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2013: A year in review

Governor's Fishing Opener (Enterprise File Photo)

The Park Rapids lakes area had an exciting 2013 with several events that drew many people to the area and put Park Rapids on the map.

The Governor’s Fishing Opener was a highlight. The community as a whole stepped up and more than 400 volunteers shared their time and talent to make the event a success.

This is something that the community can and should be proud of for years to come.

A very late ice out brought extra media attention leading up to the GFO but it was a blessing in disguise.

The more attention the better. Park Rapids is on the radar of many more people now.

Main street was lined with family activities and booths showcasing facets of the community during the GFO. It really brought the community together.

And during the GFO Dorset’s Mayor, Robert “Bobbie” Tufts, became a national sensation after a WCCO TV interview went viral.

Robert is no ordinary mayor. The 4-year-old from Nevis was “elected” mayor of the tiny town of Dorset (population 22) at last year’s Taste of Dorset festival. He was re-elected at Taste of Dorset later in the summer.

After the GFO high the area suffered the destruction of the Green Valley Fire, which burned about 7,100 acres just north of Menahga. Winds made the fire spread quickly and made it difficult to contain.

The community again came together for a different kind of cause. Many donations came in to help those who lost their homes. Rebuilding has begun but it will continue this spring.

Discussions about a proposed oil pipeline that would go through Hubbard County has been of interest to many people in the community. More information will become available in 2014.

Throughout the year downtown Armory Square has been drawing more and more people to events and activities.

It has attracted statewide attention and legislators have toured the facility. The hope is to have the facility included on the 2014 bonding bill. We look forward to seeing what happens next.

In 2013 we also said goodbye to the historic Red Bridge over Fish Hook River. The Department of Natural Resources is replacing the bridge with a larger steel structure as part of a larger Heartland Trail project.

The bridge isn’t gone completely, though. It is now sitting in Red Bridge Park. Interested parties will be coming up with ideas for how to incorporate the bridge into the park’s landscape.

This fall, the Park Rapids area again received national attention through local chef Amy Thielen who published a cookbook and was featured on a TV show on Food Network called “Heartland Table.”

It was well received and she will be filming more episodes.

According to Amy Thielen’s Facebook page, “Food Network announces it! #HeartlandTable will be back early next year. THANK YOU to everyone who asked for more! I’m putting my all into season 2.”

2014 should bring more excitement to the area.

The annual Community Fishing Contest will be here Saturday, Feb. 1. This event is always a big draw to the area.

And we’re excited that the second annual Heartland 106 snowmobile race will be happening again in Hubbard County Feb. 22-23.

Last year at the inaugural event, 120 snowmobilers whizzed through the county for the U.S. X-Country Snowmobile Race.

After the winter events will bring summer, which is prime tourism season. We expect this year to be busy after the media attention of last year.

We look forward to 2014 and know that it will be an exciting time for the Park Rapids area.