Since 1976, friends and neighbors on the upper Gunflint Trail have held the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races to raise money for worthy causes. This year’s event again will be at the Gunflint Lodge on the south shore of Gunflint Lake on Wednesday, July 20, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The goal is to raise more than $20,000 to support the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.
There’s something for everyone at the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races:
* Sixteen (16) canoe races for multiple ages and agilities and plenty of space to cheer on your favorites from Trail resorts and campsites.
* A food tent with the traditional canoe races sloppy joes, plus hot dogs, veggies and home made desserts. Food service starts at 4:30 p.m.
* More than 200 raffle items donated by folks up and down the Trail and in town. Tickets just $2 on site or at local resorts.
* Auctions – both silent and live. All for fun and lots of hand-made treasures along with bigger-ticket items.
* A commemorative T-shirt by local fashion designer Addie Gecas is available for just $15 on site and at Trail Center on weekends before the races. Adult and kids sizes available.
* All-in-fun activities for children and adults who are not racing.
* Last but not least a lucky $5 raffle ticket holder will win a red Current Designs Kestrel 120 kayak, worth $2,100! Winner will be announced just after the amazing fun-to-watch gunnel canoe race.
The kayak will be on display at Trail Center for several weekends prior to the races. Raffle tickets are available at numerous resorts and volunteers.
All proceeds from this year’s annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Races again will benefit the volunteer fire department. There are now three fire stations along the Trail, along with two adjacent community centers. According to Fire Chief Jim Morrison, “Donations from the canoe races will be used to outfit the fire truck we are getting to replace the now 41-year-old truck at Hall 2. We will need about 2,000 feet of hose, nozzles and fittings as well as tools including pike poles and axes. We also use donation money to resupply the ambulance. Medications and other supplies for the ambulance run about $5,000 each year.”
Bruce Kerfoot of Gunflint Lodge provides this little history lesson: “We started our Gunflint Trail Canoe Races as a fundraiser for a battle in Congress. We never imagined the races would become a community hoedown of sorts, with a mission to support the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department. It is a true expression of how the Gunflint Trail community works together as neighbors and friends to better all our lives in the wilderness.”
An active committee of the Gunflint-Seagull-Saganaga Property Owners Associations, chaired this year by Arden Byers of Gunflint Lake, plans and produces the races. As many as 100 volunteers help make each year’s event a success.
For more information contact Vi Nelson at (312) 622-1067.