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Video: WDIO-TV Report - Gotta Be Gooseberry

Jul 23, 2018 06:54AM ● By Editor

Photo:  WDIO-TV

By Brandon Weathers of WDIO-TV - July 22, 2018

Gooseberry Falls State Park has been stunning on-lookers since 1937. The National Park continues to attract first-time visitors, and bring others back again and again. Frequent Falls-goer Jim Wilson has been coming to Gooseberry for over 30 years.

It’s a tradition he has passed onto his children, and Wilson now shares the experience with his grandchildren.

“It’s a neat place. The state is fortunate to have it,” Wilson said.

Marlene and Ron Rehbein have also been visiting Gooseberry since childhood. They say they keep coming back because the waterfalls are constantly changing. In fact, they know the best times to make the trip based on experience.

“Right after a heavy rain, that’s when we come. Because then you really see it ripping, and that’s the beauty of it,” said Ron. “People from all over come here and you can see why. It’s just a beautiful place.”

The Park’s Assistant Manager Nick Hoffmann says the distance from the parking lot to the scenic view is shorter than you'll find at most parks, and they do their best to make the waterfalls accessible to everyone.

"One of the things about Gooseberry Falls is that it is very accessible. As far as getting to the Falls, we're relatively close parking," Hoffmann said. "We have some mobility devices that are free to anyone that may have mobility issues that they can use."

Jason Heinz and his family were thankful for the short, kid-friendly hike on their visit. Heinz said his three children enjoyed playing in the water, saying, "They're just having a blast. It's a great place to bring the family."

Hoffmann says Gooseberry has seen a big increase in the number of visitors over the last several years.

“My first year, I think our annual total visitation was somewhere around 700,000. Last year, we topped over 800,000 visits.” Hoffmann also pointed out this is an especially popular time of year, and he has a couple of tips for avoiding large crowds.

"My advice to anyone that's coming here, say on a Saturday, is get here before 11. If you can't get here before 11, I recommend getting here after 4," said Hoffmann.

What are you supposed to do with that 5 hour gap? He has some suggestions for that too, noting a few other stunning North Shore destinations that tend to live in Gooseberry's shadow.

"It'd maybe be a good time to visit Split Rock Lighthouse, or Tettegouche State Park," Hoffman said. "There's Crosby Manitou State Park, which is an excellent park off the beaten path that has some spectacular features in it as well."

When it comes to the growing popularity of Gooseberry, Hoffmann attributes some of it to social media, saying, "If they happen to be raging one particular weekend, that will get posted and go through Instagram and Facebook, and then people come to see it."

If it has been a while since you have visited Gooseberry Falls State Park, Hoffmann says there are a lot of new additions to the park in the last several months. The Joseph Alexander Visitor Center is known to be the place to stop for park information and the nature store, and just this spring they added an interactive display area. These new exhibits include a giant wolf diorama, a touchable rock gallery, and a topographic display of the park that demonstrates how quickly the water level of the Falls can change.

Once you leave the Visitor Center, you can continue to your history lesson on the go with their new app, Gooseberry Go. As you walk by a point of interest, a geo-alert pops up, offering more information.

“It can be an overlook, or it can be something significant like some of the ruins of the CCC building, or what the CCC did in the park,” Hoffmann said. He also says it beats the old school paper map because it can plot distances before you head out on your hike, adding, "What's nice about it is, if you're looking just to plan like a real short trail hike, there's selected trails on there that you can look at."

After a long day of hiking, you can set up camp at one of Gooseberry's campsites. If that's the plan, Hoffmann recommends booking early. "This is our busiest time, so if you are looking for a campsite, I just encourage you to continue to look at the website," he said.

We have plenty of Summer left, and there are a lot of new things to see at the park. So whether it's your first trip or your 100th, it's gotta be Gooseberry.

Watch the WDIO-TV report on Gooseberry Falls

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