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Paul Sundberg, 9/21/07: Terry Nelson and Pokey McClelland, Stonemasons
Gooseberry Falls CCC Stone Table Rehabilitation
Audrey Butts – Asst. Park Manager, Gooseberry Falls State Park Date of Completion - 6/30/08
Project No. Contract No.
This project was funded in part under the Coastal Zone Management Act, by NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in cooperation with Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.
Conditions prior to project The main objective of this grant was to accomplish the restoration and rehabilitation of as many as 19 of the remaining Civilian Conservation Corps stone picnic tables at Gooseberry Falls State Park. To cut briefly to the end of the story, that objective was met in full – 19 tables have had their original design and function restored. There were 42 tables shown on the 1939 National Park Service revised “Base Plan” map for Gooseberry Falls State Park, though it’s not completely clear how many of these were actually constructed (Appendix #17). Only 30 tables were listed in the National Register of Historic Places nominating form to create a Historic District at Gooseberry Falls, dated 8-26-88 (Appendix #23). Many of the 12 missing tables are shown close to the Lake Superior shore on the ’39 map, so they could have fallen victim to ice and storms prior to 1988, or perhaps the plan was not completed, once the threat posed by Lake Superior was made clear to the CCC planners. Hughes collection – ice on Picnic Flow, 1935
At the time I wrote this grant in 2005, one of the 30 nominated tables was gone, 10 had been rebuilt during the 1980’s and the rest were in various states of disrepair, including 2 that were no more than a pile of rocks. Not one of the final 19 tables could be used for picnicking by the hundreds of thousands of yearly visitors to Gooseberry Falls State Park.
Table Origins The tables were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935, and featured granite side supports and split log seats and table tops. Under the stewardship of the National Park Service, the CCC program was instrumental in the development of a nationwide system of state parks. The program philosphy was to make the built environment subordinate to the natural, to build facilities that would harmonize with their setting and leave natural wonders unimpared. Native materials were used in the structures and attention was paid to all aspects of the work. As a result, CCC structures not only have historic significance, they also have their own lasting beauty and a clear present-day utility at our parks.
In the summer of 1934, SP-10 Company 2710 of the CCC’s was established at Gooseberry Falls replacing Company 1720, that moved on to Ely, MN. Over the next 7 years of development, many buildings, structures (such as the massive Concourse feature) and smaller objects (including the picnic tables) were constructed. All of this work followed the meticulous plans of the National Park Service. Rolf T. Anderson, the author of the Gooseberry nominating report, wrote about the significance of NPS master plan guidance in a 1994 article titled “Minding The Masters: Minnesota’s State Park Landscape” (Appendix #20). In this article, Anderson writes about the planning for Gooseberry: “A variety of developed areas both increased the variety of experiences for the visitor and lessened the impact on the site.” Thus, the “picnic grounds located along Lake Superior and adjacent to the Gooseberry River, were oriented strictly for day users”, and served to draw some of the visitor congestion away from the falls area. And this is still exactly how the park functions today.
Maynerd Antilla collection, spring 1940 – CCC Camp 2710 above the Upper Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
Why this project? Cultural resources are important to the Minnesota State Park system, as noted in our Mission Statement: “We will work with the people of Minnesota to provide a state park system which preserves and manages Minnesota’s natural, scenic and cultural resources for present and future generations while providing appropriate recreational and educational opportunities.” Gooseberry Falls State Park has an official Park Plan, which identifies a Historical and Cultural Zone in the park. The plan states that “Activities and improvements should be limited to those which will not detrimentally affect the preservation and restoration of these sites…” in the Historic Zone. On a summary page, the plan also lists as one of the objectives of the park: “To develop trails, primitive camping and picnicking opportunities appropriate for a natural state park.” (Appendix #21). All of which gives us the official groundwork for the project. On a more personal level (as Assistant Manager of Gooseberry Falls State Park), I found it difficult to walk by the old tables and not wish there were a way to make them whole again, both for the use they could provide modern visitors and as part of the legacy of the CCC men (and boys) that built them. Finding funding was the problem. While preservation of these cultural resources is clearly a priority, the Minnesota State Parks Division must live with financial realities that do not always allow for every wish to be made real. If restoration funding is available, it must go to the highest and best use first, such as maintaining historic park buildings. This is completely logical and appropriate. This grant helped open the door for a different kind of project, though it turned out to be not so small after all.
Tom Hughes collection – tables at Gooseberry Kayak Site and Picnic Flow, 1930’s. This project was supported by Parks Division staff, including NE Regional Manager Jim Willford, NE Regional Park Operations Supervisor Mark Kovacovich, Parks Division Archaeologist Dave Radford, Parks Resource Management Specialists Tavis Westbrook and Harley Hanson, and Gooseberry Falls State Park Manager Paul Sundberg. I also received critical assistance from two other Division employees – NE Regional Naturalist Retta James-Gasser and Judge C.R. Magney State Park Manager Tom Ludwig.
This project included research into historic CCC table design and construction techniques, development of construction specifications, execution of a contract for table restoration work, GPS mapping of the contributing elements to the Gooseberry Falls NRHP Historic District, and development of an interpretive sign about the tables and the CCC at Gooseberry Falls State Park. Information about many of the above points will be presented in later sections – I’ll start with a walk-through of the reconstruction process (task #2). The exact project specifications are laid out in the Project Manual, Solicitation No:2007-127-02 (Appendix #9).
Task 2 - Reconstruction Process The tables are spread between 3 sites at the park: the Picnic Flow area on the shores of Lake Superior, Lady Slipper Lodge and the Kayak Site near the mouth of the Gooseberry River. Some had stonework that was relatively intact, but all needed tuckpointing new wooden tabletops and benches. A map of the table names and locations can be found in the Appendix (Appendix #3). As previously mentioned, their condition at the start of the project varied, but none of the 19 tables in question was intact. Some of them had wooden tops and benches, and some did not. None of the wood parts were original. Some tables were missing a few stones, two were nothing but a pile of rocks. All had various types of plant material growing on them, from picturesque orange lichens to grass and mosses. Some were buried in the surrounding vegetation. A photo collection in the Appendix documents the condition of each table in 2005 (Appendix #5). Here are just a few pictures:
LS2 - Audrey Butts, 9-16-05
PF2 - Audrey Butts, 9-17-05
PF2 - Audrey Butts, 9-18-05
PF6 - Audrey Butts, 9- 21-05
LS2 - Audrey Butts, 9-26-05
PF8 - Audrey Butts, 9-7-05
Removal of tops – There was some discussion during the design phase as to whether the painted wooden tops and benches should be salvaged, but the 1988 NRHP nominating report stated that the original logs had been replaced and these were in poor condition, so there didn’t seem to be much point in doing so. This point was clarified in the Addendum to the Project Manual/specification book (Appendix #10).
Tops removed - Audrey Butts, 9-15-07
Cleaning – We liked the look of orange lichens against the stone, but the first step of the rebuild process was to clean the structures, including removal of vegetation. Some of the orange crusty lichen survived, but all of the moss and surrounding vegetation was removed, giving a clean slate for the re-pointing of mortar joints.
PF2 or 4 - Audrey Butts, 9-18-05 LS2 before cleaning - Audrey Butts, 915-07
LS2 after - Audrey Butts, 9-
De-construction – All loose mortar and stones were removed from deteriorating structures. Stones were salvaged and cleaned in preparation for re-setting.
Terry Nelson on KS5 – Paul Sundberg, 9-17-07
PF1 - Audrey Butts, 9-19-07
LS1 - Audrey Butts, 9-23-07
Pokey McClelland & Loren Mesedahl, KS4 – Paul Sundberg, 9-17-07
KS4 – Audrey Butts, 9-15-07
PF7 – Audrey Butts, 9-23-07
Repointing/Stonework – According to the NRHP nominating report, materials for the original CCC structures were acquired in this manner: “The red granite was quarried in Duluth near the College of St. Scholastica, while the darker variety was taken from an outcropping near East Beaver Bay, just north of the park. The sand for the mortar was brought from Flood Bay, south of the park, and logs were obtained at Cascade River State Park.”
