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Grand Marais-Cook County Airport and Seaplane Base Seeks Commission Applicants

May 31, 2022 01:23PM ● By Content Editor

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From the Grand Marais-Cook County Airport Advisory Commission May 31, 2022

The Grand Marais-Cook County Airport Advisory Commission is actively recruiting qualified candidates to fill two Commissioner positions that have recently been vacated. Alternates are also being sought. This Commission was established to advise the County Board and educate the community on the development and use of aeronautics, determine the mission and goals of the airport, develop, implement, and enforce policies and procedures, and maintain a long-range plan for airport services.

Applicants for the Commissioner positions should have experience in one or more of the following areas: background as a pilot, a career related to aviation, business acumen and/or participation in community government. They must also be a resident of the state and county. Applications are available on the county website: The positions will be posted for two weeks, and applications will be presented for review by the Airport Advisory Commission on Thursday, June 16. After review and discussion, the commission will make recommendations to fill the two vacancies and alternate positions. Those recommendations will be forwarded to the County Board, which is the body that makes final approval.

Grand Marais-Cook County Airport, classified as a General Aviation Key System Airport is crucial to Cook County in many ways. It provides a full service, public use airport and seaplane base for the convenience, benefit, and safety of general aviation for the community. The facility houses approximately 20-25 planes, including a seaplane base. “The airport is crucial to the ongoing health and wellness of our county,” said District 4 Commissioner and Airport Advisory Commissioner Ann Sullivan. “It needs to support Medevac and fire safety emergencies.”

The Airport is funded by the county with a small levy, revenues from hangar and hangar land leases, a small percentage of fuel sales, Federal airport entitlement and State operations and maintenance funds. Major projects are funded by Federal Airport Improvement Fund grants, usually at ninety percent with State and local participation commonly at five percent each. The receipt of Federal funds requires that the airport be operated in accordance with extensive grant assurances to ensure full participation in the development of the nationwide system of public-use airports meeting current need and the projected growth of the community and national civil aviation.

The new Commissioners will join in the Airport Commission’s ongoing development of the Airport Master Plan for the next twenty years. The plan is being designed to meet the physical and aeronautical capacity needs we may expect as the County develops over the next twenty years. The Plan will also reflect the physical characteristics of a Key System General Aviation Airport as required by the new draft State Airport System Plan (SASP) now being finalized by the Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division.

The airport recently completed its last twenty-year plan with the lengthening and widening of the runway to improve our ability to accommodate potential forest fire operations and meet medical evacuation operational needs. Our Benefit/Cost Analysis (BCA) that justified the award of Federal grants funding those projects indicated the benefit was more than double the cost of the projects. Reports from our medical evacuation providers lead us to believe that we have likely already saved society more than the project cost given the statistical value of life used in our approved BCA.

The airport is a critical County and regional piece of infrastructure. We are excited to offer the opportunity to forward thinking, imaginative community members to join us in planning for the future.


About Cook County, MN

Cook County encompasses the sovereign nation of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; the City of Grand Marais; the Townships of Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder; and unincorporated areas in the easternmost part of Minnesota’s North Shore. Cook County Government values transparency and strives to deliver superior services and programs in a fiscally responsible way. We value the dignity of all County residents and seek to create a community that provides opportunity for all. Many of our offices are in the Cook County Courthouse at 411 W 2nd St, Grand Marais 55604. Other departments and facilities, such as the Airport, Community Center, Highway and Sheriff are located nearby. Call 218-387-3000 or visit:

Contact:  Todd Ford, Public Communications Coordinator, 218-387-3508,
or [email protected]

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