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Historical society awards grant to scenic byway

Without a concerted effort, our state's historic and cultural treasures are in danger of being lost to time. The Minnesota Historical Society awarded a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant in the amount of $7,000 to the Lake Country Scenic Byway.

The grant was approved by the Society's awards committee and will support the byway's interpretive plan. The Lake Country Scenic Byway was established as a state scenic byway on May 26, 1999. The Lake Country Scenic Byway travels 88 miles from Detroit Lakes along Highway 34 to Park Rapids and Walker, with a spur along Highway 71 from Park Rapids to Itasca State Park.

Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants are made possible by the Minnesota Legislature from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund created with passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution in November 2008. The grants are awarded to support projects of enduring value for the cause of history and historic preservation across the state.

The interpretive plan will enable the Lake Country Scenic Byway Association to work with a qualified contractor to develop a master interpretive plan for the Byway. The plan will create a story line/theme to be interpreted at an initial 5-8 sites; print byway maps and develop other media that locate the sites; and install a historical sign at the Height O' Land Township Town Hall, a location with rich significance to the area's settlement.

Implementation will increase travelers' knowledge and appreciation of the Lake Country Scenic Byway's historic, cultural, scenic, archeological, recreational and natural significance. The project is expected to begin this spring with an anticipated completion date of June 15, 2011.

"It is wonderful to see so many communities and local organizations benefiting from the Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants," said Britta Bloomberg, deputy state historic preservation officer.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849.