A big concern on this project was that all new stones and mortar should match the appearance, color and texture of the old materials as much as possible. It was not acceptable to use a new type of stone or to have bright white mortar joints on the finished product. Fortunately, we had matching CCC-era rocks available at our shop, salvaged over time from other construction projects in the park. These matched the tables perfectly in color and texture. Local (Gooseberry or Lafayette Tunnel) basalt is more porous and subject to disintegration than the rock used by the CCC’s, so was not an acceptable alternative.
Shop rockpile - Audrey Butts, 9-15-07
Audrey Butts, 9-15-07
The mortar mix used by the CCC had heavy sand/aggregate texture, often with a reddish coloring. In order to match this, the contractor started with 4 test panels of possible mixes. One was selected and a specific sand/aggregate formula was then used to achieve the desired effect. The techniques used to brush and tool the drying mortar were also important. The ‘recipe’ used is included in the Appendix (Appendix #15).
Old mortar on KS7 – Audrey Butts, 9-23-07
Audrey Butts, 9-15-07
Yellow/Brown gravel - Audrey Butts, 9-15-07
Test panels (# 4 selected) - Paul Sundberg, 10-10-07
Pokey McClelland working on PF3 – Paul Sundberg, 9-20-07
Loren and Steve Mesedahl at PF9 – Audrey Butts, 9-19-07
KS1 – Audrey Butts, 9-15-07
KS1 – Audrey Butts, 9-15-07
Acid wash – After drying several days, the stonework was treated with an acidic bath to remove some of the portland residue from the joint surfaces. This is brushed on and let alone for an hour or so until the aggregate comes through, then it’s washed off. The result is a more ‘aged’ appearance.
PF8 – Audrey Butts, 9-23-07
PF1 – Audrey Butts, 9-23-07
KS3 – Audrey Butts, 6-2-08
KS3 – Audrey Butts, 6-2-08
PF1 – Audrey Butts, 9-23-07
Logs – The logs finally arrived in October, supplied by Chippewa Forest Products. A non-toxic preservative had been used on the red pine logs, called “Envirosafe Wood Treatment”. The process was time consuming, with the chemical being shipped fresh from Florida to Bemidji, where the logs were treated. The orange color will gray as the logs weather.
Audrey Butts, 10-12-07
Park Shop - Audrey Butts, 10-29-07 Paul Sundberg, 10-12-07
Paul Sundberg, 11-05-07
Picnic Flow - Audrey Butts, 11-10-07
Fitting the Logs – This turned out to be a complicated process, due to the natural differences in log dimension and shape, even within standard size specifications. Also, the plans were somewhat vague on the fine details, so some negotiating needed to take place with the contractor. Some of the discussion points included the width of the benches (11”), how much to trim the edges of the logs, how many logs to use across the tabletop (5 shown in the drawing, but only 4 needed for width of 33”), the proper knee height between bench and tabletop (12”), etc. The tables that were re-built in the 1980’s on the Picnic Flow have a narrow knee height that can be uncomfortable, so we wanted to be sure this kind of detail was attended to this time. We also wanted a somewhat random look, more than a cookie cutter approach. It was time consuming to work through all of this, but the contractor finally put together a routine that could be used for all the tables, and work progressed quickly after that.
Steve and Loren Mesedahl - Paul Sundberg, 10-22-07
Pokey McClelland and coworker – Paul Sundberg, 11-16-07
A network of bolts was used to anchor the logs to the stone bases, and the bolts were held in place with epoxy. The nuts and washers in the middle were used to set the height of the sill logs, in order to reach the proper knee height for the tabletops.
Steve Mesedahl - Paul Sundberg, 10-22-07
Audrey Butts, 10-29-07
Audrey Butts, 10-29-07
KS1 - Paul Sundberg, 10-23-07
Roger Erickson and Steve Mesedahl negotiating at KS2 - Paul Sundberg, 10-31-07
KS1 Audrey Butts, 4-30-08
Pokey McClelland and PF7 - Paul Sundberg, 11-02-07
KS2 - Paul Sundberg, 10-31-07
Terry Nelson at PF8 - Paul Sundberg, 11-02-07
Alternate Design – Two tables of an alternate CCC design were included in this project – PF3 and PF6. Once again, there were many design issues to work out, including the shape of the ends of the logs (point or wedge) and the addition of the lengthwise logs under the tabletop lumber (they were first put together without them.
