ITASCA STATE PARK TO BEMIDJI
Tom ran out of Itasca State Park with Jonathan, Tanner and Brittany – with a nice send off from staff, faculty and students. Toes were baptized again at the headwaters along the way. Run/Bike exchange and Victoria headed north. Beautiful day for cycling and gathering the landscape of trees, sky and birds (didn’t see any fungi, Jonathon).
Road Closed Ahead!! Thankfully it was open to County Road 40 where Victoria turned east toward Bemidji. Many miles later we met our gracious hosts at Paul Bunyan Park, which was absolutely buzzing with activity. Bikes and runners, tourists and locals. It’s summer “up north” in Minnesota and this community is moving!
We had a great lunch at the park pavilion, including gulf shrimp (thanks Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board!!) and delicious rhubarb crisp for dessert. We closed with Victoria sharing a beautiful story from up-river and set off to continue gathering the voices of the community.
Tom engaged with Mayor Rita Albrecht and Gary Rozman from the Beltrami County History Center and found that Bemidji is very much shaped by the water and also bursting with civic pride and a strong sense of community stewardship.
Victoria spent a nice afternoon with Pete Harrison of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. They visited Bemidji State park – walking from beach to bog and exchanging stories.
The two of us returned to join James Pike at the park pavilion for a nice conversation with Kathryn Gonzalez, Laura Seter and Ann Skoe. Such connectedness here. Connected with land, water and people. Connected up-river and down-river. Connected with the past and optimistic for the future.