Anna Sidie-Slettedahl remembers doing a lot of hard work on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) when she served in Minnesota Conservation Corps in 2007, on a Lake Superior crew based out of Duluth. Besides the SHT, her crew built and maintained ATV/snowmobile/horse trails, removed invasive species, improved timber stands, constructed outhouses, surveyed goshawks and fought wildfire.
Work on the SHT felt especially challenging to Anna because it required hiking for miles and carrying heavy loads of lumber on her back, along with trail building equipment and supplies. Sometimes her crew would weed-whip miles and miles of the trail edges in hot, muggy weather. Though the work was hard, she ultimately found it very satisfying. It taught her to take on challenges, try something different – even frightening – and never give up. She recalls being on call for fire duty when the Ham Lake fire near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area suddenly got very big and dangerous. That night, the Gunflint Trail was evacuated because the fire was endangering residents. Left alone to manage the radio at the Grand Marais DNR station, Anna thought, “I don’t know what I am doing! Don’t leave me!” But she managed it well and everything went smoothly.
Incredible friendships were forged during that time. The two Duluth-based crews were compatible, learned and grew together and created strong bonds that have lasted years, Anna said.
Currently with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anna works as a fish and wildlife biologist/grants manager. She reviews proposals and determines allocations for projects related to fish and wildlife restoration. Although her job involves a lot of reading and not much field work, she finds it very rewarding to support good work that will enhance wildlife and sport fish in our region.