Hospitality workers get a free cup of coffee courtesy of Visit Cook County September 12-17, 2021

For immediate release

Hospitality workers get a free cup of coffee courtesy of Visit Cook County September 12-17, 2021

Grand Marais, MN – September 7, 2021 – As the busy season begins to wind down after another record-breaking year, Visit Cook County wants to champion those who continue to be the “heart of hospitality” in the community by offering a cup of coffee for hospitality industry workers September 12-17, 2021.

“Celebrating the hard work of those in the hospitality industry is important,” said Linda Jurek, Executive Director of Visit Cook County. “It has been a challenging year with increased demand for outdoor destinations and evolving COVID restrictions. The employees and owners who have worked so hard to provide a great visitor experience really deserve to be recognized.”  

Outside of government, education and healthcare, the main industry in Cook County is tourism. There are over 1,000 employees in the hospitality industry in Cook County, according to an Explore Minnesota report, which is about half of the working population in Cook County. 

Who is eligible? Front and back of house staff that work in hospitality based industries like dining, retail, lodging and activities. A shortlist includes servers, bartenders, housekeepers, receptionists, cooks, clerks, guides and so much more. 

Where? Java Moose in Grand Marais (hours: 7am – 3pm Friday – Wednesday, closed Thursday) and Fika Coffee in Lutsen (hours: 7am – 12pm Thursday – Monday, Closed Tuesday & Wednesday) are prepared to offer complimentary coffee beverages to hospitality workers. One coffee/drink per location.

This event is part of a greater program initiated by Visit Cook County titled the “Heart of Hospitality” to celebrate the workers in the hospitality industry. Launched in 2019, local business owners and managers are asked to nominate employees who they believe exemplify hospitality excellence. An award is given to an employee from each tourism district. Nominations for this year’s “Heart of Hospitality” awards are open. Deadline for 2021 nominations is October 4, 2021.  To learn more about the award or to nominate an individual, please click here. Winners are announced in late October.  

 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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Kjersti Vick

Marketing & Public Relations Director, Visit Cook County

kjersti@visitcookcounty.com

(218) 387-2788 ext. 103

PR: Cook County Accommodations Have Rare Openings Heading into the Fall Travel Season

Gunflint Trail Resort on a lake

Cook County Accommodations Have Rare Openings Heading into the Fall Travel Season

Gunflint Trail Resort on a lake

Gunflint Trail Resort on a lake

Cook County, Minn. – Sept. 2, 2021 – Now is the time to plan a fall getaway. Cooler temps mean leaf change is on the horizon, the U.S. Forest Service just announced the reopening of portions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and local resorts have rare openings during peak season for reservations.

Amid concern regarding the wildfires in northeastern Minnesota, lodging properties in Cook County have seen a recent spike in cancellations despite no imminent threats. While the Greenwood Lake, Whelp and John Ek fires all remain active, they are between 5-40 miles away from the homes and businesses in Cook County. Due to drought conditions, the U.S. Forest Service had closed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) until Sept. 3, however on Sept. 2, the closure order was lifted beginning Sept. 4 for the majority of the BWCAW with the exception of a few notable areas.

Local resorts, lodges and other accommodations are ready to welcome those who have been waiting for a reservation opening.

“Suddenly we have availability – something that’s been tough for people to find this summer. We’re open and ready to host visitors during what most consider the best part of the season,” said John Fredrikson, owner of Gunflint Lodge and Outfitters on the Gunflint Trail. “Now is the best time to visit with cooler temps, fresh air and fall colors.”

Although the drought will likely change the timing and vibrancy of Cook County’s fall color experience, fall colors will occur. Visit Cook County will be posting fall color updates on our social media outlets. Check out our fall color blog from last year for a breakdown of the fall color progression.

“Our local webcam library is another great way to track the fall color progress” said Kjersti Vick, Marketing & Public Relations Director. “These cameras are placed in several locations around the county providing a true snapshot of what is occurring right now in each community.”

To view webcams, including a live video feed of the Grand Marais harbor, visit https://www.visitcookcounty.com/resources/webcams/.

For coordinating interview with local lodging owners, as well as photos of Cook County, please contact Visit Cook County Director of Marketing & Public Relations Kjersti Vick at kjersti@visitcookcounty.com

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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Stories: 

Bring Me The News: https://bringmethenews.com/minnesota-lifestyle/arrowhead-resorts-see-spike-in-cancellations-despite-no-imminent-wildfire-threat

2018 Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race Results

Gunflint Mail Run

2018 Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race Results 

Alaskan and Minnesotan lead 12-dog race, two women lead 8-dog race

 

Cook County, Minn. –  Jan. 7, 2018 – The Gunflint Mail Run kicked off the start of the dog-sled racing season in Cook County yesterday. The original event, which is a 12-dog, 100-mile race included two runs, approximately 50 miles each, over a two-day stretch, and an eight-dog shorter and faster race (65 miles).

 

The race started and finished at Trail Center Lodge, 7611 Gunflint Trail, on Poplar Lake, Grand Marais, Minn.  (Trail Center Lodge is approximately 30 miles up the Gunflint Trail).  See www.GunflintMailRun.com and https://www.facebook.com/GunflintMailRun/ for more details.

