Tuesday, July 05, 2005

County commissioner Johnson's Newsletter

The Gunflint Trail Corridor Management Program (CMP) is under way. The committee headed up by Nancy Seaton, Barb Young, Linda Hendrickson, Sue Prom, the USFS, the DNR, and others is working together to provide some amenities along the Gunflint Trail. Picnic tables, historic plaques, fire grates, and wilderness latrines are examples of projects that this "Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway" committee would like to see happen. In a related matter, the DNR is planning to close the picnic area at Chester Lake in the Hovland area. I am asking that the county oppose this, and if you feel the same, please contact Mark Kovacovich at DNR headquarters; 1568 Hwy 2, Two Harbors, MN 55616 or e-mail him at Kovacovich@dnr.state.mn.us. There will also be a public meeting on July 19 at 4:00 p.m. at the park office at Judge Magney State Park. If we want to add amenities in one area of the county it seems counter-productive to close them in other areas.

Congressman Oberstar has graciously offered to meet with members of the public during has vacation time at Gunflint Lodge. He will be available at the Gunflint Conference Center at 8:00 p.m. this Thursday evening, July 7.

Septic Inspections begin: On July 11 inspections of septic systems on Caribou Lake will begin. Jeff Crosby has contracted with Cook County to do the inspections. We anticipate that Devil’s Track will be next year, with Gunflint and Poplar to follow. If you have concerns about your system the first thing to do is have the tank pumped. If you would like it inspected also feel free to contact LeRoy Hallberg at the court house and he will be happy to work with you. Minnesota Extension Service also has a wonderful website with lots of information about septic maintenance. www.extension.umn.edu/OnsiteSewage

At our June 21st Commissioner’s Meeting we accepted a Firewise Grant for the Gunflint Trail area. Maple Hill and Devil’s Track did this last year. If you are in the Gunflint Trail Area you will have an opportunity have your property evaluated for fire prevention and access should it be needed. Contact your fire departments for more information.

Park and Recreation fund grants: At our June 21st meeting we approved grant requests for Cascade/Deeryard trail improvements, Superior Hiking Trail, Ski and Run Club, Tennis Association, Banadad Ski Trail widening, Dragon Boat Festival, Sugarloaf Interpretive Center, Sugarbush Trail Association, Lutsen picnic shelter, Snowmobile Club, Curling Club, and Schroeder picnic tables and dock.

The Grand Marais Rec Area request, and the all-purpose soccer field request were put on hold pending Jan Hall’s return. The vote was tied in each case 2-2 so she will need to break the tie. FYI, I voted for both of these requests.

Needless to say we are disappointed in the Minnesota Legislature and Governor. The State shutdown will affect us greatly if it is not settled soon. We rely on State funding for many of our programs, especially in the health and human services department. We will use county reserves to keep us going, but state funding needs to come soon to repay those reserves.
If you wish to reply to me please hit the reply button and let me know what you are thinking. I have learned a lot from those of you who have been doing that, and I will reply to you as best I can.

Thanks, Jim Johnson


At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ted, saw your note on the Chester Lake picnic area. Jan and I were there Sunday, July 3rd. It is very nice as is Esther Lake as well. I will e-mail the gentleman in Two Harbors and ask them to keep the Chester Lake site open. Take Care, have a great summer, see you soon. -Steve

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