Gunflint Trail Cross-Country Ski Resorts Invest in New Infrastructure to Enhance the Ski Experience

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Gunflint Trail Cross-Country Ski Resorts Invest in New Infrastructure to Enhance the Ski Experience

Meet the MVP of Cook County Ski Trails: the  Pistenbully PB 100

Meet the MVP of Cook County Ski Trails: the  Pistenbully PB 100 – photo by Ruth Wagner of Golden Eagle Lodge

February 11, 2021 – Cook County, Minn.     Visit Cook County invites cross-country ski enthusiasts to experience a transformed, modern ski experience in Minnesota’s arrowhead region. After investing in new grooming infrastructure, the trails in Cook County are expertly groomed and ready to be skied. Spend your days exploring over 400km of beautiful trails throughout the region and embrace Hygge and all things cozy once the sun goes down.

“Whether you’re a new skier or an experienced veteran, you’ll find endless opportunities for adventure in Cook County this winter,” said Linda Jurek, Visit Cook County Executive Director. “Resort owners throughout Cook County have made significant investments to our grooming equipment, so visitors can enjoy the very best skiing in the state. Head north! We’d love to see you.”

Cook County sees an average of 120 inches of annual snowfall in the stunning Superior National Forest. Come February and March, the trails truly transform into an epic winter wonderland. Our large network of trails is meticulously groomed all season long, creating optimal conditions for the perfect ski.

Meet the MVP of Cook County Ski Trails: the  Pistenbully PB 100

The key to an excellent cross country-ski experience is flawless grooming. In the last few years, significant investments into grooming equipment were made to both the Central Gunflint and Sugarbush Ski Trail Systems, replacing equipment that was from the 1980s. The Central Gunflint Ski Trail System, managed cooperatively by Bearskin Lodge & Golden Eagle Lodge, are known throughout the state for their impeccable grooming. By investing in upgraded equipment, conditions are only getting better.

The Pistenbully is quiet, fast, powerful and eco-friendly, and it streamlined grooming work instantly with a larger and improved tiller. An attachable cutter blade helps break up ice or packed snow with ease all right from the groomer cockpit saving both time and energy. With a firm base, smooth snow and 12’ wide trails, skiing between Golden Eagle and Bearskin is excellent.

“This winter started out strong with good snow early, but then we had a few weeks without significant fresh snowfall and warmer weather. However, because of the new grooming equipment the trails have remained in great condition because we are now able to break up the snow crystals and set them into a strong base,” explained Ruth Wagner, owner of Golden Eagle Lodge. An incredible cross-country ski experience draws hundreds of visitors each winter, and lodge owners have taken time to curate truly magical adventures. Extend your cross-country adventures into the evening and try night skiing with old-fashioned kerosene-style lamps along the 3km Wolf Point trail, or other lit trails near Bearskin Lodge.

Track Your Progress with GPS Mapping

One of the best parts about cross-country skiing is spending hours deep within the wilderness, but it’s nice to know where you’re at on the trail. The Sugarbush, Norpine, Bally Creek and Pincushion trails have georeferenced digital maps available for download and use with apps like Avenza. Once downloaded into a phone or digital device, a wayfinding app can place a dot on the map right where you are, even without a cell or wifi connection. Cell coverage is spotty deep within the Superior National Forest, so these maps are essential to a safe and fun journey.

Head up to Cook County for a cross-country ski getaway! Browse trail conditions in Lutsen and Tofte, Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail for updated grooming reports, insight from fellow skiers and ideas on where to start your next cross-country ski adventure.

View the Cook County Ski Trail Map and plan a trip north today.

###

 Visit Cook County, Minnesota

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior.”  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently, it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitorsFacebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at VisitCookCounty.com.

Nothing better than a freshly groomed trail - by Ruth Wagner of Golden Eagle Lodge on the Gunflint Trail

Nothing better than a freshly groomed trail – by Ruth Wagner of Golden Eagle Lodge on the Gunflint Trail

New Fat-tire Biking Opportunities Fill The Winter Void on the North Shore

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (from MN State Parks)

New Fat-tire Biking Opportunities Fill The Winter Void on the North Shore

Winter groomed fat tire bike trails

Winter groomed fat tire bike trails on the Norpine Ski Trail system in Lutsen

There is always something to do outdoors in the State Parks along the North Shore. This year’s snowfall has not set records, but that does not stop people from enjoying the great outdoors in the north-country. The fat-tire trail conditions at Split Rock Lighthouse and Cascade River state parks are in great mid-season form – – packed and firm – – and the summer crowds are gone, so now is the perfect time to explore these Minnesota State Parks.

Fat-tire bikes are an off-road bicycle with oversized tires, designed for low ground pressure to allow riding on soft, unstable terrain, such as snow, sand, and mud. The wide tires can be used with low-inflation pressures to allow for a smooth ride over rough obstacles. The sport is growing in popularity and more trails are accommodating this new outdoor winter sport.

At Split Rock Lighthouse State Park north of Duluth, 8.2 miles of fat-tire biking is available on multi-use trails where fat-tire bikers, hikers and snowshoers can all enjoy the same designated, packed trails. The trails are family-friendly and offer a great first-time experience for beginners. The trails meander through the park, follow the shoreline of Lake Superior, and offer amazing views along the way. A valid MN State Park Pass is required and parking can be found in the park at either the Trail Center or the Pebble Beach parking lots.

At Cascade River State Park, a partnership with the Norpine Ski Association has permitted 11 miles of new fat-tire bike trails (also see Facebook Norpine Ski Association) on select cross-country skiing trails. A generous accommodation has been made alongside the ski trails so that fat-bikers can also use the trail.  These trails are some of the most scenic along the Sawtooth Mountains. These multiple-use trails are experimental and may provide an avenue to maintain and grow outdoor winter activities and trail grooming – please be courteous when using the groomed trails. Fat-bike trail users are asked to consider buying a Great Minnesota State Ski Pass to help support trail grooming efforts. The trails can be accessed from several trailheads along Highway 61 and County Road 45 near the town of Lutsen. Call Cascade River State Park to learn more about winter activities at the park.

There is still plenty of winter left to try fat-tire biking. If you don’t own a fat-tire bicycle, several bicycle shops in Duluth, the surrounding area, and along the North Shore rent them. Additionally, hotels and other lodging facilities are catching onto this sport and can often time help bikers find the best trails in the area.  Make a plan to visit the North Shore this winter and find out why so many people return year after year.

More information about these trails is available by calling or emailing Split Rock Lighthouse State Park or Cascade River State Park.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Phone: 218-595-7625

Email:  SplitRockLthouse.StatePark@state.mn.us

 

Cascade River State Park

Phone:  218-387-6001

Email: cascaderiver.statepark@state.mn.us

 

Fat Bikes can be rented at: 

Sawtooth Outfitters, Tofte, MN | (218) 663-7643

Spokengear Cyclery & Outdoor, Two Harbors | (218) 834-2117

Continental Ski & Bike, Duluth | (218) 728-4466

 

Socially Distant and Amazing Cross-Country Ski Trails in Cook County, Minnesota

Socially Distant and Amazing Cross-Country Ski Trails in Cook County, Minnesota

January 1, 2021 – Cook County, Minn. Visit Cook County invites all levels of cross-country skiers to kickstart a
much-anticipated new year by enjoying over 400km of trails throughout Cook County, Minnesota. With an
average of 120 inches of annual snowfall in the stunning Superior National Forest, the opportunities for
adventure are endless.

“Fresh air and exercise are essential to mental and physical wellness, as we’ve all learned this past year,” said
Linda Jurek, Visit Cook County Executive Director. She continued, “A cross-country ski adventure in Cook County
is the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy the season.”

Five Great Reasons to Try Cross-Country Skiing This Year
1. It’s affordable and fun!
2. View wildlife and nature up close
3. Endless adventure opportunities
4. Full body workout
5. Aprés ski
Read our blog post to learn more.

Whether you’re an expert looking to stretch your legs and skills, a family hungry to get outside safely, or a
couple looking for a romantic ski through the trees, the perfect cross-country ski adventure awaits in Cook
County. The best part? With so much open space on the trails and ample lodging, you can remain as isolated as
you need to be to feel safe.

Three Lesser-Traveled/COVID-Friendly Cross-Country Ski Trails in Cook County

  • Norpine System, Lutsen Area – This stunning 58 +km network of trails surrounding Cascade River State
    Park has some of the state’s best views.
  • Central Gunflint Ski Trail System – Located in the heart of the snowbelt of the North Shore, it doesn’t get
    more peaceful than 70 km of trails along the Gunflint Trail and BWCA.
  • Banadad Trail System, Gunflint Trail – Ski to your heart’s content on 43 beautiful kilometers in the
    Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

View the Cook County Ski Trail Map and plan a trip north today.

###

Visit Cook County, Minnesota
Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand
Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of
Lake Superior”. Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA
Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and
Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior
National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the
communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn,
Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com.

 

https://www.skinnyski.com/notices/archives/cookcty20210105.pdf

Press Release: Empty Bowls Cook County “Give Together” 2020

Empty Bowls Cook County “Give Together” 2020

Empty Bowls 2020 will once again raise critical funds for our community’s hunger needs this November. In lieu of a soup meal get-together, Empty Bowls 2020 will be an online “give together” to raise the $30,000 necessary for Empty Bowls to continue its work in Cook County. All funds raised support the Cook County Food Shelf and other community organizations working to alleviate hunger in Cook County.  

The current global pandemic may have cancelled Empty Bowls’ in-person fundraiser, but it’s also responsible for an uptick in food insecurity both locally and nationwide, making it more important than ever for Empty Bowls to continue its work in Cook County. Empty Bowls urges everyone to donate at www.emptybowlscookcounty.org to make sure Cook County’s hunger needs are met in the coming year. Alternatively, send checks payable to “Empty Bowls Cook County” to Empty Bowls, P.O. Box 294, Grand Marais, MN 55604. Empty Bowls Cook County is 501c3 non-profit and donations to Empty Bowls Cook County are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

To help with this fall’s fundraising, beautiful handmade bowls from the Grand Marais Art Colony and other local potters will be sold online. The bowl sale will go live at www.emptybowlscookcounty.org in mid-November. A selection of gift certificates and other donated items from local businesses can also be purchased on the website to support Empty Bowls Cook County. 

