Voyageurs National Park and its charitable partner Voyageurs National Park Association (VNPA) recently completed the renovation of the crown jewel of the park’s trail system on the Kabetogama Peninsula – the Cruiser Lake Trail – as their signature project for the National Park Service Centennial.
Offering perhaps the best opportunity to spot the park’s large mammals including moose, wolves, and black bears, the 9.5- mile Cruiser Lake Trail winds its way through the heart of the Kabetogama Peninsula, from the northern edge of Kabetogama Lake to what is perhaps the park’s most iconic vista atop Anderson Bay. Hikers traversing this stretch are able to truly experience Voyageurs country, from tranquil wetlands and rugged shorelines to windswept cliffs.
Through the generosity of private funding from donors, VNPA provided matching support to leverage $20,000 in federal Centennial Challenge funds to replace boardwalks, level bridge sections, fix signs, and clear overgrown brush.
From Seth Nelson, Voyageurs National Park Maintenance Supervisor: “Prior to this project we had regular complaints of visitors getting lost or turned around on the trail due to the vegetation overtaking the trail or misleading and missing markers.”
Park staff completed: ● Brushing, limbing, and clearing on 6.3 miles ● Replacing 24-feet of boardwalk ● Releveling the bridge ● Replacing three rotten waterbar timbers ● Restacking 32 rock cairns and adding 10 additional rock cairns ● Replacing the signs at the Mica Bay intersection and all hiking symbol signs
Acting Superintendent and Facility Manager, Bill Carlson stated, “The Trail is ready for use and is in great condition for visitors to explore. This project would not have been possible without the generosity of VNPA’s supporters.”
In 2015, park partners like VNPA pledged to raise private funds to match a special $10 million Congressional Centennial appropriate to improve the facilities, accessibility, and park programs, resulting in a $26 million total investment in national parks in 2016. Under this initiative, more than 100 special projects across the U.S. were completed to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and leverage partnerships to reinvigorate parks while foraging connections with communities.
“VNPA was proud to help our park celebrate the Centennial, inspire community engagement, and connect new visitors to Voyageurs this year. A crucial part of this partnership year was being able to provide matching funds to leverage federal funding for the Cruiser Lake Trail. Thank you to our generous donors, especially the WM Foundation, who make this exciting and important work possible,” said Christina Hausman, VNPA executive director.