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Photographer finds beauty in parks across Minnesota, including Itasca

Doug Ohman describes his book "Prairie, Lake, Forest: Minnesota's State Parks" to an admiring crowd. (Abbie Grossman / Enterprise)

Doug Ohman has visited all 66 state parks throughout Minnesota. His favorite building throughout all the Minnesota state parks is the Douglas Lodge at Itasca, built in 1905.

Photographer Doug Ohman, who grew up in Anoka, now lives in New Hope and has several books published featuring his photographs such as "Barns of Minnesota" written by Will Weaver, "Churches of Minnesota" written by Jon Hassler and "Prairie, Lake, Forest: Minnesota's State Parks" written by Chris Niskanen.

Wednesday, June 8 at the Park Rapids Area Library, Ohman discussed his book "Prairie, Lake, Forest: Minnesota State Parks" with over 200 photographs of state parks statewide. His journey throughout Minnesota took roughly two and a half years to complete, though he enjoyed it thoroughly.

Ohman tells about the history in the Minnesota State Parks, starting with the first five ever to be established.

Itasca was established in 1891, Ohman said, and was the first state park in Minnesota, "Minnesota's Yellowstone" as he calls it.

After Itasca, Interstate, Fort Ridgely, Minneopa and Jay Cooke are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th oldest state parks in Minnesota. With great enthusiasm Ohman went into detail about the history and landmarks of these first five state parks.

While walking the Savanna Portage, a trail running through the Savanna Portage State Park, Ohman tells about the mosquitoes, and his feigned bravery for attempting to walk the 6 mile one way trek that ended with him running for the cover of his truck, only to find a large can of bug spray on the seat.

Ohman goes on to describe the various recreational activities such as camping in cabins, tents, campers, skiing, tree tapping, horseback riding, rock climbing, snowmobiling, bird watching, snowshoeing or hiking all the way to a campsite with only a backpack or a cart.

"Everything smells and tastes better when you're camping" Ohman said and goes on to tell of how he was often invited to eat with the campers.

There are so many things to do in Minnesota state parks and Ohman urges everyone to truly enjoy them for the beauty and entertainment they hold, not to take them for granted.