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p a r ks & trails council of mn

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Parks & Trails Council Trail Builder Highlight

David Minge: A Biker of the People
been on nearly every ride. “He naturally conveys a quality of leadership that brings people together.”

By Lisa Filter, Parks & Trails Council staff

state,” Minge explains. “The changing landscapes from prairie to farmland to forest to lake to blufflands contain a fascinating variety of opportunities for rewarding rides.”

While Parks & Trails In the first ten years of this event, Council of MinneDavid Minge has brought riders to 14 sota is celebrating 60 state parks, at least six state trails and years of service this many other regional parks and trails. year, it wasn’t until “Part of the challenge I see is in making David Minge became use of [parks and trails] proportional involved in 2004 that to all that they offer,” says Minge. So the organization took many people do not know about all the on the challenge of opportunities to experience the natural coordinating a bike areas across the state. tour that celebrates “They must be continually discovered David Minge leading the Bike Minnesota with Parks & Trails event in 2010 on the Minnesota’s parks and rediscovered,” Minge says. When Lake Wobegon Trail. and trails. So often Minge moved to the Twin Cities he is the case that a was delighted to discover many metro good idea simply “Ole is so cheap that after his lingers until someone comes along who trails. One of his favorites is an unpaved airplane landed safely, he trail on the south side of the Minneinspires others to take action. grumbled: “Vell, der gose five sota River in Fort Snelling State Park, dollars down da drain for dat For Minge, this quality of “taking which is accessed from Sibley House flight insurance!” action” is something he finds inspirHistoric Site. “It has a remarkable feel ing about the people who founded of remoteness; people may be surprised ormer Congressman David Minge Parks & Trails Council years ago. They to find such a seemingly inaccessible often begins his organized bike were dedicated individuals who came place in an urban area,” said Minge. rides with the “sage” musings from Ole, together despite immense challenges (note: Parks & Trails Council helped Lena and Sven. They encapsulate the to ensure Minnesota acted on a vision to acquire a 50-acre parcel in Fort down-home charm of both this acto create and preserve parks and trails. Snelling State Park near the Cedar Ave. complished leader and the quaint towns “It’s really inspirational to look at what bridge in 1991 that was critical to the he leads his band of fellow bike riders others have done,” Minge says. development of this trail.) through. And now these jokes have become a tradition, with this coming So now, during Labor Day weekend marking the tenth each Labor time David Minge has presided over Day weekend, Our parks and trails must be continually the Parks & Trails Council’s annual Minge helps discovered and rediscovered... Part of the 3-day bike ride. others appreciate these past challenge I see is in making use of [them] It has been a labor of love—for both and ongoing proportional to all that they offer. him and those who come along for the accomplishjourney. “No matter the weather, road ments in conditions or unforeseen obstacles, preserving and David provides words of encouragecreating parks and trails. “I want people Minge grew up in the small city of ment and reminds us that there is some to see the beauty of these places and all Worthington in southwestern Minnefun ahead,” said Dan Mettner who has the interesting characteristics across the sota. “We had a stoplight and you could

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Minnesota Trails

p a r ks & trails council of mn

w w w. p a r k s a n d t r a i l s . o r g

David Minge and his crew through the years on the Bike Minnesota with Parks & Trails Council event find an elevator in town…and so really we had all the amenities of a big city,” Minge explains wryly. He later went to college at St. Olaf in Northfield and then to Chicago and Wyoming. But he came back to small-city life in Minnesota to raise his children in Montevideo. “You learn that each town has their unique people and history,” Minge says. Plus, being a small-town lawyer he had the opportunity to meet unique people in challenging situations. He saw the dramatic effects that seemingly uncontrollable events in a town’s history can have on people. Minge taps this insight and curiosity to uncover unique stories about people and places that he then highlights during the Bike Minnesota with Parks & Trails Council events. Each year the event is based at a different state park and riders pedal along round-trip routes with educational rest stops that highlight local people and places. Uncovering these unique stories takes perseverance says Minge. “I just keep on poking.” And despite the years of organizing this ride, he explained that he is often just as surprised as everyone else when a presenter reveals unique and sometimes profound insights about the region. “David is magical. He connects with people in a truly genuine way that puts them at ease and makes them feel honored to share their personal knowledge and story with others,” says Brett Feldman, executive director of P&TC. Minge also puts this talent to use as an ambassador for parks and trails. Each year he begins anew with outreaching to the local community where the bike ride is based to spread the word about Parks & Trails Council’s work and in soliciting the help of locals to share their community. It is a two-way street of sharing. “We are a grassroots organization, so the outreach David does is critical to building relationships that help to advance our mission going forward,” explained Feldman. Minge is currently busy coordinating the 10th annual ride, which will be based at Jay Cooke State Park.  Check out the 2014 plans and request info at: www.parksandtrails.org The staff and board of Parks & Trails Council would like to thank David Minge for the many rides and memories.

David Minge to receive 2014 Reuel Harmon Award
During the Parks & Trails Annual Dinner on March 18, 2014, David Minge will receive the prestigious Reuel Harmon Award, which recognizes exemplary service and outstanding achievements on behalf of Minnesota’s parks and trails.

Past Reuel Harmon Award Recipients 2013 Mary Lee Dayton 2012 Mark and Joan Strobel 2011 Peter Seed 2010 Terry McGaughey 2009 Eleanor Winston 2008 Sen. David Durenberger 2007 Henry N. Somsen 2006 Michael Prichard 2005 Bob Dunn 2004 Don Davison & Bill Morrissey 2003 Rollis Bishop 2001 Alden Lind 2000 Howard E. Olson 1999 Nadine Blacklock 1998 Rep. Willard Munger 1997 Gov. Elmer L. Andersen 1996 Martin N. Kellogg 1995 Samuel H. Morgan

Minnesota Trails

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