A proposal for a trail in 1986
The original proposal for the Superior Hiking Trail in 1986 called for 186 miles from Duluth to Hovland, Minn., connecting with existing trails in the Superior National Forest, two state forests and the state parks along the North Shore.
The trail founders were “an unusual group of government officials and northeastern Minnesotans,” wrote the Star Tribune. The Department of Natural Resources joined with the U.S. Forest Service, resort owners and others, forming the Superior Hiking Trail Association.
The nonprofit’s mandate hasn’t changed: It’s a group devoted to promoting and maintaining the trail.
John Chell was the DNR’s northeastern regional director and a key proponent of the trail in 1986. He also was an original member of the group’s board. “This would be the only place in Minnesota where the actual users of the trail, not just a local sponsor, would help maintain it,” he said. “We hope organizations throughout Minnesota will become members of the trail association and adopt a segment of the trail for maintenance.”