With a fundraising goal of $30,000, Empty Bowls urges individuals and businesses 

to sponsor Empty Bowls’ 2020 efforts at one of the following levels: Event Sponsor $1000+, Business Sponsor $500 – $999, Table Sponsor $250 – $499. Please send a check payable to Empty Bowls Cook County to P.O. Box 294, Grand Marais, MN 55604 or give online at www.emptybowlscookcounty.org.

Empty Bowls addresses Cook County’s food insecurity through several community hunger programs. Funds from last year’s Empty Bowls event were distributed to Birch Grove Community School, Cook County Food Shelf, Cook County Public Health and Human Services, Cook County Ruby’s Pantry, Cook County Schools, Cook County Youth Agency Coalition, Cooperation Station Daycare, Great Expectations School Lunch Program, Oshki Ogimaag Charter School, and the Violence Prevention Center. 

Empty Bowls in Cook County started in 2006 and works in collaboration with the Grand Marais Art Colony and the generous donations of local businesses. Currently, the Empty Bowls steering committee plans to do a drive-thru soup meal event fundraiser in spring 2021. 

 

Contact: 

Empty Bowls 2020

P.O. Box 294, Grand Marais, MN 55604 

218-370-9581(Ada Igoe, Empty Bowls marketing) 

emptybowlsgm@gmail.com

www.emptybowlscookcounty.org

Press Release: Lutsen Mountains Prepares for a Safe 2020-2021 Ski Season – Opening Date November 14, 2020

Photo - Lutsen Mountains opens Nov 14 2020

Lutsen Mountains Prepares for a Safe 2020-2021 Ski Season Investing Over $400,000 in Improvements to Infrastructure.

Expanded outdoor seating and daily capacity limits are elements of COVID-19 operational plan.

October 27, 2020 – Lutsen, Minn. After months of planning and preparation, Lutsen Mountains has announced it’s target opening date and is preparing to welcome guests for the 2020-2021 ski season. With expanded indoor/outdoor seating and dining areas, contactless reservations and daily capacity limits, Lutsen Mountains is poised to offer an enhanced winter season experience for families, friends and everyone looking to get away. 

“As the weather turns colder, it will become increasingly important for people to get outside, breathe fresh air and exercise,” said Linda Jurek, Visit Cook County Executive Director. “I am proud of how  quickly our local business community quickly adapted to the covid-19 restrictions. We saw record breaking demand this summer and expect that trend to continue into the winter as guests seek to find the perfect place to naturally social distance in the outdoors.” 

After closing last winter season early due to COVID-19, Lutsen Mountains management and staff began making preparations for the 2020-2021 season early on. To date, Lutsen Mountains has invested over $400,000 in improvements to new and existing infrastructure. In addition to increased cleaning and safety protocols, new this year: 

  • Daily limits. Utilizing the data from their new RFID ticketing system, management reviewed past traffic trends to set daily capacity limits based on how many people the chalets can serve safely.  
  • Expanded seating capacity. Following state and national indoor capacity guidelines, expanded indoor and heated outdoor seating areas have been added. Wind barriers have been installed to the deck expansions at both the Summit and Scandinavian Chalet. Outdoor heaters are poised to extend the comfort range for outdoor dining.  And the Village Chalet at the base of Eagle Mountain will be reopened. 
  • No contact check-ins. Eagle Ridge at Lutsen Mountains has taken steps to make staying on property safer with contactless registration and keyless entry using bluetooth technology. 
  • Enhanced Chalet Services. Guests entering the chalets to warm up will be greeted by a host and escorted to a table with their party. Guests wishing to purchase food or beverage may do so by utilizing the new online ordering system. Meals will be made to order.  
  • Apres Ski Entertainment. Live music is part of the apres ski culture at Lutsen Mountains, therefore, Papa Charlie’s will continue to offer live music on select dates. Capacity restrictions will be in place and guests will be assigned seating to comply with social distancing requirements. The Monday Night Songwriter Series, featuring marquee songwriters from throughout the midwest, will continue with advanced reservations and ticketing.  

“We’re excited to welcome guests to a reimagined, pandemic-conscious Lutsen Mountains,” said Jim Vick, Lutsen Mountains Director of Sales and Marketing. “Our team has been working tirelessly to transform the resort and plan for the season.”

News of capacity limits has already spurred early lift ticket sales; many are looking forward to a slice of normalcy this winter. Please note that ticket and lodging reservations are strongly encouraged prior to visiting Lutsen Mountains. Reserve early and explore a mid-week getaway to ensure space is available.

“For new and returning guests, we’re encouraging booking early this season” continues Vick. “We’re already seeing increased demand for the season. And with 5” of fresh snow already on the ground and snowmaking just beginning, we’re on track for a great start to the season.” 

