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Park Point cabin abducted!

I went for a run on the Park Point trail today. Just after the water station I noticed something different about the trail.

It was wider and torn up a bit. (My dog, Essa, was also a witness.)

A little farther on, a whole new road appeared.

I followed the new road and realized … the cabin is gone! This is where it used to be; looking from the beach side. A sidewalk to nowhere.

Here is the view from the trail. The ground is marked with tracks from heavy machines.

Anyone know what the deal is?

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27 Comment(s)

  1. Apparently the cabin was removed last week because the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources does not allow man-made structures in areas that are part of its Scientific & Natural Areas program.

    Minnesota Point Pine Forest SNA

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 5, 2010 | New Comment
  2. Does anyone know the story behind the lighthouse-looking structure … put past on that trail.

    hunter | Dec 5, 2010 | New Comment
  3. From “Crossing the Canal” (2009,

    Minnesota Point Lighthouse

    Standing fifty feet tall when built in 1858 and located at the end of Minnesota Point, one of Lake Superior’s first lighthouses was intended to help mariners navigate the Superior Entry. R. H. Barrett, its first keeper, lived with his family in a simple cottage built of the same red Ohio brick German stonemason Adam Dopp used to build the tower.

    Both buildings were later whitewashed in limestone. When the fog became thick, Barrett used his own lungs to blow a warning through a logging camp dinner horn. Local residents called it “Barrett’s Cow.”

    The lighthouse constantly needed repairs; it leaked, and plaster fell off in chunks. The ever-changing sand bar also created a problem: the location of the natural entry shifted; within a year of the tower’s construction, it no longer stood close to the water (today it is about a half mile away). By 1885 most ship traffic passed through Duluth’s canal, so on August 6 of that year the government discontinued the lighthouse’s use.

    In 1889 a wooden pierhead beacon was built on the north timber pier under construction in the Superior Entry and it was fitted with the lens from the Minnesota Point light. That light was destroyed in the Mataafa Storm of 1905.

    While the keeper’s house was torn down long ago, the lighthouse — what’s left of it — still stands. It’s now barely thirty feet high and is protected by a fence. The tower still contains the “zero” marker used for all surveys mapping Lake Superior — work undertaken by pioneer George Stuntz, the first non-native to settle on Minnesota Point.

    Tony D. | Dec 5, 2010 | New Comment
  4. Thank you. I didn’t know there was that much history linked to the rubble that’s left. I like the makeshift bench inside of the structure. Any pictures of the light house or living quarters?

    hunter | Dec 5, 2010 | New Comment
  5. A couple of questions that I hope you will research because I’m busy eating ice cream:

    1. How long has this area been classified as an SNA area?

    2. If longer than three days, why was the cabin just now removed?

    3. Could the removal have anything to do with the effort to classify the area as “protected,” and if so, would this have anything to do with the Sky Harbor airport/tree removal issue?

    vicarious | Dec 5, 2010 | New Comment
  6. The DNR is deliberately not widely advertising the Minnesota Point Pine Forest SNA because of the restrictions that go along with this designation:

    Visiting a Scientific and Natural Area

    Specifically note this rule:
    “In general, pets are not allowed on SNAs in keeping with their purpose to protect and perpetuate, in an undisturbed natural state, the rare and endangered plants and animals that inhabit these preserves. Only two SNAs in Hennepin County allow pets -- Wood-Rill allows dogs on 6-foot leashes and Wolsfeld Woods allows horses on specified trails.”

    Can you see why they have been keeping this designation a bit quiet?!?

    They have been working on removing the cabin since talks first began about designating the area as a SNA -- not sure what finally pushed them over the “edge” as it were. Funding finally became available perhaps?

    Lisa | Dec 5, 2010 | New Comment
  7. Fantastic history as always on this great site.

    James | Dec 5, 2010 | New Comment
  8. So, they tore the hell out of the woods in order to remove the last of the historic cabins?

    Bret | Dec 6, 2010 | New Comment
  9. Here is a link to the previous PDD thread about this cabin, giving specific history of it.

    Park Point Park cabin?

    Tony D. | Dec 6, 2010 | New Comment
  10. Interesting. I live on the Point, but don’t recall hearing that the cabin was to be removed. There wasn’t anything in the Park Point newsletter, The Breeze, about it. It was an historical building, and even though it was not being used anymore, it is too bad to have it removed and to have the area torn up. Couldn’t this have been done a little more sensitively? Maybe the people who are proposing the camp grounds back there had something to do with this. I would like to hear more about this.

    Mary Courage | Dec 6, 2010 | New Comment
  11. Wow. So is the entire point beyond the airport an SNA now, or just a chunk of the forest? I can’t tell from the map. And, does anyone know when it got this designation?

    bluenewt | Dec 6, 2010 | New Comment
  12. We should all get used to our new big Communist government. They take away our property and freedoms and use our hard earned money to do so.

