PEQUOT LAKES - Three things make up Lynn Scharenbroich's life - the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, Black Pine Beach Resort and cooking/baking.
If Scharenbroich did not have these three things, she most likely would be lost. Scharenbroich has put in more than 19,000 volunteer hours in the past 10 years as the chair of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association, 30 years as the owner of Black Pine Beach Resort, north of Pequot Lakes with her husband, Bob, and she's spent countless years cooking/baking as a hobby.
Scharenbroich, 55, grew up on Clamshell Beach Resort on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes. Her grandparents and parents owned the resort until 1964. Scharenbroich's family moved out of the Brainerd area and she graduated from high school in 1970 in Hutchinson. She graduated from St. Cloud State University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education, but her passion was to move back to the Whitefish Chain to run a resort.
Lynn Scharenbroich of rural Pequot Lakes recently posed with a Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway panel. Scharenbroich has put in countless hours in the past 10 years on the byway. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
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When she was pregnant with her only son at age 25, she and her husband purchased the Black Pine Beach Resort, which is located just a few miles east of Clamshell Beach Resort. The Scharenbroichs rent 13 cabins and the resort was recognized last year as a green property through the Green Routes program coordinated by Renewing the Countryside.
The Scharenbroichs created a secret wooded garden where elf figurines sit along a path.
"The secret garden took on a life of its own and grew into a fantasyland of bright and humorous characters that delight the kids' imagination," said Scharenbroich. "The kids come through here several times a day and write letters to the elves. Then the elf himself writes a letter back."
This past spring, Scharenbroich was awarded the Call to Service Award for her volunteer work with the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway. Scharenbroich said the federal award should go to the entire group that worked on the byway, but the award is designed to honor one individual.
Scharenbroich became involved with the byway program association after the Rails to Trails Conversions program got started and the Paul Bunyan Trail was created.
"Everyone was using the trail, which was great, but the bad thing was they were using roads with no shoulders to get there," said Scharenbroich. "All of us resorters with the Whitefish Area Lodging Association got together and brainstormed on what we could do because of the safety issue."
Best Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway memory: "When we became partners with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I met Col. Mike Pfenning and Ray Nelson, at the corps in Crosslake, and we got a better understanding of the corps."
Heart-touching moment: "The byway association was holding an event to celebrate our national designation at the AmericInn in Pequot Lakes and a little boy was in tears because he didn't get to see Paul Bunyan. I ran and found Wayne Chamberlain, who played Paul Bunyan, and he walked up to meet this little boy. The boy ran to Paul Bunyan and said, 'I love you Paul Bunyan.' The boy was smiling from ear to ear and his face was still red from crying. It was a heart-touching moment."
Hobbies: "I love to cook and bake. There are a lot of people in my house to eat it from vendors, to customers to employees and of course family."
Best adjective to describe you: Cheerful.
Last book you read: "The Hershey's 1934 Cookbook."
Last CD you bought: "I never listen to CDs, or watch TV. I'm too busy. I haven't bought a CD in my entire life."
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Scharenbroich said the group raised money in 1995-96 to get the shoulders paved, but it couldn't get Crow Wing County's support to do the project. With the help of Carol Alteperter of the Minnesota Office of Tourism and Dave Badger, who ran the fundraising effort, the group learned about the National Scenic Byway Program and applied.
In 1998, a 48-mile loop, with County State Aid Highway 16 as the spine of the route, was officially designated as the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway and the shoulders were paved in 2002. The byway was extended to Pine River in 2000 changing the route to 54 miles. The byway connects with the Paul Bunyan Trail in four locations at CSAH 1, 11, 15 and 16 and passes through 14 jurisdictions around the Whitefish Chain and south along the north side of Pelican Lake. The byway received national byway designation in 2005.
Scharenbroich said many times people get the byway confused with the Highway 371 Bypass, the Paul Bunyan Trail and the Paul Bunyan Land.
"I guess there are too many Pauls," Scharenbroich said. "I think that is where a lot of the confusion comes from and I think the confusion will probably always be. Even though we have monthly columns in the local newspapers about the byway you can't make people zero in on it just because it's something I love. People read what they are interested in."
Scharenbroich said another reason why the byway is confusing to the public is the scenic byway program name. All the byways have the scenic byway name ending and this leads people to believe that every byway was designated because of its scenery.
Scharenbroich said there are many reasons on how a route can earn scenic byway designation, including historical, cultural, natural, scenic, recreational or archaeological values. The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway was designed because of its recreational story, which includes all the resorts on the route. For more information on the byway go to www.paulbunyanscenicbyway.org.
Scharenbroich said when she's not working on a Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway project or looking after the resort, she enjoys cooking and baking. Scharenbroich said her employees would say that her desserts are their favorite and her husband would say her wild game entrees are the best.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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