About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com

 ###

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County

Phone#: 218.387.2788 ext. 101

Email: linda@visitcookcounty.com

 

Kjersti Vick | Visit Cook County

Phone#: 218.387.2788 ext. 104

Email: kjersti@visitcookcounty.com

 

Photo - Lutsen Mountains opens Nov 14 2020

Photo – Lutsen Mountains opens Nov 14 2020

Press Release: Isle Royale Delivers Handwoven Mats to Grand Portage

Grand Portage - Mats loaded in WOLF at Mott Island and ready for the journey to Grand Portage

Isle Royale National Park News Release

Release Date:    October 14, 2020

Contact:            Liz Valencia, 906-369-7146, liz_valencia@nps.gov

Isle Royale Delivers Handwoven Mats to Grand Portage

HOUGHTON, MICH – In September, a significant journey across Lake Superior from Isle Royale to Grand Portage, Minnesota, took place.  The cargo?  Five culturally significant woven mats (anaakanan) from the Isle Royale National Park museum collection.  The mats, four woven from cedar bark and the fifth made of sweetgrass, are now on long term loan to Grand Portage National Monument.  They joined twelve other mats in the Grand Portage museum collection; six from Grand Portage NM, four others from the Isle Royale collection, and two owned by the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

At least two of the mats from Isle Royale and several more in the collection at Grand Portage, were made by Tchi-ki-wis, Mrs. Helen Robinson Linklater, an Ojibwe woman who lived on Isle Royale in the late 1920s and early 1930s with her game warden husband, John Linklater. She crafted mats and other items of cedar and birch bark and sold them to tourists and summer residents. The mats are a one-of-a-kind collection, representing what has been described by a researcher as the largest collection of Anishinaabeg cedar mats crafted by one artisan in North America.

Grand Portage - Handwoven mat of dyed cedar bark strips; black, red and natural plad check pattern with medicine eye design.Photo caption:  Handwoven mat made of dyed cedar bark strips; black, red, and natural plaid check pattern with medicine eye design.  The mat was possibly crafted by Tchi-ki-wis Linklater in 1930. The mat is eight feet long and four feet eight inches wide.

Packing and moving five fragile mats for an autumn trip on Lake Superior in a small boat was no easy task and required careful preparation and planning in advance by the staff of Isle Royale and the Lake Superior Collection Management Center based at Keweenaw National Historical Park.  Museum Curator Penelope Yocum, who organized the project, also called on the expert advice of a professional conservator from the NPS Harpers Ferry Center.  All supplies and materials needed for project had to be acquired in advance and sent to Isle Royale.

Before shipment, the mats were removed from their storage crate at Mott Island and carefully cleaned.  Four of the mats were pliable and able to be rolled around large tubes, wrapped in muslin fabric, secured with cotton ribbon, and covered with plastic for the trip.  The final mat was brittle and unable to be rolled. A special cardboard folder was constructed so it could be transported flat.  The mats were loaded into the 22 ft. park vessel WOLF and transported the 60 miles to Grand Portage where the Grand Portage Band Tribal Council welcomed them home.  Grand Portage - Mats loaded in WOLF at Mott Island and ready for the journey to Grand Portage

Photo caption:  Mats loaded in WOLF at Mott Island and ready for the journey to Grand Portage. Curator Penelope Yocum kept watch while Archeologist Seth DePasqual piloted the boat.

The loan of the mats highlights just one of the many connections between the Grand Portage Ojibwe and Isle Royale.  In 2019, Isle Royale was designated as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The TCP documents and celebrates the traditional and long-lasting use of Minong (Isle Royale) by the Grand Portage Band and identifies the unique relationship between Grand Portage and Isle Royale.  According to Isle Royale National Park Superintendent, Denice Swanke, “the park was honored to protect these mats over the years and appreciates the collaboration with the Grand Portage Band and Grand Portage National Monument to now host all seventeen mats together.”

www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for the 421 parks in the National Park System and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice

 

 Contact Info: 

Liz Valencia

Manager, Interpretation and Cultural Resources Division

Isle Royale National Park

800 E. Lakeshore Drive

Houghton, MI 49931

906-369-7146

906-487-7153

 

Press Release: $9,339 Raised for the Local Community from the One Moose Apart T-shirt Fundraiser

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 - $5,339 in donations to Empty Bowls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

$9,339 Raised for the Local Community from the One Moose Apart T-shirt Fundraiser

Grand Marais, Minn. (October 6, 2020) – What started off as a playful way to promote social distancing, grew to a fundraiser for the community that raised $9,339 in donations. 

“When we launched the “One Moose Apart” campaign in March, we quickly started hearing feedback from folks that they wanted this image on a t-shirt” said Linda Jurek, Executive Director of Visit Cook County. “We saw this as a great opportunity to spread the word about staying vigilant to slow the spread of Covid-19 in our community as well as raise money for local community members in need.” 