PF6 - Audrey Butts, 5-14-08
PF3 - Audrey Butts, 5-8-08
PF3 Audrey Butts, 6-6-08
PF3 Audrey Butts, 6-2-08
PF6 Audrey Butts, 6-6-08
PF6 Audrey Butts, 6-6-08
Finishing Work – The last step after fitting all the logs to each table was to complete the remaining mortar work under the sill logs. Sometimes - to get the desired knee height - this required additional stones to fill a large gap.
PF2 - Audrey Butts, 5-14-08
LS1 - Audrey Butts, 5-14-08
KS4 - Audrey Butts, 6-2-08
Once the top mortar dried, another acid bath was needed to finish off the look. With the wood tops in place, when the ‘bath water’ spilled on the logs and was not rinsed off right away, they became discolored by the chemicals. The only solution for this was to scrub the wood with bleach water, which removed most of the black coloration.
Jon Hendrickson examining KS1 - Paul Sundberg, 6-2-08
Acid bath for KS7 - Paul Sundberg, 6-2-08
LS1 - Audrey Butts, 6-6-08
PF4 after rinsing - Paul Sundberg, 6-2-08
Bolt holes – Another final detail was the need to finish the holes made for bolts in benches and table-tops. We originally decided to go with a wooden plug, but wood plugs don’t last forever and eventually would need to be replaced. The contractors asked if they could fill the holes with wood putty, which they thought would last longer and look just fine. However, the execution of this plan was hampered by wet spring conditions – the putty never had a chance to cure in the larger holes. In the end, all the bench holes were filled with wooded plugs, and putty was used on the table-tops.
PF2 - Audrey Butts, 6-2-08
CSI worker at KS1 -Audrey Butts, 6-2-08
LS2 finished top - Audrey Butts, 7-12-08
LS2 finished bench - Audrey Butts, 7-12-08
Some other finishing touches included sanding the log edges smooth and removing some knots that protruded under the tabletops. These were a hazard to bare knees on the benches below.
PF7 sanded - Audrey Butts, 6-2-08
PF2 marks - Audrey Butts, 6-2-08
Gravel – After the contract work was complete, the park undertook an extension to the project. Several tables had so much erosion around their base that their ‘feet’ were exposed. Two volunteer youth groups were employed to spread gravel under tables at the Kayak and ‘beach’ (PF7-9) areas. Later, a youth group from the Minnesota Conservation Corps summer program finished the latter site, and also spread gravel on the trail approach to these tables. All of the kids were enthusiastic and hard workers – we’re grateful for their help!
KS3 before - Audrey Butts, 9-18-07
KS3 after - Audrey Butts, 7-05-08
KS4 after -Audrey Butts, 7-05-
KS4 before -Audrey Butts, 9-
PF7 after - Audrey Butts, 7-05PF7 before - Audrey Butts, 5-14-08
Christa Miller and MCC crew - Audrey Butts, 7-18-08
MCC Crew at PF9
- Audrey Butts, 7-18-08
Steve Mesedahl, Foreman - Paul Sundberg, 9-20-07
Loren Mesedahl and Pokey McClelland, Stonemasons - Paul Sundberg, 9-27-07
Terry Nelson - Paul Sundberg, 9-20-07
Task 3 – Map The National Register of Historic Places nominating form says “The Gooseberry Falls State Park CCC/Rustic Style historic Resources are included within a 640 acre historic district defined by the original boundaries of the park. The district contains 88 contributing elements ranging from large scale construction projects to picnic tables and drinking fountains, all built along the dramatic falls of the Gooseberry River and the shoreline of Lake Superior.” (Appendix #23) Task 3 called for taking a closer look at the list of 88 elements and mapping them with GPS technology. The list includes major buildings and structures in the park, but it was the smaller structures and objects that interested me at this time, like the picnic tables. I wanted to find all 88 items on the list and document their location and condition. I hoped the resulting data would be useful for making future management decisions, as well as for interpretive purposes. This was actually some of the most enjoyable work in the whole project for me. It wasn’t hard to find everything I was looking for (but some of it was new to me), and I ended up finding more CCC things to document than the original 88, including some interesting remnants