Our view: For a trail just like in the north woods, head to the north woods
Pity the people who populate Minnesota's concrete communities, the ones who have to go to a zoo to "feel like they're in the environment rather than looking at the environment," as the supervisor of the soon-to-reopen Minnesota Trail, Tom Ness, s...
Pity the people who populate Minnesota's concrete communities, the ones who have to go to a zoo to "feel like they're in the environment rather than looking at the environment," as the supervisor of the soon-to-reopen Minnesota Trail, Tom Ness, said proudly in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Monday.
The trail is at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, south of St. Paul. With a $2 million investment from state coffers, the renovated trail undoubtedly will more than accomplish its goal of replicating a walk through Minnesota's north woods.
Make that a quite an eventful and predictable walk, with stops along the way to see raccoons, woodpeckers, eagles, beavers and more. A lovely, albeit brief, hike nonetheless. We're sure.
But if metro-area residents want a longer, more unpredictable, authentic trek through the north woods, then ... well, it's easy to see where we're going with this.
There's nothing wrong with visiting the Minnesota Zoo, particularly to see non- indigenous animals that aren't quite sure how they got to the Gopher State.
But even with a $2 million shot in the arm, exactly how can a north woods trail compare with the real thing?
It's even hard to make a comparison from a tourist's point of view; figure in traffic congestion, admittance fees and parking, and the price of a trip to the Minnesota Zoo for a Twin Cities-area family of four starts adding up, if not exceeding, the cost of a tank of gas for a trip up north.
If exotic animals must be on the agenda, there's the Lake Superior Zoo for about half the ticket price of the larger zoo.
And the hiking trails? Only a few hundred miles of them -- most of which are absolutely free. No extra charge for wildlife.