Model Ts to tour area September 5-7Along with the Minnesota Sesquicentennial, the 100th anniversary of the Model T Ford, the Glacial Ridge Trail will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Editor’s note: This is the third of three articles on the upcoming Glacial Ridge Trail Model T Tour and the Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway 40th Anniversary.
Along with the Minnesota Sesquicentennial, the 100th anniversary of the Model T Ford, the Glacial Ridge Trail will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
As part of the trail’s 40th anniversary, the Glacial Ridge Trail Committee is sponsoring a Model T Tour that will be held September 5, 6 and 7.
The entourage of Model T Fords will leave Willmar at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, September 6 and journey on the Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway to Alexandria, stopping at noon for lunch in Glenwood (Lakeside Ballroom).
On Saturday evening, the tour participants will stay at the Holiday Inn in Alexandria. Several of the Model Ts will be parked in downtown Alexandria at U.S. Bank, Old Broadway, Big Ole Park and the Barn at the Holiday Inn.
On Sunday the tour will leave Alexandria at 9 a.m. and travel the byway through Holmes City, Starbuck, and Swift Falls back to Willmar.
At least 50 Model Ts are expected to be on the tour.
History of the trail
The Glacial Ridge Trail got its start in 1967 when a group of individuals from Swift, Pope and Kandiyohi counties began meeting to lay plans for a trail through west central Minnesota.
The group was comprised of local interested citizens, Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors, Soil Conservation Service staff and representatives from the WesMin Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council.
Along with developing a trail, the group was interested in preserving and promoting the area’s rich geologic, historic and cultural heritage. The group also realized that by getting travelers on the trail to experience its natural scenery and historic and cultural opportunities, local economies would benefit.
On a September 14, 1967 bus tour of the proposed trail, names for the trail were voted on by the 60 tour participants, with “Glacial Ridge Trail” being the winner. The group felt that the area’s rich glacial/geologic history should be the basis for the trail’s name.
Even though the region’s landscape is often taken for granted, from a geologic standpoint, the area’s beauty is owed to glaciers that carved out the countryside approximately 10,000 years ago.
When the glaciers receded, their melt waters filled the many depressions and ravines left by thick sheets of ice and created hundreds of lakes, wetlands and rivers.
The group continued to meet frequently and through their diligence, the trail was officially designated as a state trail in the fall of 1968. Approximately 250 red, black and white plywood signs were constructed and placed on the trail, which initially began at Willmar and ran to Villard in Pope County. Later, the trail was extended to Alexandria.
Over the years, the Glacial Ridge Trail Committee partnered with several groups, agencies and organizations to develop and promote the trail.
The group has also promoted campgrounds, businesses, parks, historic sites and other recreational and cultural points of interest within the trail corridor.
The group’s efforts were rewarded when the trail was officially designated as a Minnesota Scenic Byway on October 4, 1998 and extended to Lake Carlos State Park north of Alexandria. Over the past 10 years, the committee has continued to meet monthly, posted new trail signage and applied for and received more than $100,000 in grant funds to continue development and promotion of the trail.
The committee continues to partner with dozens of entities on trail promotion and development. Support from the Swift, Kandiyohi, Pope and Douglas County boards of commissioners and WesMin and Prairie Country RC&D Councils have also contributed to the trail’s success.
For more information on the Glacial Ridge Trail or Model T Tour, contact the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-235-9441, WesMin RC&D Office at Alexandria at (320) 763-3191, extension 5, the Prairie Country RC&D Office at Willmar, (320) 231-0008, or, go to the following Web sites: www.seeyouinwillmar.com and www.glacialridgebyway.org.