Along The Trail

Each Shannon Trail community has a picture of a different animal on their National State Park Sign. The signs are in all sixteen communities and tell part of the life of Shannon. If you find the animal on the sign and write down what animal goes to which town or better yet download the contest from the web site you can collect a free print of Private Shannon. The contest is also available in Shannon Trail Brochures along the Shannon Trail The contest form can be turned in at the Corps of Discovery Welcome Center just south of Yankton on highway 81 and you will get a free print of Shannon and his horse!

A life-sized mannequin in period dress, affectionately referred to as “Shannon the Mannequin,” is displayed at the Northeast Nebraska state parks during May, June, July and August. Travelers can register to win two night cabin stays at either, Niobrara, Lewis and Clark or Ponca State Park. Yankton radio station KK93 has a weekly park show on Fridays aired at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.. May through August. Tune into 93.1 and be eligible to win over $80 in certificates from local businesses.

Shannon Trail has received grants and funding from the National Park Service, the Peter Kiewit Foundation, the Nebraska Humanities Council, the Nebraska Arts council, the Nebraska Division of Tourism, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Greenspace Program, the Knox County Visitors committee, Great Plains Communications, local banks, a private donor, and in-kind contributions from the communities involved.

Shannon Trail has also sponsored special fundraisers.

· 1) Concerts by the Discovery String Band.

· 2) A concert and dance featuring area native Joanie Keller of Nashville fame.

· 3) Original Shannon musicals written by a local playwright and songwriter Donna Henseler and performed by local talent. Robert Shannon Anderson, a collateral descendent of George Shannon, made guest appearances at the plays. Wearing his period costume, he mingled with audiences and displayed his exhibit of historical pieces, which includes a copy of the Harper’s Ferry rifle similar to the one his famous ancestor may have been using.

· 4) Sales of prints featuring artist Ray Kelly’s drawings of Private Shannon, with the original poetry of Edward R. Cook.

· 5) Sales of T-shirts with the Shannon logo. These were also distributed to a different school each month to inspire student interest in the rich history the area has to offer.

· 6) An auction of Lewis & Clark paintings by a local artist.

· 7) Ongoing sales of a CD entitled “Voices Of The Trail,” which incorporates special sound effects and music by the Discovery String Band and Calvin Standing Bear, with narrations by Hal Stearns portraying Meriwether Lewis, Mel Hankla as William Clark, Darrel Draper as George Drouillard, Hasan Davis as York, Joyce Badgley Hunsaker as Sacagawea, Bob Anderson as Shannon and Rudy Thomas as Thomas Jefferson.

· Dancing for Tourism event in Norfolk in April 2009 and 2010, 2011

· Archery Tournament east of Hartington in 2009, 2010, 2011 August

· Shannon Trail will have their first 5K walk Run in Hartington June 19th 2010

· Shannon Trail and National Field Archery location in Yankton 300 Vegas Style Shoot 2012

Shannon Trail has become a certified National Park Service Trail. The organization has received three awards from the Nebraska Tourism Industry: 2002 Outstanding Tourism Awareness Campaign, 2003 Outstanding Regional Organization and 2006 Outstanding New Event. The Trail also received the 2004 National Community Improvement Award.

In 2006, the Northeast Nebraska Resource and Development Agency in Plainview nominated Shannon Trail as a presenter at the 2006 National Tourism Extension Conference. In September of that year, four members of Shannon Trail were honored to represent Nebraska at the conference in Burlington, Vermont, which included twenty-four states and three countries.

Although the final selection in 2007 was “Discovery Bridge,” “Private Shannon Bridge” won the popular vote as a proposed name for a new bridge spanning the Missouri River between northeast Nebraska and South Dakota at Yankton.

Karla V. Sigala, Interpretive Specialist, noted, “The George Shannon Trail organization has been monumentally effective in bringing together people from 16 communities and two American Indian Tribes in a combined effort to tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the eyes of Pvt. George Shannon. This is an example to other communities across the country and they should be recognized for their efforts.”

Shannon Trail Promoters continues to explore new ideas for attracting visitors to the largely-undiscovered historic and scenic treasures of this portion of the Lewis & Clark trail.

Shannon Trail President Laurie Larsen may be reached at lklarsen_72@gpcom.net