Traveler - Hands on History

Minnesota State Parks and Trails
The Traveler
September 2016

jay cooke swinging bridge

Jay Cooke State Park

As Minnesota State Archaeology Week unfolds this September, a variety of special programs and events will provide participants with opportunities to reflect on the unique human history of our state. Many Minnesota state parks offer year-round opportunities to explore our rich history. Consider the 8,900-acre Jay Cooke State Park in northeast Minnesota and its archaeological structures and artifacts such as the pioneer cemetery and relics of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  The park, well-known for its unique geology and scenic landscapes, is speckled with outstanding historic features including the beloved swinging suspension bridge high above the raging St. Louis River.

State Parks with CCC Structures

Jay Cooke State Park is one of twenty-two Minnesota state parks that contain rustic style resources built by the C.C.C. as a result of the federal relief programs of the Great Depression. These structures are listed on the National Historic Register and were hand-crafted with locally available materials. Rustic style structures were designed not to call attention to themselves but to blend with the natural environment.  These structures tell the history of the land and the history of architecture and landscape design.

A list of state parks with C.C.C. structures can be found here.

jay cooke ccc shelter
Learn more about the C.C.C. in Minnesota.

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Game Time - History Explorers

You can help your kids learn about Minnesota history by purchasing a History Explorers book at a state park Nature Store.  You'll learn about Minnesota's fascinating history through the eyes of a voyageur.  Attend naturalist programs, earn points and receive a patch and certificate!

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Learn more about the History Explorers.

Find more 125th Anniversary events.
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Discover - 125 Years of Minnesota State Parks
This year, Minnesotans are reflecting on the past 125 years of our state park system.  Minnesota was the second state to begin designating state parks in order to protect outstanding natural landscapes and to provide "pleasuring grounds" for our residents to experience the outdoor heritage that makes us uniquely "Minnesotan."  Across the state, picnics, special trail events and a variety of programs are being offered to celebrate this special anniversary.  Many events are taking place at Itasca State Park, established in 1891 as the first Minnesota state park.  Check out some of the 125th Anniversary events offered at Itasca here.

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Find more history programs here.
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September Events - History Programs

Countless Minnesota State Parks and Trails programs focus on the rich history of our state.  From voyageurs, lumberjacks, pioneers and more, there is so much to learn about our past.  

Learn about history by attending one of these programs: