Superior Hero Tales: Bob Nesheim

March 31, 2023

A bloody injury during a hike on the Superior Hiking Trail inspired Bob Nesheim and his wife Marlys Johnson’s move to Pincushion Mountain. Bob’s friend Dick Elliot cut his head open on a spruce. “I thought he was dead, there was blood on the Trail, but he finished the hike and then went to the emergency room,” Bob said. “It was clear the section needed work.”

So Bob and Marlys moved close to the Trail on Pincushion Mountain in Grand Marais, and got to work.

For the past 20 years, Bob Nesheim has been one of the Superior Hiking Trail Association’s most active volunteers, serving as a board member (2001-2007), section adopter, trail maintainer, sounding board, information source, and much more. He is truly a Superior Hero.

This year, Bob is retiring from section adopting after many years but will continue volunteering with the SHTA on new projects. He and Marlys will also still be keeping an eye on some of the trailheads in their area. Bob also wishes to thank Dick Elliot, Jim and Jane Shinners, Craig Hunter, Dan Mettner, and Charles Marks who frequently helped him care for the Trail during those years. “When trees fall, it really takes a sharp-toothed village,” Bob said.

To mark the occasion of his section adoption retirement, and thank Bob for his many contributions to the Trail, two former SHTA staff members had this praise and thanks to share:

Jo Swanson and Denny Caneff

I like to think of Bob Nesheim as the sage of the SHTA.  Years after leaving leadership positions, he remains tuned into everything, from the use of the office space to the complicated politics of recruiting board members to the fine points of trail clearing.  His wit and insights are as sharp as well-honed loppers.  He nurtured the section he oversaw as a volunteer adopter like it was his backyard garden.  And he suffered the ridicule of his old-guy trail maintenance comrades when he brought out his electric chainsaw.  Bob Nesheim is a gem.”

Denny Caneff, past SHTA Executive Director

Bob Nesheim has been one of the rare and wonderful volunteers living near his adopted section of trail, and he treated it like an extension of his backyard. His volunteer support included meticulous care of his section, which he shared with his friend, the equally-reliable Dick Elliott. The two of them took pride in keeping the Trail in fantastic condition. If you have hiked this section, you walked by signs Bob and Dick fixed or installed, enjoyed a well-maintained trail corridor, and didn’t have to crawl over lots of downed trees — all thanks to their hard work, year after year.

In addition to hands-on trail work, Bob Nesheim served on the SHTA Board of Directors, lending his insight and expertise to our growing organization. Even after his board term, Bob continued to contribute helpful knowledge about local forest conditions and Grand Marais goings-on. I always welcomed seeing Bob’s name in my inbox; I knew he’d be reporting something interesting or asking a great question. His reports, not only reliable, were sprinkled with a mix of expertise and humor. What a great combination.

The SHTA owes Bob and Dick a great big thank you for their years of hard work. Bob and Marlys will continue to maintain the ever-popular Pincushion Trailhead, so if you see them, join us in saying ‘Thank you’.”

Jo Swanson, former SHTA staffer

Thank you, Bob, for everything you do for the Trail!

Barbara Budd, SHTA Volunteer and Education Coordinator