Now is the time to visit Brainerd’s school forest to view autumn colors

Now is the time to visit Brainerd’s school forest to view autumn colors
Posted on 10/11/2023
This is the image for the news article titled Now is the time to visit Brainerd’s school forest to view autumn colorsBy: Dean Makey

Autumn colors will be at their peak during the next couple of weeks and a good place to view them is at the Dean Makey School Forest in Baxter .

This is the Brainerd School District’s “outdoor classroom” and giant playground. It is used by all grades for learning about nature and to help with managing this forest resource. It is also used by students, teachers, athletes and community members for nature hikes, learning activities, conditioning and competition, and for leisure walking and watching for wildlife. At this time of the year, the autumn colors are a big attraction as the aspen, birch, maples, and oaks turn from summer green to autumn yellow, orange, and red.

A resting bench, refurbished by Joe Niklaus, at the Dean Makey School Forest in Baxter.

Two recent improvements to the school forest include the addition of a new resting bench and a picnic table. The bench was refurbished by Baxter resident and frequent user of the school forest, Joe Niklaus. He donated materials and labor to bring the bench “back to life” from the scrapyard, a metal bench from Forestview Middle School. After welding, sanding and painting, Joe installed the “new” bench at one of his favorite spots along the school forest’s trails. It is now a nice resting spot for all weary users of the trails. Thank you, Joe!

Another improvement to the school forest is the addition of a picnic table at the Southdale parking lot. This picnic table was constructed and installed by Benjamin Beasley, along with help from his family and fellow Boy Scouts. Benjamin, as part of an Eagle Scout project, coordinated the acquisition of materials, construction, and installation of the table. It can be found at the parking area and trailhead for the School Forest trail system. The parking lot is located near the Southdale Soccer Fields in Baxter, across Mountain Ash Drive South.

The Dean Makey School Forest has over 60 acres of forest to explore. It has mostly gently rolling terrain. The main trails are maintained during the summer with frequent mowing. The main trails are used for hiking, running, and cycling in the summer and groomed for Nordic skiing in the winter. A secondary, “single-track” trail is maintained for hiking and snowshoeing. Both trails provide approximately 6 miles of level to gently rolling trail for its many users.

You may find more information about the Dean Makey School Forest and a map of the trails for downloading at .

Now is the time to visit Brainerd’s School Forest, an easy place to find! Bring a bag lunch, hike, ski, or just relax in the beauty of a northern Minnesota forest!
Privacy | Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 PowerSchool Corporation. All rights reserved.