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

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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

Talking Tourism: Fisherman’s Picnic by Dan Helmerson

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: July 2019

Talking Tourism: Fisherman’s Picnic by Dan Helmerson

Our annual Fisherman’s Picnic is just around the corner. Can you believe that it has been going on for 90 years? That makes it the same vintage as Naniboujou Lodge and the Stickney Inn & Store (now Cross River Heritage Center) both built in 1929.  It started the summer of that year as an informal gathering of North Shore fisherman and their families and remained a relatively local event for the next two decades.  It really started to take off after the end of WWII when folks were able to buy new cars again and didn’t have to contend with gas rationing.  The Picnic as we know it today can be mainly attributed to the Grand Marais Lions Club who has shouldered the responsibility of sponsoring, organizing and presenting this event since 1952.

Over the decades things have inevitably changed, old attractions dropped and new activities added.  Many of us “young old-timers” fondly remember:

  • Carnival Rides – Octopus, Ferris Wheel, Merry-Go-Round, and of course the carny game booths – Pitch-A-Penny, Shooting Gallery, Milk Bottle Toss, Mechanical Claw.
  • Miss North Shore Pageant – This highly anticipated event encouraged local businesses to sponsor high school girls as candidates and attendants.
  • Boat Parade – Decorated boats and cabin cruisers would circle the harbor carrying the Miss North Shore queen candidates.
  • Gymkhana – Local hot-rodders got a chance to show their stuff navigating around the course of traffic cones set up in the high school parking lot.
  • Greased Pole Contest – Fellows would attempt to climb out on a timber pole striped of bark and greased up until it was gleaming.  The pole was extended out over the harbor and the object was to retrieve the flag from the end of the pole without taking a spill into the water.
  • Trout Pond – Brook Trout were stocked in the Bear Tree Park fountain for youngsters to catch.
  • Fresh Raspberry Sundaes – A tradition at Leng’s Fountain.
  • Grand Prize / New Car – On all the game shows a new car was always the ultimate prize, and so it was for years at the Picnic.  Usually a compact economy sized car, it was displayed up on cement blocks on the corner of the Standard Gas Station (now Harbor Park).

The Picnic is a time for making memories.  I’m sure everyone has their own particular recollection of one special event.  I am now old enough to have over 50 years of Picnics to reflect back upon.  As kids we eagerly anticipated that first weekend in August.  We had saved up our allowances and summer job money to blow it all in a couple of days.  If our father was a Lion’s Club member we usually helped sell raffle tickets door to door.  As I got older I was able to participate in events such as playing in the marching band that lead the parade on Sunday and help decorate floats for various clubs.  It was an exciting time when everyone “came to town” and you would see your schoolmates, relatives and friends all over the village.  After graduating from CCHS and striking out on my own, if I planned a trip back home in the summer you could be sure it would be over the Picnic weekend.  As I got older I appreciated seeing the folks I had grown up with and reconnect with classmates at Class Reunions and far flung relatives at Family Reunions.

The Fisherman’s Picnic is also a time for making new friends and welcoming the visitors to our town.  I find that most of the tourists enjoy talking with the locals and learning more about our community “from the horse’s mouth” as it were.  If you find yourself standing in a line for a fish burger, ask the person behind you “Where are you from?”  If they aren’t a tourist they could very well be someone you went to school with but didn’t recognize!

Dan Helmerson, Visit Cook County Info Center & Local Historian

Dan Helmerson, Visit Cook County Info Center & Local Historian

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.

Talking Tourism: The Lutsen 99er… and the Importance of Setting Goals by Molly O’Neill

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: June 2019

Talking Tourism: The Lutsen 99er… and the Importance of Setting Goals by Molly O’Neill, Administrative Manager and casual endurance mountain biker

At the end of this month, I’m going to ride my mountain bike a hundred miles through the forest with over five hundred other crazy people. I mean “athletes”. If all goes well, I expect to be on my bike for at least ten hours to complete the course. Now it sounds crazy, right? How this particular challenge became one I need to check off my bucket-list is a little unclear even to me. Simply announcing the intention does nothing to guarantee that I’ll accomplish the goal. But this year, 2019, I’ve committed to trying. As the Lutsen 99er began to gain popularity several years ago, so did mountain biking in the community, and I thought that it was a fun thing to add to the active outdoor lifestyle I sought. Group rides became a regular activity, and I busted out my dad’s old Trek rigid frame from my parents’ shed. I remember him bringing it home when I was eight years old, a dinosaur by today’s standards but top-of-the-line in its day. Nearly two decades later I promised myself, and the raised eyebrows around me, that if I could ride the 39er that year on that bike, that I’d start saving to upgrade and maybe someday I’d ride the whole 99er.

Setting goals to tackle major challenges comes with a full set of lessons and emotions from humility and humor to confidence and pride, and are all best handled with plenty of grace. I had a mountain bike as a kid, and just like other kids, I fell off from time to time. Let me tell you, falling off your bike as an adult is every bit as traumatic and far more startling than it was at ten years old. Mastering how to clip and unclip my new shoes from the pedals was the first of many techniques learned by repeated failures on the trails and backroads. Learning how to train is something I feel I’ve just scratched the surface of. How do you form a training plan that will get you to the finish line? Do you set your goals by distance? By speed or time? How often should you ride or cross train? Do you need rest days? How do you measure your progress?  How do you equip yourself to accomplish these goals? What do you do about your failures?

My approach is part feeling my way through the dark, part gleaning knowledge from others with more experience, and part winging it. There is validation in setting a mark for yourself and improving whether you’ve set appropriate goals and met them or not. Some days you miss the mark and it can be discouraging, but more often I find that if I quiet the voice in my head that says “you’re too tired” or “it might rain” or “you can do it tomorrow” and put on my gear and head out the door it gets better from there. Even if I didn’t complete a planned route in the goal time I aimed for or I cut my plan short, I usually saw improvement the next time I went out. Breathing was easier or my quads didn’t burn quite so badly the next ride, even if I’d fallen short on some of my ambitions last ride. Some goals are formed on the fly, in tiny increments like pushing hard until the next road sign or up one more little hill or just two more minutes of effort. It’s the culmination of the little goals and small accomplishments that build your training base into a greater schedule of goals that prepares you to carry yourself 100 miles on two wheels.

Long-distance rides and miles per hour aren’t the only benchmarks you need to set for yourself. Though the race course has aid stations with mechanical, nutritional, and medical support, your training rides do not. Becoming capable of taking care of your body and your equipment on your own are critical aspects of training. Do I know how to repair a flat tire or to recognize when I need a snack before I’m too fatigued? With long routes through sections without cell phone coverage, it’s still possible to get stranded on your own for quite some time without rescue. On some routes, I’ve ridden with my running shoes in my pack because I’m a better jogger than I am a bike mechanic… Improving my bike repair know-how and learning how to efficiently fuel and replenish my body while riding have been essential goals to keep setting.

As I write this article, the race is still in front of me. I’m approaching the critical point in which I have to be brutally honest with myself in evaluating my progress on weekly mileage and pace goals. If I can’t ride at a minimum pace on race day, I’ll miss the cutoff times and get pulled out at an aid station. All the efforts with none of the gratification of finishing, of checking off that box at the finish line would be pretty disheartening. Using a sports tracking app on my phone, I’ve recorded all my training rides to measure my pace and ride statistics. I’m in good position for the first 30-40 miles. But will I be able to sustain that for another 60 miles without debilitating muscle cramps or risking injury from being underprepared? Will I have the discipline to continue to push my body past the limits I thought it was subject to? Will I have the confidence to see it through? If the public commitment of a newspaper article for all my family, friends and community to see isn’t enough to keep pushing me through the mud and exhaustion, I’m not sure what is. I hope to see some familiar faces out there on the trail testing their own goals with me on race day.

For event information and a spectator map of the four courses, check out visitcookcounty.com/events/lutsen99er or lutsen99er.com

 

Molly O'Neill - Administrative Manager of Visit Cook County MN

Molly O’Neill – Administrative Manager of Visit Cook County MN

Talking Tourism: Let’s do the Zipper Merge by Linda Jurek

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: May 2019

Talking Tourism: Let’s Do the Zipper Merge by Linda Jurek, Executive Director

What’s that you ask? No it’s not a lesson from my Home Economic class of 1973 but rather a traffic term used during construction. With our Highway 61 construction project of 2020 and 2021, we need to understand the lingo. When you see a sign noting a lane closure and the instruction to merge, do you merge right away? And then do you watch with irritation as other drivers simply continue until the last merge point? The driver who continues and merges at the last possible point is actually doing what is recommended. However, it only works if all drivers understand and are courteous and thoughtful.

