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Hikers explore North Country Trail during annual event

Celebrate National Trails Day on June 3 with guided hikes near Solon Springs. Members of the North Country Trail Association's Brule-St. Croix Chapter lead the hikes, host a picnic and dedicate a new boardwalk on the North Country National Scenic Trail.

Meet at 9 a.m. at Palmer's Landing/St. Croix Lake Trailhead for a four-mile hike on the historic Brule-St. Croix Portage section of the North Country Trail. The route crosses the path followed by Native Americans, explorers and fur traders as they traveled between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. Markers along the route highlight famed travelers who used the portage.

At 10:30 a.m. hikers will participate in the dedication of a new boardwalk at the north landing of the Portage Trail, at the headwaters of the Bois Brule River, in memory of Chuck Zosel. A longtime superintendent of the Brule River State Forest, Zosel was a founding member of the Brule-St. Croix Chapter.

At noon, a potluck picnic will be held at the Palmer's Landing/St. Croix Lake Trailhead, four miles northeast of Solon Springs off County Highway A. Bring a dish to share.

At 1 p.m., the St. Croix Lake Trailhead will be the starting point for a five-mile round trip or shorter two-mile walk into the cedar forest at the headwaters of the Bois Brule and St. Croix rivers. Native plants and bird life can be seen in this area, part of the Brule Spillway State Natural Area.

The Brule-St. Croix Chapter is marking its 21st annual National Trails Day celebration. Through the years, hundreds have gained a new appreciation for the outdoors as they take part in the chapter's hiking events. Chapter volunteers also build new sections of the North Country National Scenic Trail, and maintain the trail between the Iron River area and the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. For information, visit www.northcountrytrail.org, email bsc@northcountrytrail.org, or call (715) 292-3484.

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