Lutsen sucks … water from trout streams

I was disappointed but not surprised to hear that state lawmakers moved one step closer to allowing Lutsen Mountain ski resort to pump more water out of the Poplar River. As John Myers reported in the DNT this week, the concerns about the effects of this on fish populations have many groups concerned.

I am personally planning on telling Lutsen that not only will I not be visiting their resort anytime soon, I’ll also be spreading the word through any channel I can find. I wish there was some way I could suggest that others also send them a note saying you’ll be doing the same.

For example, people could voice their concern on Lutsen’s Facebook by “liking it” and then voicing your displeasure: page.

People could also email Lutsen to let them know you’re going to boycott the resort.

What I can’t find is the direct email address of the resort’s co-owner, Charles Skinner. I wonder where he lives. We could all visit his house and say, “hi.”



about 13 years ago

I was with you up to liking a page on Facebook you don't like. That isn't what Facebook is for, and I literally did a facepalm. I wish one still needed a .edu email address to join Facebook, because stuff like this - greifing a fanpage - has completely ruined what was once a good thing.


about 13 years ago

More allegiance to Facebook than nature in your back yard?  I don't get that.  Facebook wasn't meant to be used to help start a revolution in Egypt, either.

I think what Lutsen is doing sucks.


about 13 years ago

You people don't even know enough about "what Lutsen is doing" to say you're against it. As is the case with way too many people these days, you hear something and just run with it. 

Here's a little tiddy for you: Trout come from the lake and go up the river, not vice versa. They don't even make it up to the ski area.

If they could afford to pump water from Lake Superior, then you'd be against that too. Until you get to a point where you walk to work everyday, don't drive a car, don't produce garbage, pollution ect., ect. keep your self-righteousness contained.


about 13 years ago

Yeah, I'm not sure how an individual who produces any amount of garbage forfeited their right to object to an operation pumping millions of gallons of water from a stream for recreational purposes. 

Oh well, I suppose the tone of that post speaks for itself.


about 13 years ago

Funny that nobody complains when all that snow melts and flows back into the river in the Spring.


about 13 years ago

Josephine Marcotty of the Star Tribune reported:

Lutsen has always used water from the Poplar River to feed its thirsty snow-making machines. But over the years as the resort has expanded, its water use has grown exponentially. In 1964, it was using 9.4 million gallons per year. In 1986, when the DNR gave Lutsen its first and only permit, it allowed 12.6 million gallons per year. But for the past 10 years, the resort has used 60 million to 108 million gallons a year.
Lutsen has broken the law by drawing way more water from the Poplar River than permitted, but rather than fine them for their violations lawmakers want to reward them by increasing their allotment. Must be nice to be so politically connected.


about 13 years ago

"Here's a little tiddy for you: Trout come from the lake and go up the river, not vice versa. They don't even make it up to the ski area."

I think most here would agree: if you suck all the water out of the stream, even some of the year, the nature of the stream downstream changes.


about 13 years ago

I don't get why the DNR hasn't been fining them since they started illegally pumping water from the river in 2001, shouldn't they of all government agencies be putting natural resources ahead of private businesses? If they hadn't been complaisant these past ten years I don't think the ski hill would be seeking even more now.

And allegiance doesn't factor into this, the world is not black and white. Don't troll Facebook, no level headed person will take a troll seriously, no matter how important the subject. It's called slacktivism. The way to effect change is by getting involved. Contact your state legislators who are the ones deciding this matter in St. Paul, not a PR person from Lutsen in charge of a fanpage on Facebook.

Biff Nimrod

about 13 years ago

While I do not care for Skinner and his business model, I will continue to be a season pass holder at Lutsen, because I know what is going on and know how to oppose the things I am against ... figure it out.

Jim Wilferling

about 13 years ago

I worked there, and I'm not surprised at all. And contrary to some opinions,there are indeed trout upstream from the ski hill. It just goes to show -- whether its copper-nickel mining, cell towers, or megabuck ski resorts -- big money gets what big money wants in the Arrowhead, and the counties and state let 'em. Been that way since the Merritts, Rockefeller and Carnegie.


about 13 years ago

"I was with you up to liking a page on Facebook you don't like. That isn't what Facebook is for, and I literally did a facepalm.[...]

Mashtato "

You have to "like" a page on Facebook to join the discussion group. That doesn't mean you "like" the topic. For instance, some groups are things like Breast Cancer. Do the members love the disease?

