Widseth Smith Nolting worked closely with the National Loon Center Foundation to create this video, which provides a glimpse at what will hopefully become a reality in Crosslake, MN.
The National Loon Center Foundation is dedicated to the survival and protection of the Common Loon. The foundation’s mission is to restore and protect loon habitats, enhance environmental recreation, and construct a research and education center for migratory wildlife. These efforts will help educate the public about how to respectfully coexist with Minnesota’s state bird. The foundation is proposing a multi-faceted project designed to promote environmental tourism in the area. The proposed site is located on property owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the east side of Cross Lake, which is part of the beautiful Whitefish Chain.
The project will begin with recreational enhancements and shoreline protection efforts. New public docks, an interpretive trail system along the water, and improvements to the shore are key elements of the project. These initiatives will help protect the shoreline, reduce invasive species, and allow loon nesting. Site development is anticipated for Fall 2018.
Once these initiatives have been implemented, a 15,000-square-foot National Loon Center will be constructed. This state-of-the-art facility will house the Freshwater Institute, Chamber of Commerce offices, interactive exhibits, and multi-purpose rooms for the community. Learning opportunities will extend beyond the building into the bay. Visitors will be able to take boat rides and collect water samples for testing back at the center.
The neighboring Crosslake Campground and iconic dam draw 230,000 visitors each year to this area. Projections suggest 80,000 additional visitors will come to see the National Loon Center. Planning is already underway for annual spring and fall events that will coincide with loon migration patterns.
Many local and regional partners are committed to making this project a reality.
Please help support this environmental-tourism initiative.