Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Public information meeting scheduled for Gunflint cell phone tower

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 6:26pm

A public informational meeting regarding the possibility of AT&T tower replacing 
one of the county’s radio communications tower located at the Gunflint Tower 
Site, and providing cell service along the Gunflint Trail has been 
The meeting will be held Monday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the 
Gunflint Lodge Conference Center.  Attending the meeting will be 
representatives from AT&T and Cook County.

Please contact Sheriff Mark 
Falk at 387-3030 with any questions.

Still time to register to run Ham Run Half-Marathon

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 1:19pm

There is still time to register for the Gunflint Trail’s Ham Run Half-Marathon and 5k Fun Half-Marathon, which is scheduled for May 6, 2012.
Do you still have what it takes to run the Trail less traveled? If you’ve run it before then you know it isn’t an easy race and finishing times pushing 90 minutes demonstrate the amount of stamina it takes to complete it. 

New this year the Ham Run Half Marathon will host a “Health, Fitness and Green Living Expo” on Saturday, May 5 from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais in conjunction with the Ham Run registration. Exhibitors are wanted for the event.  A tax-deductible donation of $25 is requested for non-race sponsors to reserve their table.  Tables are free for race sponsors of over $500.  Contact Margo Furcht at 387-3344 or at  to reserve table space.

Proceeds from the event will be returned to Ham Run race volunteers from nonprofit groups that support fitness and recreation opportunities in Cook County.
For more information and to register for the race, see

Judge rules for U.S. Forest Service on travel management plan

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 1:17pm

A process begun in 2006 to create a travel management plan (TMP) to designate which forest roads and trails will be open to cars, trucks and off-highway vehicles in the Superior National Forest may be closer to becoming a reality—unless the three environmental groups opposed to the plan once again seek to overturn the Forest Service plan in the courts.
On April 12, 2012, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson awarded summary judgment to the U.S. Forest Service, giving it the go ahead to proceed with its travel management plan. Judge Richard Nelson rejected the claims of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), the Sierra Club and Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) that implementing the travel management plan and allowing off-highway vehicles in the Superior National Forest would degrade the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Contacted on April 16, Superior National Forest Gunflint District Ranger Dennis Neitzke said his office had heard about the ruling on April 13. He said, “We’ve already started talking about how to implement it. It takes publishing our motorized vehicle use map. We had that prepared a couple years ago, but now we need to update it.”
However, Neitzke cautioned, “There is a chance they’ll take this to appeals court.”
The groups have 60 days to appeal.

Global Youth Service Day offers opportunity to serve

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 2:26pm

On April 21, as part of Global Youth Service Day, millions of children and teens, along with their adult allies and champions in over 100 countries on six continents, will change the world, addressing critical issues including health, education, environment, hunger, poverty, disaster preparedness and response, and human rights.
Here in Cook County, youth and adults are invited to be a part of the largest and longest-running annual day of service by joining in the Cook County Clean-Up campaign. Everyone ages five and up is welcome. Participants will work in teams to pick up trash and beautify our common spaces. Four sites will be targeted for clean up, including the Cook County School grounds, the Cook County Community Center, the Municipal campgrounds, and the Grand Marais Harbor.
The event begins at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 21, and ends at 3:30 p.m. with a celebration for all participants. Gloves, trash bags and other clean-up tools will be provided. For more information, and to pre-register, please contact Sarah Stover at (218) 387-2271, ext. 615 or email

USFS names new Forest chief

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 9:47am

The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday that Brenda Halter has been named the new supervisor of the Superior National Forest.

Halter comes to the Duluth forest headquarters with 18 years of Forest Service experience, most recently leading the development of the new forest planning rule for the entire 193 million acre national forest system.

Halter replaces Jim Sanders, the longtime Superior supervisor who retired in December. Halter is married, with four children. Her husband, Al Williamson, also works for the Forest Service as the assistant national wildlife program leader.

Halter will take her post in charge of the more than 2 million acre national forest in May. Tim Dabney, who has served as acting forest supervisor since Sanders left, will return to his post as deputy forest supervisor.

Towering Pines Canopy Tour coming soon to Gunflint Lodge

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 12:54am

Exciting things are coming soon to Gunflint Lodge. Ground was broken this week on an exciting new addition to historic lodge. Soon to be up and running on back lots of the lodge property is the Towering Pines Canopy Tour. A canopy tour consists of a system of zip lines and platforms that allow visitors to soar from tree to tree to see the forest from a bird’s eye view. Canopy tours originated in Costa Rica in the 1990s.
Gunflint Lodge owner Bruce Kerfoot has kept the secret for quite awhile as he researched how a canopy tour would work on the unused, forested area of Gunflint Lodge. He believes the firm he has hired, Challenge Design Innovations, Inc. of Pineola, North Carolina, has come up with a perfect fit for the Northwoods. Challenge Design will work with Edwin E. Thoreson, Inc. to erect the towers. And then, said Kerfoot the North Carolina crew will work from ropes to get the platforms built around sturdy 200-year old white pines.
One segment of the canopy tour includes a 900-foot run over a valley. Another segment overlooks Lonely Lake. Another requires a bold step off a cliff. However, this is not just a thrill ride, explained Kerfoot.
The Towering Pines Canopy Tour is a two-hour adventure with eight components, transporting people from platform to platform among the trees. At each station, a naturalist will talk about the region, dealing with everything from the birds and wildlife to vegetation and the history of the voyageurs. “It’s half a naturalist tour and half an adventure,” said Kerfoot.
It’s also the first canopy tour in the state of Minnesota, Kerfoot declares proudly. There are other single zip lines and rope courses, but this is the only extensive canopy tour. It is scheduled to be open at the beginning of July. The cost of the two-hour adventure will be $79.