Fully healed, Paul Bunyan stands near the shoreline of Lake Bemidji, ready to welcome a new wave of summertime visitors.
A month ago, Paul didn’t look so healthy. His right arm damaged, it was temporarily held in place by what might be best described as a makeshift sling, or a wooden brace. Floods of well-wishes came in from local residents and distant friends alike.
The City of Bemidji and its Parks and Recreation Department have since had the historic statue repaired. Coincidentally, both Paul and his trusty sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox, were both scheduled for maintenance and restoration. Constructed in 1937, the historic statues require ongoing touch-ups to keep them photogenic all year round.
Now, the duo – recognized as the second most photographed roadside attraction in the nation – is back in prime condition, towering as they have for 50 years over the shoreline of Lake Bemidji at its waterfront.
Paul Bunyan Park, as the Lake Bemidji waterfront is officially known, is just one of 11 parks in the Bemidji parks system, which also boasts walking, hiking, cycling, skiing, and snowshoe trails – as well as an 18-hole disc golf course!
While there is a budget allocated toward parks and trails improvements through the city of Bemidji, the Bemidji Area Parks and Trails Fund, a component fund of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, provides support for the parks, trails, and recreational amenities of the Bemidji area.
Generous donors have long supported the Bemidji Area Parks and Trails Fund, but the advisory committee wants locals and tourists alike to know they can support the fund and keep Bemidji vibrant.
Please visit www.nwmf.org and click on ways to give, funds by county, and the link to give securely online will reside under Beltrami County. Donations can also be mailed to NMF – Bemidji Area Parks Fund, 201 3rd St. NW, Bemidji, MN 56601.