at the former 2710 camp. As the camp remnants were not intended to be part of the park, it’s logical that these aren’t on the NRHP nominating form. But, they’re still a part of our history, and certainly a curiosity when you stumble on them in the woods! In the appendix, there is a list that includes the 88 NRHP elements and the other items mentioned above (Appendix #26). . Following that is a section containing photographs of everything on the list. I also searched our park’s photo collection to finds historic images of these same items, and the ones I found are paired with the current ones in this same section (Appendix #27). The work of collecting GPS points was mostly done by two capable individuals -Tom Ludwig and Harley Hanson - over several field sessions. A bit more of the point data came from previous field work, and Tom put all of it together in one complete shape file. Tom also created the final Microsoft Publisher map from this data (Appendix #25). The printed map is a nice overview of the entire list of CCC elements, but it’s probably the shape file that will be of the most help in the future. The data can be viewed on the Landview program (Landview is the ‘common person’ GIS tool for non-technical MN DNR staff members), and it includes a data table with more information about each item on the map. Landview enables us to zoom in on a specific area and see these CCC elements in conjunction with other park features, like trails, campsites, roads and newer facilities. There was one other step early on, and that was the creation of a shape file for just the picnic tables. Tom also did this work, and we attached ‘hotlink’ files to each table, which could be brought up when a table was selected in the Landview program. These ‘hotlink’ files and the associated shape file are also included as deliverables for this project (Appendix #5). As part of this task, various historic files and maps were consulted for information relevant to this project. Some of these findings are also included in the Appendix, including a couple of pages from the CCC Camp 2710 monthly reports to Washington. The September, 1934 monthly narrative report includes a couple of photos of “Project #155, Table and Bench Construction on the Picnic Flow”. The Picnic Flow tables seem to have been completed by late summer 1935, as indicated by another page in the Progress Report for the months of August and September, 1935. These reports were obtained in 1994 on a visit to the National Archives by a MN State Park research team (Appendix #22). 23
Task 4 – Sign The fourth task called for the creation of an interpretive sign about the project that would be placed on permanent display near one of the three table locations. Early on, a temporary sign acknowledging the Coastal Program involvement in the project was put up on the trail through the Kayak Site area. After some discussion, it was decided that this would also make a good location for the final sign.
Temporary sign at Kayak Site - Audrey Butts, 9/23/07 The development of the sign rested heavily with our former Gooseberry Falls State Park Naturalist, Retta James-Gasser. Retta had already spent several years developing a series of interpretive signs about the CCC’s at Gooseberry, which she called the “CCC Legacy Self Guided Tour” sign series (Appendix #29). There are a number of these already installed around the park, and this new sign would be made to fit into that series, matching their look and content. Partway through the project, Retta was promoted to the NE Regional Naturalist position for MN State Parks. This made the execution of this phase of the project more difficult, as she suddenly had a huge new set of responsibilities, but Retta managed to continue helping me with this sign, and I think the resulting product is terrific! (Appendix #30) As I write this, the sign is the only part of this project that is not 100% complete. The development phase is over, a frame has been purchased, the sign has been ordered from a company called ‘Pannier’ in Pennsylvania, but we do not yet have it back from them (Appendix #31). When it arrives, we will immediately install it at the chosen site.
Gooseberry Falls State Park includes over 1687 acres of land on the north shore of Lake Superior, one of the most popular tourism regions in the state of Minnesota. When the park was developed, the picnic grounds were placed right on the shores of the lake so that visitors could enjoy its natural beauty. The restored tables again invite this recreational activity, and stand as a functional testament to the historic CCC program and the work of the ‘boys’ of Camp 1270. As it turns out, many members of the public were also glad to see the restoration of our park’s historic structures. We’ve received many favorable comments from visitors as the work has progressed – often including a phrase such as “I’m so glad to see these in use again!” Of course, like anything else, they’ll become part of the background and be used or not used as favorable weather and visitor attendance numbers fluctuate. But having them back restores an opportunity that was previously missing, and it makes the picnic areas complete again. Each of the 3 locations has it’s own charm:
Kayak Site – On the wooded shore of the river near the mouth, this is a place protected from the coolest lakeshore conditions, and is always interesting to visit. Spring brings high, fast water in the river that opens up the sand bar at the mouth. Summer is more placid, as the river drops to its lowest level. Wading is common here, where the CCC once built a swimming area. Fall brings fierce weather that re-builds the sandbar, and winter freezes the river solid. Fishing is popular at the mouth, and many visitors hike the trail down the river from the Visitor Center, which passes through the site. High up on the opposite bluff is a small stone picnic shelter, also a CCC construction project. There is also a Lake Superior Water Trail campsite at this location - a place for kayakers to find overnight shelter when traveling on the lake:
KS6-7 -Audrey Butts, 7-05-08
KS1-5 - Audrey Butts, 7-05-08
Park visitors at KS5 - Audrey Butts, 7-05-08
Picnic Flow – This is a gorgeous wide rocky shelf on the shore of Lake Superior. It’s splendid on a hot summer day (with bright sunshine and a cool lake breeze), a foggy spring morning, or anytime. The lake is a tremendous sight to experience – you can see across to Wisconsin, northeast to the features of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (Day Hill and Corundum Point) and lake vessels pass regularly in the distance:
All Picnic Flow photos above by Audrey Butts, 7-05-08. 26
3 of the Picnic Flow tables (PF7-9) are over the back edge of the lava flow, situated near a pebble beach. This is a nice shady spot to stop and watch the waves or count driftwood sculptures:
PF8 - Audrey Butts, 4-30-08
PF7 & 8 - Audrey Butts, 7-05-
PF9 - Audrey Butts, 7-05-08
Lady Slipper - This a more secluded setting, quiet and peaceful, off the beaten path, a lovely wooded grove near the historic Lady Slipper Lodge:
Audrey Butts, 7-05-08
Thinking back to the application process, I’d have to say all the goals that were set forth at that time have been fully met. All 19 of the historic tables in need of rehabilitation were attended to, an interpretive sign will be permanently located at the Kayak Site to inform visitors about this project and to give information about another aspect of the CCC contribution to the park, and new tools were generated to help the park manage it’s historic resources through the GPS mapping portion of the project. All of this will benefit park visitors most directly, but it will also benefit the people of Minnesota in indirect ways, such as when park visitors spend money in local establishments or when Minnesotans bring visitors from around the world to the park to ‘show off’ their state treasures. The people of Minnesota are the ‘owners’ of our state park system, and they are due a healthy and well-managed system, with facilities that stand the test of time. Copies of this report will be made available to the State Historic Preservation Office and to Park Archaeologists, as well as Gooseberry Falls State Park interpretation staff members.
