Byway, Corps ask for public's help to create interactive gardens
by Kate Perkins
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association (PBSBA) and the Army Corps of Engineers Crosslake Recreation Area are working together to create the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens and Environmental Interpretive Gardens outside the recreation area offices in Crosslake.
What’s now a grassy field will become an area with vibrant flowers and plants, walkways, growing examples of lunch box gardens and community shared agriculture, and colorful statues for children to climb on and enjoy.
An additional entrance to the corps office building will also be constructed, surrounded by an eye-catching mosaic. The entrance will lead into a room with interpretive displays, historical information and Paul Bunyan lore and memorabilia. Together these new features will make a fun, educational, interactive space for the community.
The two portions of the project-- the Linda Ulland Memorial Garden and the Environmental Interpretive Garden-- have received financial assistance in the form of grants from the University of Minnesota Extension Office and the Army Corps of Engineers. While the grants will finance infrastructure, supplies and materials, help is needed from the public to complete the project.
A survey showed that travelers along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway spent an estimated $21.6 million in the region in 2010. The same survey, supported through the Central Regional Sustainable Development Project, showed that 23,800 people came to the area specifically to visit the byway.
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, a series of roads that winds through Crosslake, Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Jenkins and Pine River, has several attractions on its route- including the Pequot Lakes fire tower, the Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area, Veterans Walking Trail and more. The entire byway has 8-foot shoulders for biking and recreation, and fourteen interpretive panels are located at popular byway stops. Soon the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, attracting tourists and residents alike, will add the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens to its list of popular places to visit.
While grants have made infrastructure and materials purchases possible, the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway and Army Corps of Engineers will soon be approaching businesses, organizations and the community for support in fundraising the remaining cost of the garden, including adding the statuary components of the gardens.
Lynn Scharenbroich, an active volunteer for the byway, said the statuary will be child-friendly and interactive. A butterfly bench will enhance the butterfly garden, and so will a large caterpillar statue that children will be able to climb upon and through. Local artisans, including well-known sculptor, Josh Porter of Avalon Studios, will be creating the statuary. All the equipment will meet current safety codes.
The Whitefish Area Lodging Association has donated a bench to be placed in the garden that will look like a giant s’more treat, in keeping with its branding of the area as the “S’more Capital of Minnesota.” Additional helpful partnerships include JM Plein Consulting, Taren Saccoman, MN Backyard Birds and Crow Wing County Extension-Master Gardeners. These groups will be blogging media updates, helping to create the mosaic on the new entrance, providing bird houses and aiding in plant selection and installation for the gardens.
According to Corrine Hodapp, supervisory park ranger at the Crosslake Recreation Area, even with the help of these entities and grant money, donations will be necessary to make the gardens a reality.
The byway association and corps hope, because of the strong economic impact of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway and its well-regarded project history, the community will aid in bringing these gardens to life at the Army Corps of Engineers.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the gardens can send check to the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, PO Box 401, Pequot Lakes, MN, 56472. Help in the form of volunteerism is also greatly appreciated; interested parties can call Hodapp at the Crosslake Corps of Engineers office at 651-290-5790.