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It's Trails Day, indeed: Superior Hiking Trail beckons

Saturday also is the annual National Trails Day, created by the American Hiking Society to spotlight our nation’s paths with special walks, programs and related activities across the country.

Coincidentally, the Star Tribune is sending freelance writer Melanie Radzicki McManus, shown above, on a 310-mile thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail, the gem of a path coursing along Minnesota’s North Shore. Hiking south to north, she begins Saturday at the Minnesota and Wisconsin border terminus near Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton. Star Tribune photographer Brian Peterson will help document McManus’ hike over two and a half weeks. McManus and Peterson will report on the walk and interesting stories about the trail’s popularity, vitality and future in a multi-part package, beginning July 6 in the Outdoors Weekend section and online at startribune.com. McManus’ writing should be familiar to Star Tribune readers — her features regularly appear in the Travel section. She also has serious cred in the hiking world. Her book “Thousand-Miler” chronicles her women’s fastpacking record (36 days) on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail. She has since upped the mark to 34 days on a second go at the Ice Age.

Here is a sampling of National Trails Day-related gatherings in Minnesota, including a guided hike on the Superior Hiking Trail:

• Carlton: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., guided 6.6-mile hike by the Superior Hiking Trail Association. The hike is from Jay Cooke Grand Portage Trailhead to the state park visitor center. Meet at the visitor center. Information at superiorhiking.org.

• Inver Grove Heights: Hike It National Trails Day, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Salem Hills Park. Walk the single-track, unpaved trails. Strollers and dogs not permitted. RSVP and get more information at inver
groveheights.org/recreation
.

• Grand Marais: Related Trails Day events, beginning at 11 a.m. at Voyageur Brewing Company and including a talk at 7 p.m. by explorer and mountain climber Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais. Information at voyageurbrewing.com.

Brothers Hautman, who dominate Federal Duck Stamp, appear in short film

Brothers and acclaimed wildlife artists, the Hautmans of Minnesota appear in a new short film, part of Ducks Unlimited's film series on waterfowlers. The trio were followed afield on a hunt in 2017 in North Dakota.

“It’s a great feeling to see the prairie pothole region, and you see a [Waterfowl Production Area] sign with ‘purchased with duck stamp dollars.’ It really makes you feel good to know your artwork helped preserving so much land,” says Bob Hautman in the film. Artwork by the Hautman brothers (Bob, Joe and Jim) has won multiple Federal Duck Stamp Art contests. Bob Hautman won the 2017 contest, and his painting of a pair of mallards has been made into this season’s stamp. The stamp goes on sale in June.

During the film and spread amid sweeping images of prairie potholes and pristine mornings, the Hautmans talk about the confluence of their art and their shared passion for conservation.

Eric Keszler of Ducks Unlimited said the organization coincidentally uses a lot of artwork to raise money. The Hautmans were a natural choice and “such a unique story,” he said.

Watch the film series at ducks.org/media.