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Jefferson Highway Association annual conference slated for Park Rapids in May; coach will tour Itasca

The Jefferson Highway was the first international highway to traverse the North American continent from north to south. It runs from Winnipeg to New Orleans.

The Lake Country Scenic Byway has announced plans for the 3rd annual international conference of the Jefferson Highway Association. The conference headquarters will be the C’mon Inn Hotel & Suites, Park Rapids, Friday and Saturday, May 30-31.

On Friday, May 30, conference attendees will be able to interact with several presenters on topics related to the conference theme: The Jefferson Highway in the Land of Lakes & Pines. Also on the agenda will be the Association’s annual business meeting. The Northern Knights Car Club will host a Back to the 50s and 60s event Friday evening.

On Saturday, May 31, the conference will hit the road for a motor coach tour of Itasca State Park, with park naturalists showing the 1925 route of the Jefferson Highway in the park and a visit to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. After lunch at historic Douglas Lodge in Itasca State Park, the tour will make several stops, including historical museums in Menahga and Park Rapids. The conference will conclude with an awards ceremony, walleye and wild rice dinner and music by the Upper Mississippians, 20s-30s jazz band.

The Jefferson Highway, named after Thomas Jefferson, was the first international highway to traverse the North American continent from north to south. Also known as the highway from ”Pine to Palm,” the road runs from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana to New Orleans.

The route in the greater Park Rapids area generally follows the current U.S. Highway 71.

The Jefferson Highway Association was revived with the following statement of purpose:

n The Jefferson Highway Association (JHA) shall identify, preserve, interpret and improve access to the Jefferson Highway and its associated sites.

n The JHA shall pursue the appropriate measures to prevent further deterioration, destruction or alteration of the remaining sections of the Jefferson Highway.

n The JHA shall publicize and seek public awareness of its goals and activities for preserving, promoting and developing the Jefferson Highway.

n The JHA shall facilitate research about the Jefferson Highway, and maintain a website and publish a newsletter for articles and news of activity relevant to the JHA.

n The JHA shall work with local communities and businesses to promote the Jefferson Highway as a tourism destination.

n The JHA shall be exclusively charitable and educational within the meaning of Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Look for conference registration information at the Association’s website or call 641-377-2278 for additional information.

The Lake Country Scenic Byway stretches 67 miles of Minnesota State Highway 34 from Detroit Lakes to Park Rapids and Walker and 21 miles of U.S. Highway 71 between Park Rapids and Itasca State Park. The 88-mile route traverses 3 counties (Becker, Hubbard and Cass) and reflects the transition from pine forest, through northern hardwoods, to the edge of the prairie. As the name indicates, byway visitors will see many lakes, rivers and streams on their travels. Learn more about the Lake Country Scenic Byway at www.lakecountryscenicby