Shelter opens along Shooting Star Trail

Gerald Meier stands in front of the picnic shelter he funded in his late wife Marjie’s name. It was erected next to the Shooting Star Trail between Adams and Rose Creek. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Gerald Meier stands in front of the picnic shelter he funded in his late wife Marjie’s name. It was erected next to the Shooting Star Trail between Adams and Rose Creek. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

About halfway between Adams and Rose Creek, a new picnic shelter stands for anyone using the Shooting Star Trail.

The new Norwegian Church picnic shelter, built by Ken Hartwig and funded by Gerald Meier and his family, was dedicated on Oct. 24, and finished a few days before the dedication. The shelter was dedicated in the name of Marjie Meier, Gerald’s late wife, who was very dedicated to making the Shooting Star Trail a success.

“Her and I worked on the trail ever since it started, and she was instrumental in getting a lot of funding and stuff for the trail,” Meier said.

Ken Hartwig (left) and Gerald Meier stand beside the new Norwegian picnic shelter located along the Shooting Star Trail between Adams and Rose Creek. Photo provided.

Ken Hartwig (left) and Gerald Meier stand beside the new Norwegian picnic shelter located along the Shooting Star Trail between Adams and Rose Creek. Photo provided.

Hartwig, who built the log cabin at The Rose Pedaler he owns with his wife Becky, wanted to take on another building project.

“I made a small-scale size model of the project and presented it at the meeting hoping we could maybe get some grants or something to pay for the material, and I would volunteer the labor,” he said.Despite getting a small grant, much of the funding falling through, Meier stepped up to secure the funding.

“I said, ‘Well if somebody will build it I’ll furnish the material,’” Meier said. “And Ken said, ‘I’ll build it.”

Ken recalled Meier supplying the funding.

“All of a sudden the funds were there and I had to go to work,” he laughed.

He designed and built the entire shelter, with some help from his wife Becky setting the posts — which he said she did very well — and help from local volunteers and his grandsons putting up the ridge beam.

“It was successful, nobody got hurt,” he laughed.

Hartwig, a local farmer, enjoys working with rustic architecture and was excited to work with the Scandinavian architecture. He was excited to tackle the shelter on his own.

The shelter was placed on Norwegian Hill, which was unofficially named that after neighbors and farmers came together at that place to dig out a train that was stuck in the snow. Although it’s not really a hill, it is the highest point between Adams and Rose Creek, according to Hartwig.

“We wanted to have a rest stop someplace, and this is kind of halfway between Adams and Rose Creek, so we thought it would be a good place,” Meier said. “And what better than to put up a replica of a Norwegian church.”

Meier was very pleased with the work Hartwig did, and only asked that they buy as much locally as possible. Meier said most of it was purchased locally, even the landscaping, aside from the one beam at the top.

“He put a lot of time into this, and a lot of effort. I told him my part of it is the easy part, he has the hard part,” Meier laughed.

He has already heard people talking about meeting at the “little church” along the trail and is excited to know people are already using the shelter.

“It’s a stopping place and if they need to rest it’s a place they can stop,” he said.

Hartwig is also excited to see people use the shelter, as he said it’s one of the only shelters on the trail that isn’t in a town or park.

“It’s there for anyone to use, walkers, roller-bladers, even snowmobilers — who aren’t supposed to be on the trail but are in the ditch — can use it,” he said.

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