 

Here are the winners of the 2018 Gunflint Mail Run:

12-dog teams:

2018 Gunflint Mail Run Dog Sled Race 12-dog team winners

2018 Gunflint Mail Run Dog Sled Race 12-dog team winners!
Top five 12-dog race finishers from right to left are:
1st place Ryan Redington, Skagway, Alaska
2nd place Nathan Schroeder, Coon Rapids, Minn.
3rd place Matt Schmidt, Grand Marais, Minn.
4th place Denis Tremblay, Saint Michael des Saints, Quebec
5th place Ward Wallin, Two Harbors, Minn.

 

 

 

8-dog teams:

2018 Gunflint Mail Run Dog Sled Race 8-dog team winners

2018 Gunflint Mail Run Dog Sled Race 8-dog team winners.
Top five 8-dog race finishers from left to right are:
1st place Joanna Oberg, Ignace, Ontario
2nd place Martha Schouweiler, Irma, Wis.
3rd place Frank Moe, Hovland, Minn.
4th place Michael Bestgen, St. Cloud, Minn.
5th place Rita Whehseler, Tofte, Minn.

 

Video from the 2018 Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race:

2018 Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race. VIDEO “Ryan Redington and his sled dog team enjoying the race.”

Video courtesy of Andy DeLisi at Big Bear Lodge.

2018 Gunflint Mail Run Race Start – VIDEO “12-dog race winner Ryan Redington’s (#7) starts the race Saturday morning. Ryan is racing in the Alaskan Iditarod this year.”

Video courtesy of Jack Stone of Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply in Grand Marais.

 

Next up: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Jan. 29

 

Dog sled racing fans can also look forward to the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on Sunday, Jan. 28 – Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2018.  This is the longest dog sled race in the lower 48 states and is a qualifier for the famed “Iditarod” in Alaska.  Over 60 world-class mushers are expected at this year’s race, vying for cash prizes totaling $20,000.  The races will traverse the Sawtooth Mountains in Cook County, going as far north as Gunflint Lake near the Canadian border. For a spectators’ map, visit https://beargrease.com/driving-directions/

 

The Beargrease marathon will start just outside of Two Harbors, then head to Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail and back, while the shorter, mid-distance race goes one-way on the route. The marathon typically takes three days to complete. Close to 500 volunteers from around the country come together each winter to support the event. For more race details, visit beargrease.com.

 

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 #visitcc, Twitter @CookCoVisitorsFacebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com.

 

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Katie Krantz Visit Cook County MN ph# (218) 387-2788 email: katie@visitcookcounty.com

KQDS Fox 21 Duluth’s Brittney Merlot LIVE on Christmas Morning

2 Hour COLD Morning Show LIVE on Christmas morning with KQDS Fox21’s meteorologist Brittney Merlot. In addition to LIVE on air broadcasts with Lutsen Mountains staff and guests, Visit Cook County’s Kjersti Vick was on site to talk about how to stay warm this winter and what else is coming up.

 

Snowshoeing with Kjersti Vick of Visit Cook County MN.

Talking Hygge with Kjersti Vick of Visit Cook County MN.

LIVE with meteorologist Brittney Merlot at Lutsen Mountains on Christmas morning.

New Years Eve planning and how to dress for cold weather with Lutsen Mountains’ Jim Vick.

Behind the scene with the groomers at Lutsen Mountains. 

Heading out with Ski Patrol to learn about how they keep the mountain safe.

Christmas Gift Exchange with KQDS’s Brett Scott and Brittney Merlot

KQDS Fox 21 Duluth by Brittney Merlot

Visit KBJR Duluth Website

End of the Gunflint home to some of the darkest night skies on Earth

Aired on KBJR 6 on August 17, 2017

End of the Gunflint home to some of the darkest night skies on earth

GRAND MARAIS, MN –

A special spot up Northern Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail has night skies that rank among the darkest on Earth.

The End of Trail Campground, at the end of the Gunflint in Cook County, has skies that rank a one on the Bortle Scale.

“It’s as dark as the darkest places in the world,” said photographer Bryan Hansel.

The Bortle scale was created by an astronomer, John Bortle, in 2001. It ranks the darkness of locations on a scale of one to nine; nine being inner city skies, one being the darkest.

“So, if you turned off the lights everywhere in the world, they would have a Bortle one,” said Hansel, “In the lower 48 [states] there’s very few of them and… this is the only one in Minnesota.”

The dark skies draw in students to Hansel’s night sky photography workshop. He’s been teaching them in Cook County for five or six years, and says they fill up fast, often with a waiting list.

“The darker it [the sky] is in photography, the more stars you get in your picture,” said Hansel, “So, if you have less light pollution you simply see a lot more stars, airglow, different sky phenomenons.”

Hansel advertises the dark location on his workshop website. He says people from all over the world come to Minnesota to take the class.

“A guy from Tanzania came in once. I’ve had people fly in from India, so we get people from around the world coming up here,” Hansel said.

Hansel attributes the popularity of night sky photography to advances in equipment that allow less expensive cameras to take better pictures at night.

“The equipment is so good now, that someone with an average level camera can come away with great night sky pictures. Where as ten years ago, that wasn’t the case, so just because the equipment is capable of doing that now, people want to get out and shoot the night sky.”
There’s no official entity that ranks locations according to the Bortle scale. Rather each number on the scale corresponds with a set of guidelines which define that ranking based on what you can see in the sky at that level of darkness. The end of the Gunflint meets all the requirements for a Bortle one.

You can find the Bortle Scale rankings here.

KBJR Duluth by Jennifer Austin