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Leaf Days at Maplewood: State park marks its 50th anniversary

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Leaf Days at Maplewood: State park marks its 50th anniversary
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

A special Maplewood State Park Birthday Reunion will be held from 2-4 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Josh Hanson Memorial Picnic Shelter. 

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There will be cake and people will share stories of living in Maplewood Township before it became a state park. There also will be stories of the early days of the park, which was established in 1963.

For two weekends, Sept. 28-29 and Oct. 5-6, the Friends of Maplewood will give wagon rides to view the fall colors during the annual Leaf Days.

Maplewood State Park

“Visitors can enjoy beautiful scenery from their vehicles, hike on some of the 25 miles of hiking trails and enjoy a picnic in the park,” said John Nordstrom, who heads the Friends of Maplewood organization. “A hike to the top of Halloway Hill will provide a beautiful vista of Lake Lida and the fall colors.”

All activities will start at the Josh Hanson Memorial Picnic Shelter. There will also be food for sale at the shelter.

“Come join your friends for a day in the park,” said Nordstrom. “Remember to bring your camera.”

Additional events will be going on each day.  On all four days, a 4.5-mile hike will be led by North Country Trail members, who will leave the picnic shelter at 10:30 a.m. 

Other Leaf Days events will include using a GPS, drawing landscapes, nature photography, carving demonstrations, pioneer crafts, a children’s class on animals that live in trees, and Native American artifacts.

Early proponents of the state park, in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, appreciated the Maplewood area’s native woodlands of oak, maple, birch, elm, basswood and aspen. A state park planning committee discussed options on land acquisition in the proposed park area. State legislation was proposed on the establishment of the park, which led to its establishment 50 years ago.

The park entrance is located seven miles east of Pelican Rapids on Highway 108. 

With questions, call the park at 218-863-8383.

Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent

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