Dinner on the Bluff: “Towards a Minnesota Driftless Hiking Trail”

Feb 11, 2023

05:00 pm - 07:30 pm

28097 Goodview Drive
Lanesboro, 55949

Event Website

(507) 467-2437

Marty Walsh will speak on the effort to develop a 110+ mile backpacking-focused trail through the Driftless Area.
Marty Walsh, the “instigator” behind the Minnesota Driftless Hiking Trail will speak on the effort to develop a 110+ mile backpacking-focused trail from Chatfield to the Mississippi River through Minnesota’s Bluff Country or Driftless Area. Walsh will cover the history of effort to build a trail in the region as well as why the group sees such a demand for more long-distance hiking in the area. He will also discuss the route they are looking to build the trail along, how landowners and community members can help the project, and what the trail could mean for the area.

The group includes a wide variety of local and regional partners including both individuals and institutions, and has a vision that the Minnesota Driftless Hiking Trail will be built in the model of well known trails like the Appalachian Trail, Superior Hiking Trail, or the Lost Creek Trail locally. It will be supported by volunteers and operate independently of any government or other individual entity. The route is planned to be along a largely different corridor than the Root River State Trail, connecting new communities to the area’s trail network, and appealing to a new audience of travelers and locals alike. It will combine passage through public lands, low traffic roads, and hopefully for most of its mileage trails built in partnership with private landowners. Marty will speak to how this model has worked for other trails, including legal structures and land access, and what may be changed locally, and take questions from attendees.

Dinner menu:

1st course:
– Seasonal soup
2nd course:
– Beef Bourguignon with oven fried red smashed potatoes (gluten free, dairy free)
– Vegan option available
– Homemade dessert

Evening itinerary:

5:00pm – Dining hall doors open, beer/wine provided
5:30pm – Dinner in the dining hall
6:15pm – Dinner ends, move to Discovery Center auditorium
6:30pm – Presentation begins
7:15pm – Q&A with presenter

Speaker bio:

Marty Walsh is the “instigator” of the Minnesota Driftless Hiking Trail, and has been hiking the Midwest for the last 15+ years. He has put in miles on the Superior Hiking Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ozark Trail, as well as dozens of local and state park trails. Living his life in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota, he has grown fond of the unique landscape of the Midwest and the Driftless Area in particular, and hopes to share that with the wider world. Marty has volunteered with trail building efforts around the region, and has worked and volunteered in Community and Economic Development in rural communities for his entire professional life. His wife Sophia is a Fillmore County native, and they live with their daughter and dog in Northeast Rochester.

About Dinner on the Bluff:

Located in the scenic bluff country of Lanesboro, Minnesota, Eagle Bluff is a non-profit, year-round environmental learning center providing education programs & outdoor adventures to over 16,000 children and adults each year. Through transformative hands-on experiences we aim to increase environmental awareness & academic literacy, spark curiosity & appreciation for the natural world, and empower people to care for the earth and each other.

Dinner on the Bluff, now in its 19th year, is designed to give thought-leaders and experts in the environmental field the opportunity to discuss issues with the broader Eagle Bluff community.