MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Bishop Baraga Association will host a virtual snowshoe walk to honor the Snowshoe Priest, Bishop Frederic Baraga between December 31, 2020 and January 19, 2021.

Carley Challender, BBA marketing coordinator, says Bishop Baraga was the first Bishop of Marquette. December 31 marks the 190th anniversary of Bishop Baraga arriving in the United States. January 19 is the day that he died 152 years ago.

“He ministered a lot to all groups of people in the midwest so a lot of that being in the Upper Peninsula on snowshoe that was his main route of travel,” said Challender.

December 29 is the anniversary for the Bishop Baraga Association. Challender says the event will also be a celebration of the associations history.

Prayer garden at BBA, photo courtesy of BBA.

“We’ll really be celebrating the anniversary and the 90 years of history associated with that, the 190 years Bishop Baraga has you know, been around and the role that he’s played here today,” said Challender. “So we’ll be talking about you know the routes of travel that he had traveled when he was alive on snowshoes or hiking and who he went to minister to as well as what those trails look like today and those routes passage that people can find currently as well.”

Challender says they will be pulling from his journal and prayer books to give people a glimpse of who he was.

“The one trail that we know for sure he traveled was the Lac Vieux Desert Trail and that is in Baraga County,” said Challender. “So Baraga was very significant to him, he spent in Baraga and the L’anse area and that trail actually extends from Watersmeet to Baraga County.”

Lac Vieux Desert to L’anse trail vicinity map.

This is the first year that they are hosting the event.

“Although we couldn’t celebrate in person like we would have wanted to this is just kind of a good segway of really bringing it back to who Bishop Baraga was and really what our organization is about,” said Challender.

Email or post photos on social media using the hashtag #SnowshoePriest. A gift basket from the BBA will go to the youth and adult participants who logs the most miles during the event.

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