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Monday, September 3, 2007

Why Park Rapids Minnesota? Background

Approximately 7-8,000 years ago, Native American hunters pursued wild animals for food in the Itasca State Park region. These early people ambushed bison, deer, and moose at watering sites and killed them with stone-tipped spears.[2] The Bison Kill site along Wilderness Drive in the park gives visitors historical insight about this period.

A few thousand years later, a group of people of the Woodland Period arrived at Lake Itasca. They lived in larger, more permanent settlements and made a variety of stone, wood, and bone tools. Burial mounds from this era can be seen today at the Itasca Indian Cemetery.

In 1832, Anishinabe guide Ozawindib, led explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft to the source of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca. It was on this journey that Schoolcraft, with the help of an educated missionary companion, created the name Itasca from the Latin words for "truth" and "head" (veritas caput).[citation needed] In the late 1800s, Jacob V. Brower, historian, anthropologist and land surveyor, came to the park region to settle the dispute of the actual location of the Mississippi's headwaters. Brower saw this region being quickly transformed by logging, and was determined to protect some of the pine forests for future generations. It was Brower's tireless efforts to save the remaining pine forest surrounding Lake Itasca that led the state legislature to establish Itasca as a Minnesota State Park on April 20, 1891, by a margin of only one vote.[2] Through his conservation work and the continuing efforts of others throughout the decades, the grounds of Itasca had been maintained.

Established in 1909, Itasca Biological Station and Labs (IBSL) is one of the oldest and largest continuously-operated inland field training centers in the United States.[3] This site serves as a research facility for the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences.

Why Park Rapids Real Estate

The Byway’s Forests and hills are filled with lakes and rivers teeming with fish. The walleye is one of the most popular species, found in most of the area’s lakes and rivers. Northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappies, bluegill, yellow perch, and other panfish compete with the walleye for the angler’s attention.
A number of nearby lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout. The Smoky Hills at Osage is home to the Straight River which offers world-class fishing for brown trout. The more reclusive brook trout also live in a number of the smaller, more pristine brooks.

For trophy-seeking anglers, there’s muskie fishing in Leech Lake, the Mantrap Chain, Detroit Lake and Elk Lake in Itasca State Park.

Guide service is available throughout most of the area. Enjoy the unmatched adventure of winter fishing when augers and fishing shacks transform area lakes.

What Park Rapids Lake Property Has to Offer

The trail of history can be found in the forests and foothills, along the waterways and in the villages of the Lake Country Scenic Byway. History’s footprints lead in all directions. At the western end of the Byway, Detroit Lakes lies on one of the historic ox-cart trails used by freighters to haul merchandise from St. Paul to the Hudson Bay post at Fort Garry in Manitoba. Driving east on Highway 34, you’ll climb Detroit Mountain, where the Anishinabe people once kept watch over their land. The Detroit Lakes area is where America’s second oldest skeleton was discovered, a Minnesota woman believed to be between 7,000 to 12,000 years old.

Continue driving east and you’ll come to the Ottertail River, the headwaters of the Red River of the North. Although the river runs south at this point, all of the water eventually flows north into the arctic. The Ottertail River has historic significance because it was once the scene of huge timber drives, floating the logs to the mill at the town of Frazee.

Drive through the scenic Smoky Hills between Snellman and Osage and you’ll pass over the Laurentian Divide. The Divide marks the height of land that separates all watersheds in the continental US that flow north to Hudson Bay from the watersheds flowing south to the Gulf of Mexico.

The next town you come to is the historic community of Park Rapids, where 1860s lumbermen discovered the area was covered with majestic pine. In 1879, the first settlers left the train at Verndale and traveled by horsedrawn wagon 50 miles through swamps and forests, to reach the prime farming lands of the Shell Prairies. With settlement came the Great Northern Railroad Company, which ran its first train through Park Rapids in 1891. In 1897, a passenger train nicknamed “The Blueberry Special” began a daily schedule that continued until 1952. Tourism grew in the area, and from 1890 to 1910 a double-deck excursion boat operated on the Fish Hook River. Resorts began to developalong the clean, clear lakes, advertising sandy beaches and sport fishing.

North of Park Rapids on Highway 71, the Lake Country Scenic Byway travels to Itasca State Park and the headwaters of te Mississippi. Follow in the footsteps of Ozawindib, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s Indian guide, who led the expedition to the headwaters. Evidence of civilization here dates back 8,000 years. Explore old-growth timber and stands of timber of virgin red and Norway pine over 200 years old. Historic structures include Douglas Lodge, Clubhouse, Old Timer’s Cabin, Forest Inn and the Mississippi Headwaters. Tour the new Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center. Itasca State Park is Minnesota’s oldest state park established in 1891.

Continue east from Park Rapids and you’ll travel past Nevis whose claim is the Home of the World’s Largest Muskie. Further east you’ll find the historic logging community of Akeley, where you can almost hear the booming voice of Paul Bunyan. The mythical lumberjack’s story was created as advertising for the Red River Lumber Company. The town claims to have the world’s largest Paul Bunyan Statue.

The town of Walker lies at the eastern end of the Byway. Walker was a historic steamboat landing on Leech Lake. Today, you can take a cruise of the big lake on a replica steamboat. Leech Lake was the site of the last Indian war in the US, held at Battle Point in 1898 on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.

In the late ‘30s, the Forest Service and local supporters built the warming chalets and tow ropes for downhill skiing in the Shingobee Recreational Area. Shingobee was one of the first downhill ski areas in Minnesota and attracted visitors from throughout the Midwest to try the new winter sports fad. Located five miles southwest of Walker, off Hwy. 34.

The Old Agency Site in the Chippewa National Forest Located in the Chippewa National Forest, the US’s first National Forest, Leech Lake Agency was opened in 1855 as a means to build schools, blacksmith shops and farms, as well as distribute annuity payments to the Anishinabe after they ceded their lands to the U.S. government. Construction of several log buildings was initiated in 1856, including a mission house and blacksmith shop. By 1865, a sawmill was up and running and additional buildings were erected as the Leech Lake Agency grew in size. After a series of alienating acts between the government and the Anishinabe, troops occupied the agency grounds in 1898 and later exchanged gunfire with the Anishinabe at Battle Point on the east side of Leech Lake. The site of the Old Agency is on the southern shore of Leech Lake at Agency Bay, on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. No structures remain.

The Lake Country Scenic Byway offers a number of cultural opportunities for the traveler. Visitors who want to learn more about the area’s Indian heritage can attend one of the powwows held throughout the year on the nearby Leech Lake Indian Reservation in the Walker area or the White Earth.

Park Rapids Minnesota Real Estate

Choosing where to buy a Minnesota lake home or lake lot is an important “life decision.” The right lake property can lead to years of contentment; the wrong choice can cause you to miss out on pursuing your dreams, or it could be costly.

Do you picture your self buying a Minnesota lake home or lot before retirement, many people today buy lake property and expect to eventually retire to the lake when they are ready. Choosing the perfect lake property or lake home is very important. Grand Rapids Realty has qualified realtors that will help you plan and decide which lake lot, lake home or property will best fill your needs such as being close to good medial care or locating in the peaceful surrounds of a remote lake setting.

Lake living in a active, developing community can help you to enjoy some of the best years of your life - a time of companionship, learning, creativity, exploration, fitness, personal growth and just plain fun (with quality healthcare nearby, just in case).