Using the zipper merge will not be as critical for our project; however, it will help you navigate the North Shore during lane reductions. More importantly, the courteous and thoughtful approach is what I’m keen on.

I just returned from attending a meeting of the Highway 61 Steering Committee. Many groups were represented the Grand Marais Business Coalition, Grand Marais Area Tourism Association, Grand Marais city officials, Cook County officials, Cook County Chamber and GM citizens. We heard a brief update and were provided the opportunity to provide input for strategies on parking, signage and branding. I am stoked. Over 30 business owners and citizens were in attendance. Great questions were presented in a respectful manner. Mike Roth, City Administrator noted that MN DOT will be opening bids for the project June of 2019. There will also be cost sharing conversations regarding implementation and maintenance of sidewalk, trails, street lights, benches, planters, etc.

Remember the Burma Shave signs? They were witty and fun and more importantly, impressed the reader with a lasting message. I think we can all agree that the MN DOT signage which is a requirement for most road construction, serves its purpose, but we can add an element of enjoyment to construction. The Highway 61 Steering Committee will be restarting our engines to provide input on parking, branding and marketing for this exciting project. As traffic is detoured into Grand Marais on Cty. Rd. 7, we visualize signage that sends a positive message and helps direct our visitors and locals alike.

And of course, stay educated and positive. We can discuss this construction project in an upbeat way. We don’t need to apologize. Rather, we should build excitement for the end result. A negative attitude and a constant complaint will drive people away and a fun atmosphere will bring them back. Stay tuned on all construction details on the City of Grand Marais website. Patrick Knight, Communications Manager for Grand Marais, will also be creating a new site call 61@grandmarais.city

Linda Jurek July 2016

 

Cook County News Herald by Linda Jurek

PR: Superior National Golf Course To Open Mountain 9 on April 26 Two Weekends to Golf and Alpine Ski on the Same Weekend

Press Release: For immediate release

Superior National Golf Course To Open Mountain 9 on April 26 – Two Weekends to Golf and Alpine Ski on the Same Weekend

April 22, 2019 Lutsen, Minn. – Superior National at Lutsen will open the Mountain 9 on Friday, April 26. The Mountain 9 is located adjacent to the Sawtooth Mountains and the scenic slopes of Lutsen Mountains Ski Area, and will be open daily for the season. Early season golf overlaps late season skiing at Lutsen Mountains offering two weekends to golf and ski.

According to Heath Ekstrom, course manager and PGA pro, “We are thrilled to be opening our Mountain 9 in April, especially after the amount of snow we received this winter. This also gives us the unique opportunity to golf and alpine ski on the same weekend! We are continuing to evaluate the conditions on the new Premier 18 (the River and Canyon nines) and will be announcing an opening date for those in the near future.”

Early season rates are available through June 16. Tee times can be made online or by calling 218-663-7195.

Please note that the opening day is subject to change according to weather and condition changes. Call ahead to confirm. https://superiornational.com/

 

# # #

 

Melissa Dressely

Owner of Do North Marketing for Superior National Golf Course

Publisher of the North Shore Explorer guide and blog

Melissa@DoNorthMarketing.com

218-370-2050

May 5 & 6, 2018 | SKI @lutsenmountains, GOLF at @superiornational AND explore WATERFALLS! The 1st annual Kite Festival will also be occurring over the Grand Marais harbor with kids kite making and big kite flying. It's going to be one fun spring weekend up north!

2019 | SKI @lutsenmountains, GOLF at @superiornational AND explore WATERFALLS! (photo credit: Visit Cook County MN)

Talking Tourism: Superior Trail Races – How an event extends beyond the weekend

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: April 2019

Talking Tourism: Superior Trail Races – How an event extends beyond the weekend | by John Storkamp,  Race Director for the Superior Trail Races

In 1991 an ambitious group of volunteers created the Superior 100 Mile Trail Race on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota.  The concept was pretty simple, yet would prove to be forward thinking and well ahead of its time.  The idea was this; runners would run continuously, day and night, through Lake and Cook counties, through several Minnesota state parks, on the newly minted Superior Hiking Trail and would cover 100 miles in the process.  As a result, the North Shore lays claim to the 10th oldest 100 mile trail running race in the country.  Today, there are nearly 200 trail races of this distance in the United States and their rise in popularity over the last decade can only be described as meteoric. Look at what the marketing-types now call “adventure tourism” and the boon that it can bring to the economies of small outstate communities and the creation of the Superior 100 Mile Trail Race by those volunteers all the way back in 1991 looks downright prophetic.