Other sites that had the same sort of functionality use terms like groups. On Flickr, you join a group to discuss something... not "like" a topic.


about 13 years ago

I bet you win a lot at poker because you bluff every time.  If you actually knew anything about brook trout you would know that they live in the river year round.  They need deep pools of cool water to thrive in, and when water gets sucked out of a river to make snow it makes it possible for the pools the trout are in to freeze all the way through, thus killing the fish.  Please refrain from making broad generalizations about things you know nothing about.


about 13 years ago

Well, pumping water out of a river seems to be something people can't wrap their heads around.  

Most of the rivers on the North Shore are spring-fed with few exceptions.  The river in question happens to be spring-fed.  You can't suck water out of areas upstream.  More water flows in and takes its place.  And since we're not talking about dropping a fucking well into the source of the river, the only area impacted will be downstream of the ski hill to Lake Superior--which from my fishing experience is not populated by brook trout during the winter months as it is shallow and fast-moving ... not ideal brookie habitat.

And since all of this snow melts and flows back into the river, my question is this: What is the big fucking deal?  There's nothing being impacted, only empty theories.  

So go ahead and boycott them: The reason they're pumping water is to make snow.  If they can't make snow, then you'll have no reason to go there anyhow. 


about 13 years ago

It's pretty sweet that you were able to swear in your post.  That gives it a lot of extra credibility. You say the snow melts, goes back and it's no big deal.  Well, more snow on top of the hill means more melting snow.  More melting snow means more runoff into the river with sediment in it from the ski hill, and more erosion of the banks of the river.  That affects water quality and thus trout habaitat.  It also affects the big lake's water quality and the fish in it.


about 13 years ago

Dennis Anderson is no bleeding heart. He lays it out for you here:

North Shore's Poplar River at risk


about 13 years ago

The legislature passed a bill last night that allows Lutsen to take 150 million gallons annually from the Poplar River for snowmaking.

I suppose this is a good time to call the governor and ask him for a well-deserved veto.

action needed

about 13 years ago

Contact Dayton and request a veto of this insane bill to pump more water from a trout stream. Lutsen can pump water from Lake Superior to make snow, then most of the water will melt back into the Lake. There is no sense winter-killing the fish in a stream for the sake of a few dollars. Lutsen's customers can pay a few extra dollars each for the real costs of legal/moral snow making.

Here is how to contact Governor Dayton: 
Telephone: 651-201-3400 
Toll Free: 800-657-3717 
Minnesota Relay 800-627-3529 
Fax: 651-797-1850


about 13 years ago

The wintering fish in the river are far upstream from the ski hill.  What don't you people get about this?  You can't pump water OUT of the river if the water is not AT that point in the river.  Simply put, you cannot suck water down from the deep pools upstream from the ski hill.  

If you're concerned about additional runoff, erosion and sediment in the river, the LAST thing you want is Lutsen tapping into Lake Superior.  They'd have a dozen feet of snow by New Year's with an unlimited source of water.  Of course, if melt water causes excess sediment and erosion, you'd also have to show that the ski hills drain directly into the river (which they don't) and that snow melt causes excessive erosion and sedimentation (which is doesn't).


about 13 years ago

@ Beast:

Two words:


Any amount of water within summat like 10 miles (verification?) of the lake eventually winds up in the lake.

And any amount of water running down a slope carries with it a certain amount of sediment.


about 13 years ago

Well buhrito, I find it amazing that, according to you, trout don't make it up as far as the ski hill considering I was catching brook trout 1.5 miles beyond the ski hill no more than a week ago. There is a reason regulations are in place to limit the amount of water an entity can pump out of a waterway. In fact that amount is none, no water at all unless you get legislative permissions like the two ex-lawyers who own Lutsen have done. It sounds to me like you are in no position to tell anyone they don't know something.

Chris Julin

about 13 years ago

According to MPR, the DNR deliberately chose not to fine Lutsen for drawing too much water from the Poplar because Lutsen brings boocoo $$$ to the region.


about 13 years ago

I laughed out loud when I heard this on the radio today:

"Skinner said it would cost $3 million or $4 million for a lake system, money that 'would be better spent on other infrastructure up here, such as a new lift or other infrastructure, that skiers would appreciate and that would hopefully bring more visitors and help support the economy.'"

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

A two-years-later update: A pipeline to carry water from Lake Superior to Lutsen Mountains is scheduled to break ground this week. 

MPR: Construction begins on Lake Superior-Lutsen Mountains pipeline

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