Newsroom Midwest Region

For Immediate Release:
May 28, 2012

Kelly Blackledge, 218-847-2641;
Matt Davis, 701-388-1883;

Detroit Lakes, MN - North Country Trail Grand Opening event set for Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge

This section of elevated walkway protects the fragile and wet soils of the tamarac and black spruce bog. Photo courtesy of Jim Sinclair.
This section of elevated walkway protects the fragile and wet soils of the tamarac and black spruce bog. Photo courtesy of Jim Sinclair.

Put your hiking boots on and head to Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1st. The North Country Trail Association’s Laurentian Lakes Chapter and Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge are partnering to host an all-day event to celebrate the Grand Opening of a new 21-mile segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail in Becker County.

The event will kick off on Friday, May 31st with a free evening presentation by noted Minnesota author, naturalist, and nature photographer Stan Tekeila at the Frazee High School at 7:00 p.m. Stan’s program is entitled “The Lives of Wolves, Coyote and Fox.” You’ll learn about the intriguing lives of these elusive wild animals of Minnesota.

Saturday’s event will feature a variety of guided, themed hikes and a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new North Country Trail segment at 10:00 a.m. Meet leaders of the partnering organizations and enjoy the 75th Refuge Anniversary cake. Headquarters for the event will be the Pine Lake Boat Access, located just off County 29 about 6 miles north of State Hwy 34 and just 14 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes. Attendees should look for event signs along Highway 29 and may stop in to the tent from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to learn more about specific event activities, the North Country Trail, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, how to report wildlife sightings on the Refuge, or to purchase nature items from the Friends of Tamarac.

The hikes begin with a guided 14.5 mile “Trek Across Tamarac” which is a wildlife biologist led hike of the North Country Trail across the Refuge. Hikers should meet at the trailhead at 400th Avenue at 8:00 a.m. for a shuttle to the hike’s starting point. This hike will conclude by 4:00 p.m. Please pre-register for this long hike by calling Mathew Davis at 701-388-1883.

The next hike will be a one-hour Bird Hike for which hikers/birders should meet at the Pine Lake Parking Area at 9:00 a.m. A short, family-friendly “Taste of the Trail” hike will be offered at 11:00 a.m. leaving right from the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Also at 11:00 a.m., we’ll have a “History Hike” which will cover some of the area’s fascinating people of the past. Take the shuttle from the event headquarters up to the Tamarac Lake Access for a 3-mile hike back to your car.

At noon a hike with tips on using GPS will depart the Pine Lake parking lot for a 2-mile loop hike along Tamarac Lake. At 1:00 p.m., a photo hike safari will leave the event headquarters on a bus for a driving tour stopping at a couple of places to hike on the new trail to great wildlife photography vistas. This tour will conclude by 4:00 p.m. Parents interested in learning more about hiking with kids should meet at the Old Indian Trailhead at 2:00 p.m. for a group hike where tips will be shared.

Finally, at 3:00 p.m. a 1-mile “Wildflower Hike” will leave from the event headquarters.

The North Country National Scenic Trail is a 4,600-mile trail that journeys from the Adirondack Mountains of New York to the plains of North Dakota. The newly completed section in Becker County runs from Greenwater Lake Scientific and Natural Area south through Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and is an extension a contiguous 150-mile segment heading north from County Highway 35 and then east to Itasca State Park and, ultimately, to Remer in Cass County. This new segment in Becker County represents a significant advancement for the North Country Trail in Minnesota and is the result of the efforts of the Laurentian Lakes Chapter volunteers; two Legacy trail grants obtained by Becker County; and a great partnership between the NCTA, Becker County, Minnesota DNR, two private landowners who host the NCT on their land, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

More information about this event can be found online at or by contacting Tamarac Refuge at 218-847-2641 / or Matthew Davis at 701-388-1883 / This event will be held rain or shine. Check for the latest event information at