Once the fundraising campaign was launched in July, support came in from across the country from both lifelong residents as well as frequent visitors. With each purchase, supporters were given the opportunity to post a comment about why they chose to contribute to this campaign. Here are a few testimonials:  

“Cook County is a special place with incredible people. I want to give back for all the memories they’ve given me” – Brianna Larson

“We just LOVE Cook County and hope that everyone there stays healthy and safe!” – Sharon A Ostlie

Even local business owners were proud to support the campaign:

“Because we love Cook County and we want to help support our neighbors through this difficult time!” – Kim Corliss, co-owner of North Shore Winery.  

To view testimonials from supporters, visit the campaign websites: 

The original campaign ended on August 11, 2020. However, demand remained strong and a second campaign was completed in September. In total, the combined campaigns sold 658 t-shirts and raised $9,339.  

The proceeds were distributed to two local organizations. $4,000 going to the Violence Prevention Center and $5,339 going to the Empty Bowls organization. Both not-for-profit organizations provide critical relief to the local community supporting a broad group of individuals and families from children to the elderly. 

Empty Bowls is an organization that hosts an annual fundraiser in November that focuses on providing food to those in need. However, due to the coronavirus, the event will not be able to be held as usual. Proceeds raised from the Empty Bowls event are distributed to multiple organizations including the local food shelf, schools, Good Samaritan Fund, Snacks & Packs program, Cook County Council on Ageing, Ruby’s Pantry and the Cooperation Station Daycare.  

The Violence Prevention Center provides critical services for individuals and families in times of crisis. Among their vast array of services they provide temporary housing, legal, medical and emotional support. 

Visit Cook County would like to extend a sincere thank you to all supporters of this campaign for their generous support. To learn more about One Moose Apart, please visit: https://blog.visitcookcounty.com/do-your-part-please-stay-one-moose-apart 

About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com

 ###

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 - $5,339 in donations to Empty Bowls

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 – $5,339 in donations to Empty Bowls. Pictured here: Pat Campanero board member of Empty Bowls , Linda Jurek executive director of Visit Cook County and Murray the Moose.

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 - $4000 in donations to Violence Prevention Center

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 – $4000 in donations to Violence Prevention Center. Pictured here: Lindsey Gau, director of Violence Prevention Center, Linda Jurek executive director of Visit Cook County and Murray the Moose.

Kjersti Vick | email: kjersti@visitcookcounty.com | phone: (218) 387-2788 ext. 104

Press Release: One Moose Apart Campaign is Raising Money for Local Residents 

Limited Edition "One Moose Apart" T-shirts

Visit Cook County’s One Moose Apart Campaign is Raising Money for Local Residents.    

Limited Edition "One Moose Apart" T-shirts

Grand Marais, Minn. (August 4, 2020)Since launching the One Moose Apart campaign in March, Visit Cook County has received an outpouring of support from visitors and locals alike who appreciate the playful take on social distancing.

“We received numerous requests for a t-shirt with the One Moose Apart artwork, so we decided to make one!” said Linda Jurek, Executive Director of Visit Cook County.

“Initially, we were anticipating selling only approximately  50 shirts. However, after only 7 days, we have far exceeded that number!”continued Jurek. In fact, as of Tuesday, August 4th, the campaign recorded 286 supporters and over $4,237 raised. The campaign and t-shirt sales are set to end on August 11th, 2020, with a revised goal of $6,000. 

With each purchase, supporters are given the opportunity to post a comment about why they are choosing to contribute to this campaign. Here are a few testimonials:  

“Cook County is a special place with incredible people. I want to give back for all the memories they’ve given me” – Brianna Lason

“We just LOVE Cook County and hope that everyone there stays healthy and safe!” – Sharon A Ostlie

“We camp on the Gunflint Trail several times every year, made Cook County our honeymoon destination 17 years ago, and have friends that own a local business in Grand Marais. I love the “One Moose Apart” image and message.” – Amanda G Lee

Even local business owners are proud to support the campaign:

“Because we love Cook County and we want to help support our neighbors through this difficult time!” – Kim Corliss, co-owner of North Shore Winery.  

All proceeds from the t-shirt sales will be donated to the Cook County Coronavirus Relief Fund which will go towards supporting local families, community members and businesses impacted by Covid-19. Visit Cook County is partnering with the Cook County Chamber to identify which entities to distribute funds to. 

“The success of campaigns like  this really demonstrate the caliber and nature of our community – both near and far. By working together, we can get through this pandemic stronger than before” Jurek added. 

Another newly launched campaign that exemplifies community strength is the SISU Coffee Project. A partnership between three local businesses (Fika Coffee, Java Moose and Hoaglund Designs) to raise funds to support the livelihoods and everyday needs of the local community.

In addition to the One Moose Apart Campaign, Visit Cook County is providing complimentary face coverings to visitors in the area and is promoting safe and responsible visitation. Learn more about what Cook County businesses are doing during Covid-19 to welcome visitors and keep residents safe by visiting the website.

