Saturday, May 14, 2005

Historical Remembrance - the Finn Lake Road the predecessor of the Banadad

Ted Young, Gunflint Trail- Fifty years ago next year, as a teenager and fishing guide working out of Rockwood Lodge, I headed out with a party of fisherman to Caribou Lake. Upon crossing the portage from Poplar to Lizz Lake I was shocked to find that a road had been built through the portage. This new road, I soon found out, was the Finn Lake Road and it had been constructed by North Star logging, a subsidiary of Kimberly-Clark. The Finn Lake Road gained access to the Moon Lake Timber Sale, a large track of timber the company was cutting west of the Lizz Lake portage.

Previously to the construction of this road, timber was trucked from this sale down to Poplar Lake near the Meed's Lake portage and then trucked across the frozen lake in winter or rafted across during the summer. Old log timbers still line the shore where the logs were stacked before they were rafted across Poplar.

With the construction of this new road the logs could now be hauled out by land, year around, to what is now called the Lima Grade road and then onto the Gunflint Trail. According to Hank Larson of Grand Marais and who was logging in the area, "in l962 there were some eighteen to twenty-four men logging in the Finn Lake area. About twelve of them were "shackers." Shackers is the term used to describe the men living in the camps. Logging continued along the Finn Lake Road until shortly after the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Starting at the Lima Grade Road the old eastern end of the Finn Lake Road has been renamed the Little Ollie Road. This road now lead into the Poplar Creek Guesthouse and serveral cabins on Little Ollie Lake. From Little Ollie Lake on the Finn Lake road is now the eastern half of theBanadad Ski Trail (map). What is now called the "Old Logging Camp," located six miles west of the Banadad's eastern trailhead, is the site of Kimberly Clarks main camp for the Moon Lake timber sale. All that remains on the site is a wide spot along the trail, a dilapidated outhouse and an old oil-heating stove. The trunks of some of the massive white pines taken from the sale can still be seen stacked along the trail just west of the Meed's Lake portage.

Next year will be the fiftieth anniversary of the building of the Finn Lake Road. When I came upon this road in 1956 and was totally shocked, little did I know how important this road was to become. Without it there would be no Banadad Ski Trail. Truly we owe a debt of gratitude to the loggers and truckers whose labors, so many years ago, provided the wood products we all have used. And today as a result of their efforts a pathway was provided that made the Banadad possible.

One of the truckers who worked on the Finn Lake Road was Dave Mealey of Silver Bay, Minnesota. He recently reminded me of some of history surrounding the construction of the Finn Lake Road and the Moon Lake Timber Sale.

For more information about the Banadad Ski Trail go to


At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article, Ted. You and Barbara need to write a book about your life on the Gunflint Trail. You guys have alot of knowledge about that area to share with others. Keep the info flowing. Joannie and I are bringing the family up Memorial weekend. See you soon, Steve N.

At 12:58 AM, Blogger Quit Smoking said...

Hello fellow fisherman,

Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

You will be one of the first to try it out.

Gone Fishin',



Ted, nice article.I am interested in Finn Lake Rd as I think Finn Lake was named after my grandfather.
Thanks, Yvonne


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