Rotary Club of Ely

Meeting Summary - March 13, 2024

Lisa Luokkala - Executive director

Superior Hiking Trail association



Club Update:

No club update this week. See the calendar for upcoming speakers and events.

Guest Speaker:

Lisa Luokkala Executive Director of the Superior Hiking Trail Association

Lisa joined the Superior Hiking Trail Association as the Executive Director in 2020. She has an extensive background educationally and as a leader of organizations providing outdoor experiences for the public. She has a Masters degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth in Advocacy and Political Leadership and a Bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism from Eastern Michigan University. Lisa hikes on the SHT every week with her dog.

Speaker Highlights:

  • Covid brought forth valuing and spending time in the outdoors as a safe place protecting spiritual and mental health
  • The trail build started as a feasibility study with the U S Forest Service 
  • The SHTA started in 1986 and was finished in 2017
  • It follows the ridgeline above Lake Superior from the Wisconsin-Minnesota border to the Canadian border
  • Part of the North Country Trail, a 4,800-mile national and scenic trail that extends from North Dakota to Vermont
  • The trail crosses eight state parks, the Superior National Park and many communities and 200 landowner’s properties
  • It is 300 miles long, has 94 free campsites, 60 trailheads
  • 400,000 users each season May - November (most use time)
  • Trails are open year round 
  • Shuttle service available to sections of the trail

Management of the Trail and Association Efforts

  • Superior Hiking Trail Association is a non-profit organization sustained by memberships, donors, state and federal grants
  • They are not a designated state trail
  • The SHTA is planning for the future and their legacy
  • Dedicated member supported volunteers who contribute over 8000 volunteer hours in maintenance each year
  • One boardwalk is seven miles long
  • Crossing private land requires maintaining permissions through respectful use promoted by SHTA education to users
  • Strategic approach is Trail Protection, Sustainability, Education and Engagement and Financial Sustainability and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to establish the next generation of stewards
  • The organization is working on a Master Plan for the future and seeking input. See for more information.

Recommendations to preserve the trail and ensure a successful journey:

  • Plan before you go
  • The website has many resources to help you
  • Stay on the trail
  • Dispose of waste properly 
  • Plan to walk in the mud if it is wet 
  • Minimize campfire impacts

Education and Engagement

  • The SHTA has publications and maps available online and at the store
  • Collaboration with artists
  • Volunteer programs
  • Webinars online

For more information:

To help support SHTA: 

  • Become a member
  • Volunteer 
  • Make donations
Thank you to Lisa for sharing the wealth of information available about the Superior Hiking Trail and for her leadership toward the trail’s future. 

















Members Present:

Angela Campbell

Kurt Soderberg

Pat Warner

Lindsay Przybylski

Craig Loughery

Jeff Sundell

Joe Owens

Karen Zupancich

John Mills

Heather Fitzgerald

Ward Nelson

Cathy Coombe


Tom Moore

Michael Musich

Lisa Luokkala (Guest Speaker)

Card Game Drawing:

Karen's ticket was drawn for the drawing. She did not win. There are 30 cards left, $345.00 in the pot. 





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