Part of the Norwegian Ridge Birding Trail winds through an open prairie area where signs are posted as to the types of the birds that live along the edge of the woods and in the prairie.
Part of the Norwegian Ridge Birding Trail winds through an open prairie area where signs are posted as to the types of the birds that live along the edge of the woods and in the prairie.
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On Father's Day, the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trail officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbon was cut by Thurman Tucker, Minnesota Quail Forever's state coordinator.

More than 80 people came on opening day to walk the trail with the new bird and flora signs. Free water bottles were given to the first 50 walkers and those that ventured on the longer path were also treated to a Spring Grove Soda Pop.

The oldest walker on the trail's opening day was 82-year-old Burnell Roble and two 1-year-olds completed the trail with their families, McKenna Newgaard and Aaron Smith.

Traveling the farthest from Belle Plaine, Minn., was Ysa Trimbo. All four walkers received free t-shirts.

"We had such a beautiful day for the trail to open," remarked Dr. Jim Gray, whose land much of the trail is on. "People were excited and very complimentary about the trail."

"Many people worked so hard on getting the trail prepared," added Saundy Solum, Norwegian Ridge and Birding Trail committee member.

"There are many people to thank for making this possible. Karen and Jim Gray have spent countless hours prepping the trails. Andy Nyhus, a birder from Winona, walked the trail looking for birds and their habitat and showed us where to put the signs and allowed us to use his photos on the signs. He is also a photographer and gave us the idea of starting the Northern Bobwhite Habitat, which led us to talk to Thurman Tucker for his expertise."

Work on the trails will continue as the group adds more trail markers, a large trail map at the first fence to show the direction of the trails and an update bird checklist. It will be an all-season trail so snowshoers will also be able to access it during the snow season.

"It has been exciting; someone already spotted a new bird on the trail during the opening day. We hope to have that sign up as well soon," commented Solum.

Information on the trails, the list of birds with photos, descriptions, and sound, plus more information can be found on the trails website, www.sgbirdwalk.org.