    Big government doesn’t need to ask for the public’s permission to remove a historic building at the taxpayer’s expense, they just do it and you can’t stop them.

    Soon, that entire area will be sealed off from the public and will be more secure than the Mexican border.

    Take a real good look at that lighthouse, I mean unallowed “man-made structure.”

    Anti Something | Dec 6, 2010 | New Comment
  13. The lighthouse is not part of the Scientific & Natural Area, so it is an allowed structure. And the notion that the area will be “sealed off,” sounds a bit paranoid, but the fact that the cabin was so quietly removed does, to a small extent, validate Anti-Something’s hyperbolic rant.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 6, 2010 | New Comment
  14. Paul,

    I wish you were right, but Big Government makes you give an inch, then as you are pulling your wallet out, they take a mile.

    The historic cabin removal is just the slippery slope. Now that the historic cabin is out of the way, it becomes more and more easy for them to whittle away more and more.

    Anti Something | Dec 6, 2010 | New Comment
  15. SNA rules are pretty strict, unless special exceptions were made (?), it is illegal to walk your dog, ride your bike, collect rocks/flowers/ect, or maintain any type of trails on SNA land.

    Sounds like an irregular shaped parcel, can’t tell if the SNA boundaries run lakeshore to bayside… and how that would effect recreational through-travel to the rest of the point. Anyone privy?

    pH | Dec 7, 2010 | New Comment
  16. Back under the bridge with you.

    The Big E | Dec 7, 2010 | New Comment
  17. via MN DNR website

    pH | Dec 7, 2010 | New Comment
  18. Interesting read. I wonder if they will remove the brick outhouse that is located just past the old concrete Boat House?
    There are lots of cool things out that way.

    Shawn | Dec 7, 2010 | New Comment
  19. SNAs are not “sealed off,” the government is not Communist, and this is nothing “new.”


    Two pull quotes from the DNR site:

    “Please note: SNAs are open to the public for nature observation and education, but are not meant for intensive recreational activities.”

    “Site development varies widely; signage and parking facilities may or may not exist at individual sites. Some now have interpretive kiosks to help visitors identify key features and processes. Public conveniences, including trails, are the exception.”

    I’m not sure what they mean by the last sentence as it does not track well with the rest of the paragraph. I would hazard it means trails are allowed. The site also says you can ski, snowshoe or walk. So no bikes, and yes, no dogs (unless there is an exception granted). Aside from the bikes and dogs the only real change seems to be the removal of the cabin, which I am guessing while many consider it “historic” had no official recognition or designation as such? The removal seemed to be done pretty roughly which is disappointing, given the sandy soil I’m not sure if anything too heavy could have gotten back there to lift it.

    edgeways | Dec 7, 2010 | New Comment
  20. Edgeways,

    The last paragraph “Public conveniences, including trails, are the exception” which means that public trails on this type of reserve are an “exception” or rare.

    The big government is now communist and quickly headed for a dictatorship.

    The unelected freaks on the Supreme Court have set themselves up as a dictatorship with the final say on everything. Just four unelected individuals can undo the will of the people, the president, and all of congress.

    The court was not originally supposed to have that sort of power, but they’ve slowly stolen powers away from the people that they were never given in the constitution.

    This is why we see so many political decisions being made by activist judges. Anyone can shop for a biased case friendly federal judge to have your case heard, and of course you will win.

    Anti Something | Dec 7, 2010 | New Comment
  21. Hey Anti Something, you should tell us about how Obama isn’t even an American citizen…I’m sure that’s your next argument.

    uh huh | Dec 7, 2010 | New Comment
  22. So does anyone know what the purpose of the SNA is?

    It is ironic that, in an SNA (which I’d never heard of before now), trails and dogs are frowned upon, but apparently Caterpillars are a-okay.

    maria | Dec 7, 2010 | New Comment
  23. “Exception” means an exception to the general rule. It does not mean “rare.”

    Four Justices on the Supreme Court does not constitute a majority.

    Bret | Dec 8, 2010 | New Comment
  24. Brett, four is often a majority on the Supreme Court. Justices die, retire, and recuse themselves causing a smaller majority.

    Uhhah, I didn’t mention anything about Obama in my post, but thanks for pointing out his true birth location. The Constitution matters to some people.

    Anti Something | Dec 8, 2010 | New Comment
  25. Heads up:

    There is an update to this post that answers many of the questions raised here.

    Duluth’s Pine Knot Cabin on Minnesota Point — Everything you wanted to know about its removal, history, etc.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 8, 2010 | New Comment
  26. Please cite, with specificity, when four has been a majority on the Supreme Court.

    Bret | Dec 8, 2010 | New Comment
  27. Brett,

    This article explains this complicated matter with regard to having four justices decide a case, by default, assuming there is a tie, or by four if that is a majority, assuming two justices are unavailable on the court.

    Anti Something | Dec 8, 2010 | New Comment

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