The first year that the race was held, there were 27 finishers, today we have more people volunteering at a single aid station (aid station; think water-stop like at a half or full road marathon but with a lot of good grub for famished runners and perhaps an impromptu dance party breaking out from time to time). But for all of the growth and changes over the years, the motivation of our runners remains the same.  People want to get out and challenge themselves in one of the most breathtakingly rugged and beautiful places in the country; The North Shore, Lake Superior, Cook and Lake Counties, Minnesota state parks and the Superior Hiking Trail.

Today, the Superior Trail Races consist of both Spring and Fall editions with Caribou Highlands Lodge on Lutsen Mountain acting as race headquarters – all races finishing in the shadow of the unmistakable Moose Mountain.  The Spring edition of the race is always held the weekend before Memorial weekend and features 12.5KM, 25KM and 50KM races while the Fall edition is always held the weekend after Labor Day weekend and features a 26.2 Mile, 50 Mile and 100 Mile race.  The field limit for both the Spring and Fall editions of the race is just shy of 1000 participants and due to the popularity of each event, not everyone that wants to race can get in, so registration is held via a lottery.  It takes about 200 volunteers to pull off the Spring race and nearly 400 to pull off the Fall race and volunteering in many ways has become an equal draw on event weekend.  While we do have many great volunteers from the North Shore, the lion’s share come from Duluth, the Twin Cities and many other Minnesota communities – some folks even traveling from out of state just to volunteer!  In a given season we will host runners from nearly all 50 states and multiple countries.  Runners more often than not travel with friends and family and plan a vacation around their race.  Add up the runners, the volunteers and the spectators and we get to introduce, or share again, our beloved North Shore with a lot of really great, like-minded people.

Trail and ultra runners are pretty low key individuals and often times like to fly under the radar, likely a function of how tough the sport is – they put themselves out there with their actions and often times not their words.  For many years the races themselves flew under the radar as well but with increased interest and popularity things have evolved over the past decade.  Hotels and motels reach capacity, restaurants and cafe’s along Highway 61 bustle… today, people know when the races are happening.  Given the increased size, scope and overall footprint of the races we rely on more volunteers, more sponsors and a core group of local partners – significant among them Visit Cook County.  These relationships and the contributions of our partners help us keep the Superior Trail Races operationally and reputationally strong not only in Minnesota but nationally and internationally.

While it may sound ambitious, through the grace of our runners, volunteers and partners we have been quietly achieving our mission for quite some time: To provide fun, challenging and life-changing experiences for our runners, their friends, families and our volunteers alike. To deliver maximum benefit to the area and communities therein. To drive interest, members, volunteers, donations and funding to the Superior Hiking Trail – the conduit that runs throughout and ultimately makes all of these good works possible.

/// John Storkamp is the Race Director for the Superior Trail Races.  He and his wife Cheri spearhead the events which are only made possible through the efforts of an extremely committed group of their friends, referred to in the above story as “volunteers”. John took his first backpacking trip on the Superior Hiking Trail in 1996 and has been on the trail ever since. John and Cheri split their time between Hastings, MN and Silver Bay, MN.

Superior Trail Races

Feb. 26 declared Norman W. Deschampe Day by Governor Tim Walz

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 26 declared Norman W. Deschampe Day by Governor Tim Walz

GRAND PORTAGE, MINN. (March 4, 2019) – Governor Tim Walz declared Feb. 26, 2019, Norman W. Deschampe Day in recognition of Deschampe’s dedication to improving the lives of the people of Grand Portage through programs supporting education, health and economic development.

The proclamation also recognizes Deschampe’s contribution toward improving the understanding of traditions and customs of the Kitchi-Onigaming/Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the stewardship of natural resources essential to the culture of Chippewa. Walz actually met Deschampe in December 2018 when the governor-elect visited Grand Portage.

Feb. 26 would have been Deschampe’s 66th birthday. Tribal leader Norman Deschampe died on Feb. 9 of this year. From 1978-2016, he was a former president and vice president of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, the tribal government that represents six Ojibwe bands in northern Minnesota.

Deschampe was born and raised on the Grand Portage Reservation. Norman loved his home and was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and leader.

