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savy

big lake

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Just read a article in the Timberjay newspaper last week there is going to be a large expansion at the Big lake wildnerness lodge 11 new cabins , its going to be a commercial planned unit devrlopment . I have been going there for years it was a great place so peacefull and rustic. Its to bad people have to do this to a nice resort. I fear this will turn into something like a brezzy point or Brainerd area what was once so rustic and secluded now so modern yuppy . frown.giffrown.gif

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Savy:

I agree totally with you. frown.gifSad to see this happen up there,our family has been going there for years, even before that resort was even built. Was it sold to a new owner or is by the current owners?

This was one of the best walleye lakes north of town.

Farmer

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The wife and I spend a long weekend there every other year.This is the first I've heard of the new developement. The resort, as it is, is a gem. I hope the new cabins will fit in.

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There was a couple that owned it for about a year great hard working people they sold it to 2 guys . i tried looking into the archives section but could not pull it up was volume 17 issue 42 Thursday October 26. the timber jay newspapers.

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I still assume it is on leased land and the kind and color of the buildings has to fit into the forest services guidelines.

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Its happening everywhere. Charming old resorts turned into condos, woodlots turned into housing. Folks don't want to live in the city and I can't blame them. I can't offer a solution either. Well besides 0 growth.

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Found the article in the Timberjay and read it, was sold to 2 fellows who have done similiar projects on Fenske and Mitchell lakes near Ely.They have plans to do the same on a resort on White Iron lake also.

This resort had been operated on Forest Service lease, and 4 years ago transfered property to St. Louis county.

According to the new owners resorts can survive by selling individual cabins to private owners, then when they are not being used by them rented out to people on vacations.

Does anyone know, has the above mentioned lakes changed in your views of what was previous to you before they went to this new ownership? For Big Lake, adding that many new cabins has to add more to the lake when it is summer time. To bad to see this remote lake that we like to visit each year, have the increased volume of people on it. But it is hard to find places like this any more if you want to drive to them, instead of crossing the border and flying into one to have that feeling. Atleast we had the opportunity to enjoy many years of the kids having this experience.

Time will only tell if this change, will make any difference.

Farmer

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I dont think it will be long until Ely area lakes and the Gunflint area are nothing but big tourist traps and resorts.

The days of mom and pop resorts are coming to a close. Lots of the owners are getting to retirement age and the big money guys are offering them a lot of money to sell. Lots of them take the money and retire on it.

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There's just no way to make a living anymore if you have to get a loan to buy a Mom-and-Pop resort on most any northern MN lake. Lakeshore property values have skyrocketed in the last 10 years, which drives market prices WAY up, and there's no way to generate enough revenue from an old-fashioned resort to service the loan.

So top-scale resorts are doing OK, because they charge through the nose for services and lodgings that today's tourists have come to expect, but the smaller operations around Ely have not had it good the last few years.

Easier to sell for top dollar and let the new owner divide the property for lake cabin owners, or do what they're doing on Big Lake.

There's no solution to the problem. It's just that, being 20 miles out of Ely on a gravel road, Big Lake has been outside the reality of lake-country sprawl.

I'm up the Echo Trail all the time, and I can't even count the number of times in the last couple of years I've almost been creamed by fools slewing around the sharp turns on the gravel. The more people who go up that road who don't understand gravel, switchbacks and the limitations of all-wheel-drive, the harder it's going to get.

And I won't be snowshoeing into Big Lake for more than another winter or two. Right now, it's almost like wilderness in the winter. Pretty soon, it won't be.

Brainerd went through it 30 years ago, and now the house we have on the shores of a lake 10 miles north of Bemidji, which felt pretty wild in 1983, looks like Minnetonka.

As long as people like us (yes, us), want a place a few degrees more remote than where we live right now, this expansion will continue.

It sucks for me. It sucks for you. It sucks for the environment.

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The biggest things is with lakeshore prices where they are they can sell the land/resort for more money than they can make operaating as a resort. And stfcatfish has another point you can't buy one and make enough running it as a resort to pay the bills. If this kind of thing keeps up staying at the lake is going to be a pretty exclusive thing frown.gif

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I am fortunate enough to own property on Big Lake. I sold my property near Emily to get further away from it all and now it looks like I may have to move on again. They are really going to change things with what they want to do. They are going to jam more cabins down by the lake, take out their boat launch and make evryone that goes there use the public access. It is was kind of funny that one of the reasons the planning commission ok'd it was because "The use conforms with the land use plan: There is no land use plan for the area." They also stated that "Family resorts are an asset to the county". How in the #ell does selling off the cabins to individual owners continue the asset of having a family owned resort. That kind of reasoning just doesn't make sense to me.

