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Efforts to save Hovland Dock under way

Sep 15, 2017 08:32AM ● Published by Editor

It was a wee bit colder when this picture of the crumbling Hovland Dock was taken, but it is easy to see that the dock is falling apart. As the last remaining dock of its kind on the Great Lakes, efforts are under way to save the structure. The dock was built in 1905 and served as a hub for local transportation and was in use until commercial fishing fell off due to the lamprey killing the lake trout. 

Submitted photo

By Brian Larsen of The Cook County News Herald - September 15, 2017

Hovland dock is crumbling. Without aid, the last remaining vintage commercial dock on Lake Superior will further erode, slipping beneath the cold waters of Lake Superior.

A group of concerned citizens met Friday, September 8 at the Hovland Town Hall to address the dock and surrounding area. Leading the meeting was Cook County Land Commissioner/Parks and Trails Director Lisa Kerr.

“I think we made some progress, but have a way to go before reaching majority agreement,” said Kerr. “Most people are in favor of saving the dock, and many liked the idea of making the Hovland Town Hall the parking/historical information area, then using my trail idea to walk down to the dock area. The majority want as little as possible done to the dock area as some believe it will draw extra traffic, people, and loitering to the quiet community they love.”

Hovland resident Harry Drabik, who has been a vocal supporter of saving the dock, would like to see a historical marker at the site. He would also like to see the area cleaned up. However, Drabik agrees the area shouldn’t be designated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as a wayside rest stop.

At one time the North Shore Scenic Drive Council (NSSDC) was leading an effort with the county, Cook County Historical Society, and the town of Hovland to identify improvements that could be made to the Hovland Dock wayside for visitors traveling the byway.

Carlos Fernandez, landscape architect, AFLA, was hired by the NSSDC to prepare design documents based on feedback from the planning team over the course of several meetings. That bigger, more expensive plan, addressing wayside amenities, recreation, and accessibility, appears dead this time.

More meetings and more discussion on setting a course of action to stabilize the dock will be held in the future, said Kerr. 

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