About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com

 ###

Assets: 

Link to the Campaign: https://www.customink.com/fundraising/visitcookcounty

Dropbox folder of Photos & Graphics of the One Moose Apart campaign materials: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/g7r23pq1ma4ugcp/AAC_6f4JSXZdke2J8csFIVi7a?dl=0

Requests for Interview Contact: Kjersti Vick | phone: 218-387-2788 ext. 103 | email: kjersti@visitcookcounty.com

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino Announces Reopening Plans

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino firepit outside the Island Dining Room

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino Announces Reopening Plans

Grand Portage, MN, June 3, 2020: Previous plans for reopening Grand Portage Lodge and Casino have been modified. Originally scheduled for Monday, June 22, the reopening date has moved one week later to Monday, June 29, 2020.

This includes the Casino, Lodge, Island View Dining Room and Antlers Lounge. All will be operating at 50% capacity with enhanced health and sanitation protocols in place. New hours for the Casino will be 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. daily until further notice.

Guests looking to book rooms should call 800-543-1384. Online booking will not be available at this time.

Island View Dining Room will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with new menus, food safety and sanitation measures. Hours: Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Lunch 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Dinner: 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The Marina and RV Park will be opening very soon. Inquiries about booking RV sites and use of the Marina should call the above listed 800#.

Other features and amenities on the Grand Portage Reservation have earlier opening dates:

  • The Grand Portage State Park is now open for day use only, with limited facilities
  • The Grand Portage Trading Post will open on Monday, June 15, 2020
    • New Hours will be 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Facial Coverings and Social Distancing will be required
  • The Grand Portage National Monument will open on Monday, June 15, 2020

In addition to our usual high standards of cleanliness, during the closure, the property has been thoroughly deep-cleaned and sanitized, and enhanced health and safety plans have been developed with guidance from public health officials. Upon returning, guests can expect additional new safety procedures and protocols. Hours are subject to change. For complete details, please visit grandportage.com.

We will continue to work closely with local and national health officials to keep our guests and employees safe. Please feel confident that we’re doing all we can to provide a healthy environment so that you can enjoy your stay with us. We look forward to welcoming back our guests. Thank you for allowing us to be your lodge and casino of choice. For more information, please visit grandportage.com or call 800-543-1384.

About Grand Portage Lodge & Casino Owned and operated by the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage Lodge & Casino has served as the premier hospitality destination on the pristine north shore of Minnesota for over 30 years. The property consists of 95 elegantly renovated rooms and suites, a 12,000 square foot casino, Island View Dining Room, Antlers Lounge, Event Center, Trading Post, Car Wash, Marina and RV Park. It also serves as a home base for the cabins at nearby sister property, Hollow Rock Resort. For more information, visit grandportage.com or call 800-543-1384.

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Contact: Todd Ford / Marketing Director / tford@grandportage.com / 218-475-2933

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino has the most epic firepit with a view

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino has the most epic firepit with a view

 

Newly renovated lobby at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino

Newly renovated lobby at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino

 

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino Front Entrance

Grand Portage Lodge & Casino Front Entrance

Photo: Newly renovated Grand Portage Casino

Newly renovated Grand Portage Casino

Photo: Rooms at Grand Portage Lodge

Newly renovated rooms at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino

For only the second time in it’s 90 year history, the Fisherman’s Picnic in Grand Marais, Minn. has been cancelled.

Fisherman's Picnic 2017

Event organizers in Cook County, Minn. are reinventing what event participation looks like during the time of Covid-19.

The Grand Marais Lion's Club organizes the Fisherman's Picnic in Grand Marais MN

The Grand Marais Lion’s Club organizes the Fisherman’s Picnic in Grand Marais MN

Grand Marais, Minn. (May 14, 2020) – For over 90 years, the Fisherman’s Picnic in Grand Marais, Minn. held annually the first weekend in August has been canceled this year. The only other time Fisherman’s Picnic was canceled in its long history was during WWII. A marquee event weekend, visitors from around the country choose to plan their trip to the North Shore and Gunflint Trail around this annual event to celebrate the heritage and spirit of the community.

Like many communities, major events are struggling to find a way to continue amidst the COVID-19 crisis. “Events are an essential part of our brand,” says Linda Jurek, Executive Director of Visit Cook County. “While we’re primarily known for our outdoor recreational activities, our local event organizers really put on some spectacular events throughout the year that will really be missed this summer.”

However, in the spirit of small town ingenuity, event organizers in Cook County, Minn. have been working hard to reimagine events amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

Lutsen 99er Launches Lone Wolf Challenge 

Lutsen 99er is a family sport - by Visit Cook CountyOrganizers of the Lutsen 99er, a world-class mountain bike competition featuring distances of 25, 49, 69 and 99 miles, is launching a virtual event aptly named the Lutsen 99er Lone Wolf Challenge in place of the cancelled traditional event. “We started the 99er in 2011 because we wanted to showcase the quality of the terrain that exists in this area,” says Peter Spencer, Race Director for the Lutsen 99er. Over the past 10 years, the Lutsen 99er participation has grown from about 100 riders to over 1,800 riders and their families.

“The Lutsen 99er participants are like family and while this year’s event will be missing the physical camaraderie of the event weekend, biking is by nature an individual sport so why not still come up and test your mettle at your own pace?” asks Spencer. GPS directions will be sent out to all registered Lutsen 99er participants for any of the course distances to ride between June 5th – July 12 of this year. Those who complete the challenge will be awarded a limited edition commemorative gift from Wolf Tooth Components. Learn more: lutsen99er.com.

