Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails celebrates five years

Submitted New to the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails this year is the newly dedicated Andrew J. Gray Memorial Woods.
By : 
Jordan Gerard

Time flies when you’re walking through prairies, woodlands and identifying birds, plants and wildlife on the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the trail system. To celebrate, there will be a celebratory event on Saturday, June 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. on the trail. 

All are welcome to participate in the free event. Meet at the trailhead and hike one mile to the picnic tables. Hot dogs, chips and beverages will be available. Free will donations are accepted. There will also be a campfire to enjoy.

Trail committee member Saundy Solum said people will be able to get and enjoy nature and conversations at the event.

The event will celebrate the trail as a whole and each addition to the main trail, such as the Joseph Langland Literary Trail, Sugar Maple Trail and the newly dedicated Andrew Gray Memorial Woods.

The trail was established in 2013, with the help of a Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) grant and gifts from private donors.

Residents and visitors have enjoyed the trail over the years. The trail has several different options, ranging from one mile to three miles.

“I think it brings birding and different types of birds to the area. You walk through different types of typography like prairie and woods,” Solum said. “There’s an old small village that still has the stone foundations.”

The trail also hosts a hygge event in January, which encourages creating warmth, connection and well-being by walking or snowshoeing. Hygge is set for Jan. 19, 2019. Watch the Herald or the trail’s Facebook page for more information at

Future plans for the trail might include connecting it to Roverud and Trollskogen Parks, but those plans are still in the planning stages, Solum said.

“It’s amazing to people who haven’t been on it,” she said. “They really like it.”