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Annual 'Walk for Glendalough' celebrates park's 25th birthday

For 20 years, the annual "Walk for Glendalough" has been a much anticipated celebration of spring when visitors to Glendalough State Park in Battle Lake can view bluebirds and blooming pasque flowers and listen to the call of loons. This year, Glendalough State Park Partners and the Department of Natural Resources' Parks and Trails staff will also celebrate the park's 25th birthday, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at the trail center at Glendalough State Park.

There is no fee to enter the park on this day, but because the walk is intended as a fund-raiser, donations will be encouraged. Bring the family for some exercise, fun and food!

The Glendalough State Park Partners will provide lodge tours, eagle nest viewing and food and door prizes. Meet the area naturalist and see what surprises he has in his cart. For those people who are unable to walk or bike long distances, shuttles will be available for a trail tour with a stop near the eagle nest.

As always, the walk provides an opportunity for park visitors to see new park developments and learn about future park projects. A timeline in the trail center shows how far the park has come since it was established in 1991.

A few of the new developments include:

New flooring in the trail center, complete with a replica of the original hand-cut Glendalough script that highlighted the old floor for 65 years.

Several comfortable chairs were purchased for the fireplace area, and benches have been installed outside the trail center for Glendalough's new outdoor seating area. Once work is completed this summer, this seating area will be available for park programs and school groups, as well as private events and weddings.

Bike rentals have been added as a concession. New bicycle hitches are being installed at bike trail/ hiking trail intersections this spring, so bicyclists can take a break from their bike ride, secure their bike and explore a hiking trail.

A portion of the proceeds from this year's event will go toward completing the makeover of the trail center, finishing the outdoor seating area and funding archery equipment for the park. Past walk events have raised funds to provide year-round restrooms at the trail center, restore and furnish the historic lodge, build a picnic shelter and a hiking bridge, add heat and electricity to the camper cabins, purchase rental canoes, construct and fund a bird-feeding station, plant trees and native prairie flowers, create the campfire program area and purchase AEDs. In its 20 years, the walk has contributed close to $250,000 in park improvements.

"Many of the amenities that park visitors enjoy today would not have been possible without the funds raised by the walk," said Wiersma. "If you haven't been to a walk before, or have missed a few years, this is a great year to come and celebrate these improvements."

Donuts, coffee and cider will be served at the trail center beginning at 9 a.m. A bratwurst lunch will be served at 11 a.m. and returning walkers may gather at the old tennis court to hear the latest park news, total funds raised and have the opportunity to win a prize. Lunch this year will also include a slice of birthday cake.

Free posters are available to all. The event wraps up by noon, but visitors can always extend their day with an overnight stay in the cart-in campground, a camper cabin or a yurt. For more information, call the park at 218-864-0110 or visit dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/glendalough.

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