North House Folk School’s Wooden Boat Show & Solstice Celebration

Wooden Boat Show at North House Folk School in Grand Marais - Visit Cook County (1)At North House Folk School in Grand Marais, event organizers are preparing to launch a virtual edition of their famed Wooden Boat Show and Solstice Celebration through a week of live craft demonstrations, evening webinars and hands-on(line) courses. North House will be bringing the event weekend to life through video boat tours and behind-the-scenes wooden boat projects from around the country.

Embrace the Slow TV movementHjordisthe beloved schooner of the North Shore has over-wintered in Knife River, Minn. Join her and her socially distant crew for (part-of) the 14-hour journey home. It’s the nautical equivalent to the televised yule-log…only without even the suggestion of warmth.

The event kicks off at noon CST on Monday, June 15 on Facebook Live, and will continue all week with the full slate of speakers, demonstrations and more available. All content will be available on demand Saturday, June 20 at northhouse.org.

Boundary Waters Expo on the Gunflint Trail

Boundary Waters ExpoBoundary waters canoe area enthusiasts have come to look forward to this gathering of canoe experts every year since 2015. This year, event organizer Quinn McCloughan of Bearskin Lodge & Outfitters is preparing to host the presentations via live stream on their YouTube channel. Combined, these wilderness experts have several decades of experience and stories to share. More information will be posted as available at http://www.bwcaexpo.com/.

 

Find information about more Cook County Minn. events at visitcookcounty.com/events 

 

 

About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitorsFacebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com.

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Press Release: In a time of crisis, Businesses and Community Rally Together in Cook County, MN

Press Release: In a time of crisis, Businesses and Community Rally Together in Cook County, MN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In Cook County, Minnesota, Businesses and Community Rally Together Amidst Crisis

Despite COVID-19 shutdowns and a devastating fire, local business owners and residents throughout Cook County look to each other for inspiration, creativity and strength.

April 17, 2020 – Cook County, Minn. In the wake of a fire that devastated three prominent businesses in Grand Marais, the communities in Cook County are coming together, staying positive and finding creative ways to keep the area’s tourism industry engaged during the state-mandated COVID-19 shutdown.      

“We are staying strong,” said Linda Jurek, Visit Cook County Executive Director. “Our communities are mourning the loss of the Crooked Spoon Cafe, Picnic & Pine, and White Pine North, but we will weather this storm together. Above all, we’re grateful that nobody was hurt, that our volunteer firefighters were able to contain the fire, and that we have the fortitude to rebuild.”

While the ashes were still smoldering, two local business leaders started a GoFundMe account to support the businesses who lost their livelihood in the fire. In the first 24 hours, over $25,000 had been raised. Donations are still being welcomed and appreciated. For more information, visit the GoFundMe page.

Known as a destination for artists, creatives and adventurers alike, spring is a welcoming and joyful time in Minnesota’s arrowhead region. This year, however, the awakening of spring is quieter, acknowledged by residents as they pull together to support their local business community in the wake of Monday’s fire in Grand Marais and the absence of the area’s usual booming population of visitors from near and far.

The city’s firefighters are all volunteers. It took volunteers from four different fire departments to combat the fire. Many left their day jobs to step in and fight the fire, only to return later that evening when gusting winds caused the fire to reignite. They returned to work the next morning, too, because that’s the mentality in Cook County. You do your part for your community and your family, and then you do some more. 

Without springtime visitors, the communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, Grand Portage and the Gunflint Trail are oddly quiet, but certainly not dormant. Residents are practicing social distancing while remaining friendly and lending a helping hand to those in need. Many are volunteering their newfound extra time and doing what they can to stay engaged and support their community. 

“It’s been amazing to see everyone come together this spring,” continued Jurek. “In a small and tight-knit region like Cook County, survival depends on sticking together. We’re adjusting the way we do things to adapt to this new normal, and we anxiously await the day we can welcome visitors once again.”

In the meantime, Cook County is staying innovative to keep residents safe, sustain local businesses and engage visitors from afar.

North House Folk School – Crafting in Place

During this time of uncertainty, craft can be calming, inspiring, and sustaining. North House Folk School is offering online craft experiences and connections from afar. From wool mending to sailing, woodworking to starting seedlings, these fun and informative craft video tutorials were designed to inspire creativity and self-expression while we shelter in place. Sign up for the North House Folk School e-Newsletter and follow on Instagram and Facebook for one-of-a-kind tutorials from artisans

Grocery Pickup and Delivery

Nobody could have foreseen that a regular trip to the grocery store could get so complicated, but that hasn’t slowed down the residents of Cook County. Grocery stores throughout the region quickly adapted to accept phone orders and offer curbside pickup and delivery options, and volunteers have stepped up to help meet increasing demand. The primary goal? Maintaining food access for all in Cook County. Whole Foods Coop, Johnson’s Foods and Gene’s Foods in Grand Marais are leveraging volunteers for deliveries, and many other markets throughout the region have found success with curbside pickup. David Jansen, a volunteer, has developed a website that shares photos of grocery store shelves to help residents shop virtually.

