Nature Matters: Working to Keep Trails at Their Best

By KBJR News 1

December 28, 2010 Updated Dec 28, 2010 at 8:33 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) Minnesota has recently been recognized as the "Best Trails State"... by a National organization watching over America's trail system.

In this week's "Nature Matters" David Hoole introduces us to one person who works on keeping track... of our public ski trails.

This December has been the snowiest in 41 years. All that snow has kept city crews busy.

"It usually takes two days to cover everything."

Snow days bring a special list of priorities for Darin Franckowiak. The most important to the city are the roads.

"I plow for the street department initially when the snow hits."
Then the driver hits the trails.

"Get out and get it done. Sometimes you have to be done by noon 'cause the temps rise and you want to beat the skiers out here 'cause it's a soft surface, and you like to firm it up."

The city has a lot of work for its lone groomer operator.

"Its about 80 kilometers, 100 K if you do Chester Bowl ski hill as well."

He seems to be doing a good job. In November "American Trails" a national organization watching over the country's trail system recognized the state as the best in the nation.
Skiers appreciate the work.

"A lot of thumbs upand they raise their ski poles and a lot of smiles."

"Absolutely, they're fantastic, I have my own trails at my house but they're nothing like this."

And it's not just people on the trails, wildlife is around as well.

"I see porcupines up in the trees, I see rabbits, snowshoe hare, and a lot of deer."

With his work at Lester River ski trail almost done for this round of snow, now it's on to the next trail, but Darin and his groomer will be back on the next snow day.

In Duluth I'm David Hoole for nature matters.

If you plan to ski any of the public trails in Minnesota or Wisconsin... you need a State Ski Pass.
The daily or seasonal permits can be purchased at many outdoor retailers or at government offices.