Manoomin - REMOVED??  LbNA # 40659

OwnerWisconsin Hiker      
Placed DateMay 31 2008
LocationAfton, MN
Found By Leapin' Lizards
Last Found Jun 1 2008
Hike Distance1-2 mi
Last EditedMay 14 2016

Last checked/found: 31-MAY-08

NOTE: We’ve received a report from a letterboxer that our box couldn’t be found. We had heard that there was a ranger at this park that was removing letterboxes, so suspect it may in fact be gone. Although we did have our contact information in the box, we did not receive an email message, so we don’t know for sure.

It’s unfortunate that this park did not want to encourage visitors to not only come to hike, but also learn a little bit about Minnesota’s history via the letterboxes. There are several other parks that DO embrace letterboxing in other states such as Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Connecticut. When a ranger found one of my boxes in a WI county park, he didn’t know what it was. So he took it back to his office, looked at the letterboxing website, took a photo of the box in his office, then sent me a copy of the photo and a nice note. He said that it sounded like an interesting hobby and he was glad people were coming to the park to enjoy a healthy pursuit such as this. He also said he would put the box back where it was supposed to be according to the clues, and in fact he did just that. It’s too bad that some rangers aren’t as equally receptive to this hobby!

Location: notfA etatS kraP

Distance/Time: ~2 mile loop.

Terrain: Wide trails on a variety of surfaces including asphalt, dirt and grass. Some hills.

Note: In 2008, the daily fee to enter the park is $5 and an annual sticker for all MN state park areas is $25.

As the Anishinaabeg Ojibwa tell the story, Nanaboozhoo, a cultural hero, was introduced to wild rice by fortune, and by a duck.

... One evening Nanaboozhoo returned from hunting, but he had no game ... As he came towards his fire, there was a duck sitting on the edge of his kettle of boiling water. After the duck flew away, Nanaboozhoo looked into the kettle and found wild rice floating upon the water, but he did not know what it was. He ate his supper from the kettle, and it was the best soup he had ever tasted. Later, he followed in the direction the duck had taken, and came to a lake full of manoomin: wild rice. He saw all kinds of ducks and geese and mud hens, and all the other water birds eating the grain. After that, when Nanaboozhoo did not kill a deer, he knew where to find food to eat....

Manoomin is a centerpiece of the nutrition and sustenance for the Ojibwa community, a gift given by the Creator. In the earliest of historic teachings of Anishinaabeg, there is a reference to wild rice as “the food which grows upon the water” - the food the ancestors were told to find so they would know when to end their migration to the West. Wild rice is still harvested on reservations. It is a food used in the Ojibwa daily lives, ceremonies, and thanksgiving feasts. The Leech Lake reservation has 40 wild rice producing lakes and has the largest natural wild rice production of any of Minnesota’s reservations.

Minnesota is the center of the biodiversity of all wild rice. There are over 60,000 acres of natural wild rice growing throughout the lakes and rivers. Even today, the wild rice grown on Minnesota state waters is regulated and must be harvested in the traditional Indian way. That means one must first purchase a license, then harvest wild rice during state regulated seasons. The rice must be harvested from a canoe, utilizing only a pole for power and two rice beater sticks as flails to knock the mature seeds into the bottom of the boat.

If you’d like to find the sacred Manoomin, park in the last lot and enter the paved trail near the signboard. Head down the hill at the Handicap sign. Stay on the main trail past the rest rooms and then past a shelter. At the shelter, head left (Southwest). Continue straight at the next intersection. Down the road you go! Curve around to the right and pass the ski area on the left. Cross the creek and at the map take a left uphill. After a long gentle ascent you’ll arrive at a 5-way intersection. Choose the path near the bench at 120 degrees heading down hill, with a black zigzag. At the next 4-way, go straight ahead until you reach a small shelter. Head into the woods on a faint path left of the shelter, near the “No Camping” sign. Standing at the bent tree a few steps in, spot the 3 tall trees in a row. Walk to the third tree and take a bearing of 70 degrees. Follow this deer path a short ways until you see a metal crate on your left. Walk to it and a few steps further you’ll see a stone foundation. Manoomin can be found growing under a mossy rock in the top corner. Please rehide well. Return to the shelter, then back to the 4-way intersection. Take a left (east). At the next “T” take a right, cross the bridge, then take a left. Pass a map on the left and then at the next intersection take a right. Follow the signs back to parking lot.

Status reports about how the Manoomin is doing would be greatly appreciated, since we live a long way from the area and won’t be able to check on the harvest ourselves. Thanks!