Wunderbar Eatery and Glampground – Free Lunch for All

Chef Chris Callender and his team at Wunderbar Eatery and Glampground are offering free lunch takeaway for any who need it during this time. Local grocery stores and restaurants have donated many ingredients to help support these delicious and comforting meals available to Cook County residents who may be out of work or school during the shutdown.

Visit Cook County – Stay Connected with Cook County

During this time of social distancing and isolation, Visit Cook County had turned to technology to help keep connections to Cook County alive. With virtual meetings replacing face-to-face interactions, custom virtual backgrounds for Zoom, Skype, or other platforms bring a smile to everyone’s face. Background images for each Cook County community are available for free download on the Visit Cook County blog

Visit Cook County has also asked visitors to join together and share stories of their favorite times in Cook County on social media. Stay connected through the power of story; please share on InstagramTwitter or Facebook by using #donorthmn 

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About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitorsFacebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com.

MEDIA CONTACT

Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County

Phone#: 218.387.2788 ext. 101

Email: linda@visitcookcounty.com

or

Kjersti Vick | Visit Cook County

Phone#: 218.387.2788 ext. 104

Email: kjersti@visitcookcounty.com

 

Picnic & Pine, Crooked Spoon and White Pine North all destroyed in the 4/13/20 fire in Grand Marais, MN

Picnic & Pine, Crooked Spoon and White Pine North all destroyed in the 4/13/20 fire in Grand Marais, MN

Press Release: North House Folk School deepens engagement while practicing social distancing through “Crafting in Place” live video instruction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

North House Folk School deepens engagement while practicing social distancing through “Crafting in Place” live video instruction

Grand Marais, Minn.(April 2, 2020) –  While many are struggling to connect with their audiences, North House Folk School is building community by offering complimentary demonstrations and tutorials with instructors online through their “Crafting in Place” video series.  

While the campus is temporarily closed and courses cancelled until May 17th due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff and instructors sought to find a way to connect with their students and supporters to keep the community campus feel alive and thriving during these challenging and isolating times. 

“Building a sense of community is the foundation of our organization” says Greg Wright, Executive Director of North House Folk School. “While we are unable to physically gather, relish the joy of working with our hands and both bake and break bread together at this time, we are able to continue to learn from each other and celebrate the power of community and craft in these challenging times.” 

The “Crafting in Place” series began a few weeks ago and is continuing to evolve as instructors step up to offer skills share with the North House audience. 

Examples of recent and upcoming sessions:

New video schedule announced weekly on Fridays via their free e-newsletter. You can also join the conversation by posting about what you are working on by using #stillcrafting on Instagram. Craft Kits are available for purchase through their online store and enrollment for upcoming classes is still open. 

About North House Folk School

North House Folk School is an educational non-profit whose mission is to enrich lives and build community by teaching traditional northern crafts in a student-centered learning environment that inspires the hands, the heart and the mind. Located on the harbor in Grand Marais, Minnesota, North House Folk School is rooted in the traditions of northern culture, materials, and stories. Over 400 courses are offered each year, along with seven special events and thematic weekends. Hands-on public demonstrations and sails on the schooner The Hjordis are offered seasonally. See www.northhourse.org for more information.

About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com

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MEDIA CONTACT

Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County

Phone#: 218.387.2788 ext. 101

Email: linda@visitcookcounty.com

 

Joe Beres | North House Folk School

Phone #: 218.387.9762

Email: jberes@northhouse.org

 

Still Crafting - North House Folk School

Still Crafting – North House Folk School

Kjersti Vick kjersti@visitcookcounty.com

PSA Firework Safety in Cook County MN

Tofte 4th of July Fireworks

PSA Firework Safety in Cook County MN

FROM LINDA JUREK AT VISIT COOK COUNTY

With all the news of the 20 year anniversary of the blow down, it seems appropriate to give a little reminder that downed timber and devastation from the blow down helped kindle another disaster; the Ham Lake Fire. While the natural circumstances are not the same this summer, we need to be reminded of safety precautions and the permitting requirements to use fireworks. Summer brings visitors and the July 4th Holiday brings fireworks.

Stay Safe! Some of the more common safety tips include:

  • Never re-light a ‘dud’
  • Never let children handle fireworks
  • Keep your pets inside
  • Always be attentive and avoid alcohol consumption
  • Know what is legal and what is not.

A short list of Minnesota fireworks that REQUIRE A PERMIT ARE:

  • Bottle Rockets
  • Sky Rockets
  • Roman Candles
  • Firecrackers
  • Sparklers
  • Smoke and Punk
  • Fountains
  • Missiles
  • Novelties
  • Crackle and Strobe
  • Parachutes
  • Wheels and Spinners
  • Sky Flyers
  • Display Shells
  • Aerial Items (cakes)

And of course, be respectful, especially if visiting the Gunflint Trail where folks and wildlife seek peace and quiet.