Piedmont XC Ski Trail Signs Restored

Joe Fairbanks

A Winter Feel Good Story

Story by Tom Livingston, Co-Founder of Destination Duluth
Video by Joe Fairbanks

A few years back I had the pleasure of meeting Glen Nelson, co-founder and sign maker of the Piedmont Trail system. I was moved by his passion and commitment to our Community, so Destination Duluth produced a short film and blog called “Spring Skiing With Glen”.

Periodically running into Glen on the trails is always a joyful reunion. But this year tragedy struck. Vandals stole 15 of Glen’s iconic signs that make the Piedmont Trail experience unique and heartwarming. I called Glen to ask how I could help. He said he was heartbroken and just didn’t think he could continue with his tradition of replacing a stolen sign here and there or add a new one along the way.

I headed to the trailhead the next day to survey the damage. Halfway into my bike ride, I met Glen. He exclaimed with tearful joy, “Tom, you won’t believe what happened!” He went on to share how a group of friends who work at Flint Group, a Duluth based marketing firm, decided to take on replacing the signs as a community benevolent project!

This team of Flint employees decided not only to replace the stolen signs, but make an annual commitment to remove all 50+ signs each spring, store them, and put them back up in the fall before skiing season begins. This amazing commitment was made selflessly with no expectation of reimbursement for time or materials from anyone. Included in their team was Creative Director and professional wood sign maker Ken Zakovich. Kudos to this inspired group of community-minded friends at Flint Group for their magnanimous hearts and contribution!

Click on the video to enjoy the wonderful craft of young filmmaker Josef Fairbanks, who is working as a commissioned storyteller for Destination Duluth.

We at Destination Duluth hope to create a series of these stories shining a light on true community-building efforts. If you have such a story idea, please share it in the comments below.

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