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Celebrating a dream: Last segment of Paul Bunyan State Trail slated for completion in July

Terry McGaughey’s dream is nearly complete.

The Paul Bunyan State Trail founder had a vision for a bicycle and pedestrian trail stretching through lake country utilizing former railroad beds in a new way.

With a push across the nation to encourage healthy lifestyles and activity across ages from children to senior citizens, the Paul Bunyan Trail provides 112 miles of Minnesota landscape.

This summer — about the Fourth of July — the last segment of the trail connecting Baxter to Crow Wing State Park will be completed.

Nancy Cross, Brainerd Community Action, said a celebration of McGaughey’s accomplishment as the driving force behind the trail’s establishment is planned July 27.

McGaughey died in 2010.

The celebration this summer is expected to include a bicycle ride from the Baxter trail head to Crow Wing State Park with a lunch at the park.

Cross said a publication is planned to celebrate and recount the story of how the Paul Bunyan Trail started in 1985 and its completion in 2014. About 15,000 copies of the one-time publication will be given away.

In 2010, the portion from Walker to Bemidji was completed, leaving only the Brainerd-Baxter to Crow Wing State Park section yet to be paved.

When the trail is completed, people will be able to ride through northern scenery and 16 rural communities along the parkway.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Paul Bunyan State Trail is visited by more than 650,000 users a year.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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