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Trail will lead kids into magical world of books

New attraction debuts at Kennedy Park

Children walking in the woods around John F. Kennedy Memorial Park may come face-to-face with The Lorax or The Bar-ba-loot.

That’s nothing to be concerned about, however. Both critters are completely harmless. In fact, they are not even alive. The creatures from a Dr. Seuss tale have been recreated as a wooden sculptures as a part of the newest addition to the Children’s Forest at the park north of Fort Dodge.

All of the character sculptures were created by chainsaw artist Gary Keenan.

They were set up to create a kind of literary trail where kids can walk around, see the renditions of various storybook characters and even read a bit about them. The trail also has 16 panels of nature-related stories. The panels wll be swapped out with other panels that tell different stories.

Work on the trail started early in the fall of 2020. The trail debuted Tuesday with a special event that included ice cream and the JOYMobile book van, which provided free books to kids.

We think anything that can get kids interested in reading is a good thing, and this trail project is a very innovative way to introduce young people to the fascinating worlds to be found in books. We hope that after seeing the character sculptures, kids will want to dig into the books that The Lorax and its wooden cohorts came from.

The project was made possible by the Friends of Webster County Conservation, which paid the $4,200 cost of the project.

We thank the Friends group, the staff at Webster County Conservation and Gary Keenan for creating this unique attraction.

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