Superior Hero Tales: Melody Morris

November 2, 2020

In late 2018, the SHTA launched an initiative to develop an internal land-management database to better organize, track, and update critical information for our trail protection efforts. The incredible team at Slalom, a tech consulting firm in Minneapolis, helped to build the custom database for us at no cost to SHTA. But as soon as we started digging into the details of our existing files, we knew we needed help to sort hundreds of documents and generate updated, accurate landowner maps. 

In June 2019, we welcomed Melody Morris to the team to take on these detailed duties. Melody, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth with a degree in Geographic Information Science (GIS), got right to work populating our new database with important data. 

Melody (left) with her mother, Beverly (right). 

We credit Melody for her excellent work to bring a critical component of our work from the paper age into this digital decade. Before her efforts to modernize the SHTA’s land agreements, nearly all of them lived in a big cardboard box under a desk at the SHTA HQ, with few, if any, updated maps showing land ownership. With her GIS wizardry working on our behalf, she generated maps of each parcel of private land and section-by-section land ownership maps to help guide our trail protection efforts.

As we got to know Melody and her talents, we quickly realized she could help our team finally develop new trail information resources that had been “maybe someday” projects. With fresh GPS data in hand, Melody generated many of the trail mileage datapoints and elevation profiles that made their way into the Superior Hiking Trail Databook. And when that project was completed this spring, we enlisted her again to create our new Trail Atlas maps, which allowed us to offer digital maps for the SHT for the first time in our Trail’s history. 

While her work with the SHTA is wrapped up for now, we are eternally grateful for her significant behind-the-scenes contributions to our organization. If you’d had a chance to put the new Databook or Trail Atlas maps to use on the SHT, you too can thank Melody for her role in bringing those resources to fruition.

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