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Just a Day in the Park Week 7: Northward Ho!

Just a Day in the Park
Just a Day in the Park with Traveler Luke Gorski

Luke Gorski's journey has led him into KAXE/KBXE's neck of the woods this week, and he visited some of the gems of the Minnesota State Parks system. The parks visited by Luke this week include Itasca, Buffalo River, Lake Bemidji, Old Mill, and Lake Bronson.

If you've been to Itasca to visit the headwaters this time of year, you'll be able to commiserate with Luke's experience. "I tried to go to the headwaters," Luke said. "But there were too many people for me, so I did skip the headwaters. However geography nerds will know that the headwaters is only constructed where it is because that was the best place to develop a tourist attraction."

Did our intrepid explorer get off the trail to find the the true source? "There's technically Elk Lake and Mississippi Spring deep in the forest, but you'd have to be a crazy person to go out there. I didn't do enough research to do that."

Luke did climb the fire tower at Itasca, and like many of us, had a powerful experience at the top of the tower. "It was like looking out into a sea of trees."

The other gem that Luke visited during his trek this week is Lake Bemidji, and visited the bog walk at a very special time of year. "I saw quite a few ladyslippers on the side of the bog walk. The bog walk is pretty awesome."

Next on Luke's itinerary is Hayes Lake, Zipple Bay on Lake of the Woods, Franz Jevney on Rainy River, Savannah Portage, Hill Annex Mine, Schoolcraft, Scenic, and then McCarthy Beach. Luke continues to be in our neck of the woods, so wave if you see him.

Overall, Luke is looking forward to these inland parks and the north shore parks that will conclude his journey. But how do the Minnesota State Parks compare to the Iowa and South Dakota State Parks he's visited in the past? "Minnesota State Parks definitely have the best systemin the three states, especially for day hikers. A camper might have a different opinion. Minnesota has strong trail systems at all of the parks. and the highest concentration of large parks."

A view from high atop the Itasca fire tower
A view from high atop the Itasca fire tower
Lake Bemidji Bog Walk
The Bog Walk at Lake Bemidji State Park

Heidi Holtan has worked at KAXE/KBXE for over 22 years. She currently helms the Morning Show as News and Public Affairs Director where she manages producers, hosts local interviews and programs, oversees and manages web stories and establishes focus areas of programming like phenology, clean energy, Indigenous voices, Strong Women, local foods, clean energy, economic development and more. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North. In 2018 Heidi received the “Building Bridges in Media” award from the Islamic Resource Group for her work on KAXE/KBXE hosting conversations about anti-Muslim movements in rural Minnesota. During the pandemic, Heidi hosted 14 months of a weekly statewide conversation on COVID-19 for the AMPERS network.
As a mail carrier in rural Grand Rapids, Minn., for 35 years, John Latimer put his own stamp on a career that delivered more than letters. Indeed, while driving the hundred-mile round-trip daily route, he passed the time by observing and recording seasonal changes in nature, learning everything he could about the area’s weather, plants and animals, and becoming the go-to guy who could answer customers’ questions about what they were seeing in the environment.