By Nancy Dashwood
DASSEL, COKATO, MN The Dassel-Cokato Trail is nearly a quarter-century old, and needs some repairs.
The trail, which runs between Dassel and Cokato adjacent to Highway 12, has been a successful addition to the area since it was installed in 1994.
Dassel-Cokato School Board Member Irene Bender is one of the DC Trail’s many admirers.
“People of all ages use the trail for walking, running, biking, and pushing strollers in the beautiful countryside,” she said.
In recent years, the City of Dassel, the City of Cokato, Dassel Township, and the Dassel-Cokato School District have each committed funding for trail maintenance. Fundraisers and donations from local organizations have also supported maintenance needs of the trail.
“Securing a safe and beautiful trail requires all of us working together in an effort of positive community connections,” retired DC teacher Barb Kay said, “It takes a team of people working toward a common goal or idea; so, in effect, it takes two villages to keep a trail connected.”
Lighting the way
A new fundraising event, “Illuminate the Trail,” will take place Sunday, May 20.
The trail will be open to walkers, and a decorated bike parade will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
A short singing festival featuring Dassel and Cokato elementary schools’ artist-in-residence Charlie Maguire, will take place at the Dassel-Cokato High School’s electronic sign from 7:30 to 8 p.m.
Luminaries will be placed along the entire DC Trail, with lighting beginning at 8 p.m.
Luminaries may be purchased in advance at Dassel or Cokato city halls. The luminaries cost $10 each, or three for $25. Trail sponsorships are available for $100.
There will be a card on each luminary with one of the following messages: “In Memory Of,” “In Honor Of,” or “Grateful For,” featuring the name of the person being honored, and by whom the luminary was donated.
Those unable to participate who wish to make a donation may send a contribution to: Pave the Way, Dassel City Hall, PO Box 391, Dassel, MN 55325.
Luminaries may also be purchased at the trail during the “Illuminate the Trail” event.
Volunteers will be at tables at the Dassel trail beginning, the Cokato trail beginning, and the Dassel-Cokato middle and high schools by the electronic sign, selling luminaries that evening.
Volunteers will put the names on the bags, and place them along the trail.
“The pride of the DC community shines brightly everyday,” Dassel Elementary Principal Debbie Morris stated. “Do you see it on the faces of the people who call DC home, in the beauty of the parks, through the appearance and presence of our loyal businesses, in the esprit de corps of the community organizations, or in the heart of the DC schools? I do! Let’s let the path that unites us as one put a spotlight on our beautiful people and communities by illuminating its connective-ness for all to see.”
Other upcoming opportunities on the DC Trail
• The A to Z 5k Mental Health Walk/Run will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19 at the performing arts center (PAC) at the high school. A related resource fair will take place from 8 to 11 a.m. Nicole Carlen is the contact person for this event. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• ACEs: (Adverse Childhood Experiences), part of Early Childhood Family Education, is sponsoring neighborhood walks during the summer. The walks will take place at Collinwood Park, Dassel and Cokato neighborhood parks, and the DC Trail. The dates of the walks will be announced soon. The walks are open to all, and newcomers are especially welcome. Email email@example.com for details.
• The Slow Roll, a bike ride showcasing destinations in the DC area, and historical stories at different stops will take place in the autumn. The event is being coordinated by Bill Ward, Mechele Pitchford, and Barb Kay. More information will become available this summer.