Crane Lake Township

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2/26/18 Minutes



February 26, 2018



The February 26, 2018 Special Board of Supervisors’ Meeting was called to order by Chairman Jerry Pohlman at 1:15PM at Voyagaire Lodge with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by those in attendance including: Supervisors Jim Janssen, Jerry Pohlman, and Butch Eggen; Treasurer Traci Bak; Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman; 15 members of the community and the following invited guests:


Bob DeGross – VNP Superintendent                  Holly Larson – RTCA Outdoor Recreation Planner

Scott Kelling – DNR NE Region Manager            Tim Engrav – Superior National Forest, Cook

Ida Rukavina – Sen. Klobuchar’s Office              Jordan Metsa – Rep. Nolan’s Office

Peter Makowski – Sen. Smith’s Office                Tom Rukavina – St. Louis County Commissioner

Josh Bergstad – ARDC                                     Pete Schultz – Destination VNP




Chairman Jerry Pohlman introduced the invited guests and explained the purpose of the Special Board of Supervisors’ Meeting to be discussion of the proposed VNP Visitor Center/Camp Site being considered for the recently purchased Braaten property.  He then turned the meeting over to Outdoor Recreation Planner Holly Larson of the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.  The program supports successful partnerships with communities in achieving their conservation and outdoor recreation visions.


Holly began by referring to the 2016 CL Community Plan where a VNP presence in Crane Lake was a priority.  Beginning in October of 2017, Holly began researching the project and gathering information.  She has had meetings with the Township Board and Township representatives.  VNP staff has developed a preliminary list of functions for the Visitor Center and grounds.  Outreach to other government land managers and non-profit organizations has been initiated with the concept of a multi-agency visitor center in mind.  Funding options are being considered.


Holly suggested that the next step would be to set up a team of Township representatives, Voyageurs Staff, DNR Staff, USFS Staff and other interested stakeholders to meet on a regular basis with a goal to refine the concept plan for the site.  Next would be a larger meeting of potential visitor center partners. A list of potential partners was provided.


Holly provided a list of ‘Learned so Far’ information for the Visitor Center with NPS wishes including:  Would like other partners to assist with building design, exhibit development, and operations; prefer seasonal rather than year-round; would want to be part of design decisions; would recommend staffing by volunteers; possible partner representation in exhibits; possible outdoor exhibits for year-round access; and space for other CL groups in the building.


The NPS preliminary list of functions for the Visitor Center would be:  Law enforcement house and office; dock for law enforcement boat; restrooms; volunteer living space such as RV sites; kiosk for reservation system; computer, phone, internet, and NPS network connection; interpretive presence; winter accessibility; and a contact station/warming hut.  Lower priorities would be a campground with associated restroom/shower facilities, and boat tours.


The ‘Learned so Far’ list for the DNR property includes:  Proposed NPS Visitor Center from the 2016 CL Community Plan; no funds available to upgrade public ramp; committed to a restroom on their site; a beach and playground are unlikely due to funding sources; and  possible leasing of the house to the NPS.


Town of Crane Lake Meeting Minutes – February 26, 2018



The ‘Learned so Far’ list for funding includes:  $2.5 million State general obligation FY 19 bonding request from Township ($1.5 million in Federal funds and $1 million of other local government funds as match)

submitted through the local government process; a second request for FY 19 State bonding is being introduced by the State Senator and Representatives in the area of $2.9 million; NPS has a process to submit capital improvement requests; and other possible fund sources were listed.  The NPS budget process takes two years.  The NPS is focused on maintaining existing infrastructure rather than adding new infrastructure.  They look upon partnering as favorable.  VNP seeking leases does not sit well with other parks.  Current VNP revenues go to staffing programs and maintain sites.  The costs exceed the funds available.


The ‘Learned so Far’ exhibit list includes the following potential partners:  USFS, Quetico Provincial Park, VNPA, Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe.


Holly provided a suggested planning process and possible research partners.


Questions and comments following Holly’s presentation included:  How long does the planning process take and what is the cost?  Holly felt that if she were to facilitate the process it would take about a year or less.  Her services are free of charge.


Funding options and the use limits placed on each funding source were discussed.


The Crane Lake area was assured a VNP presence when the park was established; the NPS needs to provide that presence, not the CL community.  Going through the legislature to receive what was promised is a good way to proceed.


VNP Superintendent Bob DeGross stated that the VNP is committed to going through Holly’s process to come up with a vision where a concept of overall cost will provide him the tools to go forward with funding options with partners.


Looking at all possible building users will help determine building size.


The Visitor Center should be envisioned as a building/concept for many entities, not just the VNP.


The legislative representatives present suggested that a letter from the VNP Committee with the design plan and resolutions or letters from other agencies would assist them to further the project on their level.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:45PM.







Jo Ann Pohlman, Clerk                                                  Jerry Pohlman, Chairman









This draft of the Crane Lake Township minutes has been posted solely for preliminary informational purposes.  Minutes are unofficial and subject to change until they have been approved by the Crane Lake Board of Supervisors.