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Upcoming North Country Trail hikes planned

North Country Trail hikes

The Laurentian Lakes Chapter of the North Country Trail Association is sponsoring the following upcoming hikes. On Aug. 19, a series of section hikes from Itasca to Hubbel Pond begins again. Join a 6.4-mile hike from Camp 6 to the County Hwy. 26 trailhead. This hike goes through the Greenwater Lake Scientific and Natural Area. Meet at the County Hwy. 26 trailhead at 9 a.m. From Detroit Lakes, head east on State Hwy. 34 for 15.7 miles; north on Becker County 37 for 8 miles; then west on Becker County 26 for 1.5 miles. We will shuttle to the beginning of the hike. Bring water, snack and insect repellent. These are rain-or-shine hikes. For more information, call 218-841-2857.

Solar Eclipse Picnic Party

Join Itasca State Park naturalists from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21 for this social event as we celebrate the partial solar eclipse. Come and go at your leisure, bring a picnic lunch or purchase a grilled lunch available for purchase near the swim beach (provided by Douglas Lodge), and watch the partial solar eclipse. You can find the naturalist's nature cart and borrow a pair of solar eclipse shades to view the event. Also, learn about legends of the sun and stars, make a solar craft, and enjoy ice cream as volunteers with Friends of Itasca host a stellar ice cream social (fee). Meet by the Swim Beach/ Playground (at the south end of the picnic grounds on Lake Itasca).

11th Annual North Country Hiking Fest

Are you brave enough to get blitzed by hiking? Join us Saturday, Aug. 26 at Itasca State Park for a day packed full of family friendly and healthy activities focusing on getting outside and hiking. This year we celebrate the outdoors with an energetic and concerted effort to hike every trail in the park. Is there one trail at Itasca you like or is there a trail you always wanted to hike but never have? Pick one trail to hike or hike several throughout the day! We will be blitzing the trails by leading hikes on most of Itasca's trails throughout the day. Help us reach the goal of having every trail hiked on August 26.

Interested in leading a hike on your favorite trail? Contact us and let us know. Email naturalist Connie at Constance.cox@state.mn.us and let us know what trail you would like to lead a hike on (in the subject line use 'Hiking Blitz Hike Leader').

Join one or more of the hikes beginning at 10 a.m. at the visitor center and plan to stay for the cook-out dinner and featured speaker, Kyle Schulz, a master horticulturist, who will be presenting "Ferns of the North Country."

Dress for being outdoors, including sturdy boots that can get wet/muddy, water, energy snack, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, insect repellent- including tick gaiters and hiking/trekking poles.

This event is sponsored by both Itasca State Park and the Itasca Moraine and Laurentian Lakes Chapters of the National North Country Trail. Visit www.northcountrytrail.org/llc to learn about the trail system.

Thursdays Wildlife Excursion

Explore the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge with a knowledgeable guide every Thursday from June through August. The program begins at 10 a.m. Search for wildlife and learn about the natural and cultural history of the refuge. Meet at the visitor center for this two-hour driving tour. For more information, contact the refuge at 218-847-2641 or visit www.fws.gov/refuge/tamarac.

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