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This is a sketch of the proposed Paul Bunyan Trailhead at Laporte. Submitted graphic

Laporte looks for its own trailhead on Paul Bunyan State Trail

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News Bemidji,Minnesota 56619 http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/2/0801/0801-laporte-111-project-sketch.jpg?itok=SUgfp6p_
Bemidji Pioneer
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Laporte looks for its own trailhead on Paul Bunyan State Trail
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

LAPORTE -- Organizers in this town of 111 residents have raised thousands of dollars for a proposed trailhead on the Paul Bunyan State Trail: money from private donations, government grants, even a bake sale.

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Fundraisers garnered a big enough percentage of the total project cost -- slightly less than $200,000 -- to begin construction on the proposed park, which includes a shelter, picnic tables, grills, a playground and the 14-car parking lot.

So far, $23,588.01 has been raised from donations from individuals alone, about $212.50 for every citizen of Laporte.

The shelter is projected to be completed by about Nov. 1, but it is yet to be determined if the playground will be built this year or in 2015.

The park is planned to be adjacent to the trail where it crosses Highway 200 in downtown Laporte.

David Collins, director of the Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission, said the trailhead park will attract both trail users and groups looking for a site to host events.

"There's really nothing on that trail between Walker and Bemidji, so it's a good destination trailhead," he said. "We're hoping this will encourage companies, lake associations, family reunions, families... to pick this as a place to do events on weekends."

Donations are still needed, Collins said.

The completion of a six-mile section of the trail in July made it the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the United States at 115 miles.

Contributions can be sent to Laporte Community Shelter/ Playground/Park Project, Box 42 in Laporte, 56461.

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Zach Kayser
Zach Kayser covers local government and city issues for the Pioneer. He previously worked for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, and is an alumni of the University of Minnesota, Morris. 
(218) 333-9791
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