Hi everyone, it’s time for another Mesabi Outdoor Adventures update! First, you should know that we are holding our First Annual Gear Swap Fundraiser on Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Natural Harvest Food Co-op in Virginia. The way this works is that we will be accepting gear donations, new and used between Monday, March 9 and Friday, April 10, at two drop locations in Hibbing and Virginia. The gear will then be for sale at the fundraiser for anyone to purchase. The drop spot in Hibbing is Range Sports [on First Avenue], and in Virginia is Range Office Supply. You can leave any items you wish to donate at either of these locations during their business hours.
For large items, please contact Mesabi Outdoor Adventures directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Facebook. This is going to be a really fun event as we will have live music from Sara Softich and Friends and The Train Wrecks and a silent auction. There will also be a bike ride on the Mesabi Trail and paddle event on Silver Lake with our new canoes and kayaks leaving from the Coop. You can feel free to join either of these events for free as always!
Mentioning our paddle event during the fundraiser is a good segway and mention the success of last fall’s fundraiser to purchase canoes, kayaks, paddles and life jackets as well as a trailer to haul all the gear. We have finalized the purchase of all our gear and are working with Spring Creek Manufacturing in Mountain Iron to complete the work on a rack for our trailer. The folks at Spring Creek have been great to work with and we are looking forward to what they come up with.
Also on the list of things to mention is that the Forest Service and Mesabi Outdoor Adventures have been coordinating efforts this winter to maintain a groomed fat bike, snowshoe and ski trail at Lookout Mountain on the Laurentian Divide. We also installed seasonal signs for use etiquette of groomed trails to prevent damage. Since these trails have been maintained and promoted, the volume of people getting out on their own up there has increased significantly. Our program event bought a third fat bike to lend out to new riders because the demand was so high.
Special thanks to Tom Yankowiak of the Forest Service and Tony Krulc of Virginia — this would not be possible without you guys! Mesabi Outdoor Adventures anticipates event more coordinated groomed trail management next winter.
I am also excited to announce that in May, Mesabi Outdoor Adventures will be sending all of our 2020 program volunteers to get trained in Wilderness First Aid. They are Floyd Luomanen, Josh Peterson, Daniel Melby, Char Smith-Conger and Bret Alexander. We are helping a lot of people bring down barriers to getting outside and meeting new friends in the community and will continue to do this with care and increased awareness regarding safety.
I can’t tell you how excited I am for the rest of this year! As we head toward the end of winter, we will be wrapping up the fat bike season and getting ready to get out on the water and trail as the weather warms. We are still committed to weekly events in all corners of the Iron Range to include day and overnight paddling, hiking, a variety of biking disciplines, camping and more! The Redhead Bike Park in Chisholm will also be opening this year and we are excited to check it out and run some outings over there. As I understand, it will not disappoint. Recognition should be given to the Iron Range Off Road Cyclists (IROC) and Pete Kero for their work and dedication and for bringing this dream into reality.
The success of Mesabi Outdoor Adventures is dependent upon the work of many hands. I would like to give continued recognition to my friend Floyd Luomanen for his dedication to empowering others to take a chance and to grow themselves through cycling. Floyd has been leading bike outings for Mesabi Outdoor Adventures for almost a year and has proven an invaluable leader and liaison for the development of this project. Thanks should also be given to Josh and Mariah Peterson, Derek Ahlfs, Char Smith-Conger, Daniel Melby, Beth Peirce, Marlise Riffel, Tony Krulc, Brenda Foosness, Al And Vel Jurenic, Bryan Purkat, Shaun Chosa, Mike Stefan, Spokengear Cyclery, Spring Creek Manufacturing, Natural Harvest Coop, Minnesota Discovery Center, Mesabi Sign, Lester River Bushcraft, Rotary Club in Virginia and Hibbing, Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability, and so many more.
We look forward to continuing to bring a variety of dynamic programming to the Iron Range Community. See you out there!
Bret Alexander is the CEO and Janitor for Mesabi Outdoor Adventures.