Years ago Paul Bunyan walked all over the area, felling trees and moving timber. Although nary a footprint remains today, that may be changing, if Pequot Lakes Mayor Cathy Malecha and the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association have anything to say about it.
A PBSBA presentation in September to the Pequot Lakes Parks Board suggested developing a byway-wide public art project that could springboard from the Paul Bunyan novelties already constructed along the route. Noted in the presentation were Pequot's bobber water tower and the Paul Bunyan chair added this summer near the tower, and Paul Bunyan baby boots, also added this summer in the Pine River Chamber building's parking lot.
Byway representatives explained to the Pequot Lakes Parks Board that byway enhancing public art was an eligible category under the federal highway department's byway grants program. Under the program, 20 percent of project costs would need to be covered by local funding. If the local match funding could be secured, the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association would submit a grant request during the next available round of grants.
From that meeting, the idea of creating Paul Bunyan footprints along the 54-mile byway route was born. Malecha and the Pequot Lakes Parks Board have taken the lead. They have already acquired cost estimates for the Paul Bunyan footprints and are now contacting the other 13 jurisdictions along the route to gauge interest and participation. Although each footprint would be 14 feet long, 5 feet wide and 4 inches deep, they would really only be Paul Bunyan's baby boot footprints. The size was taken from the baby boots at the Pine River Chamber that were created this summer by artist Wayne Shilson.
The jurisdictions along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway include the cities of Pequot Lakes, Pine River, Breezy Point, Manhattan Beach, Jenkins and Crosslake, and the townships of Barclay, Gail Lake, Ideal, Jenkins Township, Mission, Timothy, Wilson and Pelican.
For more information about the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, visit www.paulbunyanscenicbyway.org.
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