that you pass the word along. Continuing to use these closed trails will reflect poorly on the trail running community as a whole and may jeopardize our ability to return to them.

What does this mean in the interim?

The race courses for the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and the Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra have been altered to not use the Powerlines for the time being.

Again – the Powerlines are temporarily closed to all trail users until remediation is completed and a new route can be made. Thanks for your help in spreading the word.

Next up! Long races for a long summer!

Photo Credit: Paula Barry

Photo Credit: Paula Barry

Well, the Spring Series is complete, and a good time was had by all. Final overall standings and results are available on the Race Schedules page. Next up are the two summer races, a couple of selections that will test your mettle:

Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon
Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon

Hope to see you out there, on one side of the aid station table or the other! Also, the NMTC Fall Series schedule is also available – but, hey, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. 😉

NMTC Spirit Mountain Run

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

The Spirit Mountain Run is one of the grand old men of Twin Ports area races. Dating back to 1974, only the Park Point 5 Miler can claim a longer lineage (1972). The event was originally founded by the North Shore Striders, then adopted by the Northern Minnesota Track Club (NMTC) when the Striders stepped away from holding the race in the mid-1980’s. Over time the race has varied between it’s original 10-mile distance and a slightly shorter 15K (9-ish) mile version, though all have used the western section of Skyline Parkway for the course.

Recently, the run returned to the full 10-miler and it’s original starting line below the Spirit Mountain chalet. The run is a simple out-and-back, following Skyline Parkway out to Becks Road, and returning along the same route. This is a very straight-forward dirt / gravel course leveraging a portion of a rather historic feature of Duluth. Following is a little bit of background we hope you will enjoy.

Photo Credit: Ron Hendrickson

Photo Credit: Ron Hendrickson

Back in the late 1800’s William Rogers had a vision. The Ohio transplant had an affinity for a natural formation that lay high up on the Duluth hillside; a terrace formed by the once lapping waves of an ancient lake. Over the course of 10,000 years, after the last of the glaciers had receded, the land upon which the ice had previously existed rebounded. The rising land, in concert with the falling lake level left behind a ghost of sorts – that of Lake Superior’s ancestor, glacial Lake Duluth – in the form of a natural bench that now sat at an elevation some 475′ above the current Superior shoreline.

Rogers appreciated the beauty of the vistas this bench offered those who could travel along it, and determined that it should be incorporated into a system of parks that he hoped would someday span the length and breadth of the fast-growing city of Duluth. The ancient shoreline, as he envisioned, could be developed as a parkway providing the backbone connecting parks and green spaces that criss-crossed the hillside. As a banker and head of the city’s first park board, William Rogers secured funding and began to make good on his plan. Skyline Parkway, though it was not called that at the time, was born. The year was 1889.

Two years later the first segment of the parkway was complete, drastically over budget but beautiful to behold. Only 5 miles of roadway were in place, from Chester Creek west to Miller Creek, but the route was terrifically popular among locals and visitors alike. Unfortunately, William Rogers left the city of Duluth shortly thereafter. The baton was set down, waiting for another champion.

The wait lasted over three decades, until Mayor Sam Snively appeared on the scene. Snively shared Rogers’ vision of the city-spanning parkway, and firmly established the political momentum and financing that would rekindle and sustain construction. Under Snively’s tireless leadership, the avenue expanded quickly and significantly. To the west it soon stretched as far as Fond Du Lac. It would also meander eastward and eventually connect with another road – which Snively had privately funded, built and donated to the city – called Snively Road, now known as Seven Bridges Road. In 1929, the road was given its current name, Skyline Parkway. By 1937, the final segments were completed to give the parkway its full 25 mile reach.

Written by: R. Hendrickson, with help from zenithcity.com.
For more great Skyline history, check this out: Skyline Parkway & Seven Bridges Road

Each Spring, NMTC runners embark on the Spirit Mountain Run, ambling 10 miles out-and-back over a section of roadway that is the product of the dreams and fortitude of William Rogers and Sam Snively. Shortly after the start, as you approach the beautiful Stewart Creek Bridge, you will see the recently restored granite of a reflecting pool and its feeding channel on the right hand side of the road. This monument was constructed to honor the man who drove most of the construction of Skyline Parkway, Sam Snively.

As you run by, maybe give the monument a little tip of the hat, for Sam Snively’s sake, and for that of his predecessor, William Rogers. Thanks guys. We enjoy the view. And it’s also a nice place for a run…

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Ron Hendrickson

Photo Credit: Ron Hendrickson

NMTC Point Pine Run

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

NMTC runs tend to take on titles that reflect the personality of their course. So, while this route heads out to the end of what’s commonly called Park Point, it was aptly named the NMTC Point Pine Run – as the title encompasses two important aspects of the surroundings.

First, the course follows Minnesota Point. So, we have the “Point” part covered, but let’s throw this out there as well. Combined with Wisconsin Point, this stretch comprises the largest freshwater sandbar in the world. No kidding. Now that’s a nice conversation starter at a party. The “Pine” aspect honors the fact that much of the run flows through old-growth White and Red Pine, some of which is over 200 years old.

This out-and-back route starts at the end of Minnesota Ave. on Park Point, and follows the well-established Minnesota Point Hiking Trail, 2 miles out and 2 miles back. And we hear ya’, you trail runners want an elevation profile. So, here you go:

Seriously flat...

OK, we kid. But not much. Not a lot of up and down here – 60 ft. of calf-crushing gain and loss over 4 miles, about a foot at a time. But, don’t worry, the trail will throw in a little sandy surprise to make up for the lack of grade.

Along the way you’ll note a couple interesting structures. Almost at the end stand the ruins of the Minnesota Point Lighthouse, constructed in 1858. It operated for 20 years under a single keeper before being abandoned in 1878. Nearby is the old U.S. Lighthouse Station Depot, a concrete structure that once was used to store buoys and the acetylene used in batteries for the lighthouse back in Canal Park.

And, of course, the trail’s most distinguishing feature lies just north. We hear there’s a big lake there…

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

NMTC Western Waterfront Run

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

The NMTC Western Waterfront Run has become the traditional season opener for the NMTC Spring Series. Like a grizzled, veteran starting pitcher, the solid surface of the course provides a reliable option for the first race of the year, unflinching in the temperamental Duluth spring weather.

The course is an out-and-back, run on a 2.4-ish mile section of the trail starting in the trailhead lot behind the Willard Munger Inn. The easy-to-follow course traverses west, staying on the Western Waterfront Trail to Spring Street, where it turns-around and returns from whence it came.

If you’re still shaking the rust out of those those early season legs, the trail’s non-technical nature and flat profile will let you ease on in. On the other hand, if your engine is already revving, the wide trail allows you to grip it and rip it. As for what you’ll see, the Duluth Trails web site’s simple description tells it well:

As you amble about this 8-foot wide level, graveled pathway, you will likely note some of the 270+ bird species or aquatic mammals along the banks of the St. Louis River estuary. Several marsh habitats along nine miles of shoreline make this a gem in the park system of Duluth. This trail was designed specifically to provide non-motorized access on an old railroad right-of-way, on a route that provided service between Duluth and St Paul in the late 1800′s.

Excerpted from: http://duluthtrails.com/western-waterfront/

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Whoo! Hoo! The 2017 race schedules are available!

Photo Credit: Paula Barry

Photo Credit: Paula Barry

Are you ready? The NMTC Spring and Fall Series schedules are now available. See them here: Race Schedules

The dates for our long trail races, the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile are also set – and registration is now open!

Come on out and play in the woods…

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