After attending Bemidji State University and the University of Minnesota-Duluth, he returned to Grand Portage.

He was elected to the Grand Portage Tribal Council at the age of 23 and continued in Tribal Leadership for the rest of his life serving as Tribal Chairman for a majority of his career. In total, he served on the Grand Portage Tribal Council for 45 years, 27 years of those years as Tribal Chairman. He served on numerous boards, including many years on the board of the Mash-ka-wisen Treatment Center.

According to Linda Jurek, executive director of Visit Cook County, in addition to being a tremendous community leader, Deschampe had an immense knowledge of the outdoors and was extremely generous in passing along his knowledge. He loved to take his grandchildren fishing. He took great pride in teaching his children and grandchildren how to hunt, fish, trap, and anything else that could be done outdoors.

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.

Linda Jurek | Visit Cook County | 218.387.2788 | linda@visitcookcounty.com

Talking Tourism: What do you want to be?

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: March 2019

Talking Tourism: What do you want to be? | by Anna Klobuchar

As an adult with life experience, what do you wish you had been told about careers?  Or, as a teenager contemplating a future vocation, what information would be beneficial? Visit Cook County will attend the College and Opportunities Fair on April 3 at ISD #166 to let the students know how their various interests and potential post-secondary plans can directly align with the industry of tourism, entrepreneurial endeavors in our county or employment in our organization.  We thrive on new ideas, positivity, fresh perspectives, and that “fire in the belly” drive that young people can bring to us.

Yes, tourism drives 85% of Cook County’s economy.  But I am writing to you from the perspective that not only are lodges, restaurants and retail businesses important employers in our area, Visit Cook County is a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) and is also an employer to a team of 11 people who blend their various strengths, educational backgrounds, and talents to attract and provide assistance to visitors.  It works because we work. Hard. And, the team also drops their paychecks into our local economy every two weeks.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2016, those employed in the hospitality and leisure industry contributed to a workforce of 15 million jobs nationwide.

Growing up on the Iron Range, I had a hardworking friend who at the age of 12, much like Hermey the misfit elf in Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, stated that she wanted to become at dentist. And she did! The rest of us don’t make such emphatic career choices so early. In today’s lightning speed, ever changing world, perhaps the message to the dewy-eyed 16 to 18 year olds is that it’s okay if they don’t know at such a young age what they want to the do for the rest of their lives.

At Visit Cook County, we have a Psychology major as our Finance Administrator, working with complex budgets and databases.  You’re reading an article from a Journalism/Political Science major who is now the Information Center Coordinator. Our Executive Director started as a Theater major, detoured into motherhood, and has a passion for people and organizational management.  She has worked in medical transcription, insurance coding, owned multiple businesses, was a kick box instructor, and later became Director of Retention and worked on major events with the Duluth Chamber and Greater Duluth Downtown Council.  Lastly, our Events Resource Coordinator discovered a huge university didn’t work for her, returned home for a breather, and is now carrying a full load of on-line classes pursuing her Accounting and Organizational Management degrees. Our Marketing Manager and our Communications Manager are the two who are currently practicing their majors in their current occupations. They both spent many years in other fields of art and hospitality.

Our advice to the young, upcoming work force? Study what interests you, and the important skills to learn are to problem solve and communicate your ideas. Explore the jobs available through a DMO such as ours.  What occupations fall under that umbrella?  The list is endless!  Our area is rich in artistry and creativity. We work with photographers, graphic designers, videographers, and layout artists.  We rely on and employ those who are website builders, coders, techie data chasers, analytical programmers,receptionists, writers, file managers, historians, researchers, sales managers, customer service representatives, skilled communicators, social network strategists, and foreign language translators.  And that truly is the tip of the iceberg.

The ethereal “find your bliss”, or “do what you love” counsel may apply to few right away, but sometimes it takes a while to make that happen or get discovered.  In today’s economy, useful guidance is more along the lines of “figure out what you are good at and what you find satisfying and work in that field.”  Then, roll up your sleeves and have at it. Discipline, motivation, compromise, humility, flexibility and honesty will carry you through your chosen profession or vocation.  Career satisfaction often comes from the people you work with and who surround you, and not particularly what you do.  And lastly, don’t fear change.   The best life lessons are the ones you learn by trial and error, and these job fairs are a great opportunity to open the students’ eyes to all the choices they have.

So, what do you want to be when you grow up?