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One of the problems in creating a land use plan is that everytime someone wants to regulate the use of any type of land there is a landslide of opposition. There is no way with the political climate in this country that a BWCA or a new National Park with a sizeable chunk of wild land could be set aside and preserved as a wild space. I just wonder if the we will be smart enough to perserve for future generations what we already have.

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" It is was kind of funny that one of the reasons the planning commission ok'd it"

chaffmj, the new expansion means more money from property taxes.

About the boat ramp, will the public landing become a parking lot of the resort?

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Just curious, how many sit on the board for St.Louis county planning.

Sounds to me from what I've been reading that property up there and the tax base you guys must be paying that this county has a windfall in revenue to do things with???

Farmer

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Frank,

I'm not sure exactly what will happen at the public launch. I park there because my property is on the south side of the lake and is water access only. There have been some weekends when I have parked there that there is only a couple of spots left. I haven't counted but I think it doesn't hold more than a dozen vehciles. The thing that I really don't like is the addition of more cabins on the lake frontage. I couldn't do that with my property. Oh well I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned an increase in revenue from property taxes.

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Yes, it's exactly about property taxes. The St. Louis County Commissioners almost never deny an expansion permit for this type of thing because the more building and new buildings, the more there is on the tax rolls.

A person probably wouldn't want to park at the public landing if they're staying at the resort. For a purely practical reason. They'd want their vehicle back at the resort so they can get into town or go wherever they want to. That's how it works at most resorts up here without their own ramps. And that's good. The public landing parking area was expanded a couple years ago, with an upper parking area added (similar to the parking at the Van Vac public access on Burntside Lake but without the paving) but there's still not room to service that kind of parking traffic, not by a long shot.

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BOYCOTT!!!

That's all we can do to stop the madness! What a shame, an absolute disaster. The Echo trail will now surely become an all out paved highway, and every lake outside the wilderness will have huge resorts on it. Im sure the campsites on the lake will no longer be free and reservations will be needed well in advance.

You all thought Basswood was bad. This is the most disgusting news i've heard in a long time. I feel this is the beginning of the end for the BWCAW in that area. Fire suppression will increase, to protect the yuppie 612ourist resorts. Therefore, roads will be cut all over the adjoining wilderness. and the wilderness around the area will have to dramatically shrink to create a "Buffer Zone".

Sorry for the doom and gloom rant, but development is OUT OF FREEKIN CONTROL!, and now this one hits home. What a shame. I feel really bad for future generations.

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I wouldn't worry too much about how the new development affects the landing ... the resort has (had!) it's own landing which they build a couple years ago. They also have plenty of space for parking trailers, etc ... though it will get tighter as the new cabins go up.

It is too bad that the resort is going to go "commercial" rather than the small, quiet place it was. My wife and I had talked to the former owners about buying a lot on their resort because we enjoyed our visits there so much. On one hand, I hope the new owners have a hard time getting the new development going so the area stays less congested ... on the other hand they have a right to make a living, too. We ended up recently buying land on the Echo trail near Nels. So I can't look down on anybody who wants to buy property there ... it's a piece of heaven. The challenge is for us to try to keep it that way. As long as there are no utilities out that way (off the grid), it may stay loosely populated.

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Quote:

I wouldn't worry too much about how the new development affects the landing ... the resort has (had!) it's own landing which they build a couple years ago. They also have plenty of space for parking trailers, etc ...


They are taking out the boat launch so they can put more cabins on the lake shore so yes it will affect the public launch. I do agree with you that everyone has a right to make a living and I don't find fault with the developers for trying to make money. The thing that concerns me is the reasoning the county used to approve the project.

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Sorry I missed that part of your earlier post. NOW I understand your concern and sympathize with you. One of the great things about Big Lake is its remote nature, which I guess drove you up there to start with. There are those times when you get there and find you're not the only one wanting to escape. I sincerely hope you'll never have any issues getting on the lake and to your place. If I were in your situation, I'd consider getting to know the owner of the other resort ... he has a small launch and his place might be a more secure place to leave your rig than the public landing anyway. Regardless, best of luck ...

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Thanks for the kind words. I know Dan and Sue the owners of Whispering Pines real well. I have stayed there lots of times. That's not a bad idea you have about parking there.

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