Issues & lessons learned This entire process was a learning experience for me, as project manager, but it was also very satisfying to be able to see it through to a successful ending. There were many small issues to deal with along the way, but there were also a few larger concerns to overcome: Funding - One of the larger problems to resolve was the financing of the project. The grant was written to work on up to 19 of the tables. $15,000 of the matching funds was to come from the State Park Resource Program through the Working Capital account. These are funds generated from merchandise and consumable sales in state parks. I had a ‘ballpark’ estimate of what each table might cost, but I knew there would be no accurate numbers available until the end of the bid process. I did know it would be expensive, so I wrote the grant figuring that we would do what we could for the dollars available, which might only be a couple of tables. I could write another grant at some point in the future for the balance of the work. Management Resources became involved after the grant was received, and Architectural Drafting Technician Al Meyer was assigned to draw up the plans and write the contract specifications (Appendix #9). My intention was not clearly communicated to him, so the bid specs he wrote called for one complete bid price, not a per table cost. This meant we couldn’t pick a few of the tables to work on - it was all or nothing. In the long run, this was definitely the right way to proceed – all the tables would get finished at the same time and the overall cost should be lower than if only a few were done at a time over several years. However, when the bids were opened, the total cost was far and away above what was budgeted. 5 bids were received – the highest was $152,000 and the low bid was $85,000, or $4475 per table (Appendix #11). What to do? One option was to do the entire bid process over on a per-table basis, but the timing for this was not good – we were too near the end of our fiscal year (the bid opening date was 5/31/07, FY07 ended 6/30/07), and funds devoted to the project needed to be encumbered, lest they disappear and put the outcome in jeopardy. The design process had been slowed down when Parks and MN DOT became interested in combining several projects (rebuilding the Split Rock 28
Lighthouse highway overlook, restoration of the Falls View Shelter and Concourse wall at Gooseberry) into one bid to get a lower overall price. After some delay, it was decided that the table project should move ahead on its own because this one was so much smaller than the others and the timing wasn’t quite right for the other projects. The second option was to come up with the extra $45,000 (the $50,000 grant included $10,000 of in-kind funding and $40,000 total cash). I wasn’t privy to all the discussions happening above my head, but in the end, the project became a priority and dollars were found. This was chiefly from Accelerated Maintenance end-of-year funds, and thanks go to many people for this decision. In particular, I’d like to thank DNR Parks Development & Real Estate Manager Larry Peterson for the work of coordinating and approving the funding. The Management Resources/Engineering costs were also not directly charged to this project, which meant more dollars could go to the actual contract work. It turned out that the same contractor won another project at Gooseberry that happened at the same time (the shop warehouse addition), so the oversight of both projects was convenient to arrange. The alternate project that was a part of the bid could not be done, due to the high overall cost. This was for maintenance on the 10 tables re-built in the 1980’s on the Picnic Flow. As I mentioned, this was the right way to proceed, but the issue might have been avoided if the grant had been written for a larger dollar amount in the first place. But there’s also the chance that, if I had asked for more money from the Parks Division, I would not have gotten approval to even apply for the grant. So, I’m happy with the result - I hope others are, too.
NE Regional Parks Manager Paul Maurer, RPOS Mark Kovacovich and Larry Peterson contemplate work on PF9 - Paul Sundberg, 10-01-07
Length of logs – Because of the delay in bidding and another paperwork issue after the project was awarded, the Notice to Proceed was dated 8/2/07 and the pre-construction meeting did not happen until 8/28/07. In the fall of 2007, work was progressing nicely, until an error was discovered in the length of logs ordered for the project. All the logs that came with the first order were of the same length, 9’. After the log work had begun and parts were being assembled, we realized that there were no logs long enough to fit about half the tables – these needed 12’ logs. Due to the length of time needed for re-ordering logs of the correct length and the late fall weather, an extension for the grant was needed (and granted). Why was this mistake made? Information was in the specs about the varying size of the tables and the final plans showed that an 18” log overhang was needed (beyond the stone base). The contract also included language stating that the contractor was responsible for verifying existing conditions before proceeding with the work and that they were to match the original historic CCC design as closely as possible. They did not do this, and so the contractor paid for the new logs. For me, working with the contractor was a most educational experience.
KS2, a 9’ table - Paul Sundberg, 10-12-07
KS1, a 12’table - Paul Sundberg, 10-12-07
KS4 - Audrey Butts, 11-05-07
Pokey McClelland and Steve Mesedahl at PF6 -Paul Sundberg, 11-09-07
- Paul Sundberg, 12-15-07
Time, or the lack there-of – Task 3 and 4 were very interesting, but I needed the expert help of two other DNR staff members to see these through – one with a great deal of GIS experience, the other with the technical and interpretive knowledge needed to create a quality sign. Turns out that it’s not so easy to meet deadlines when you are dependant on other people’s schedules. Tom Ludwig has his own park to attend to (Judge C.R. Magney), and he spends the winter working on many other GIS assignments. Working with me was something he didn’t have to do, and I am extremely grateful for his help. Retta was the Gooseberry Falls Park Naturalist when I started this project, but right about when I should have been finalizing some of the design details for the sign, she got a wonderful new opportunity and moved on to become the NE Regional Naturalist for Minnesota State Parks. Which brought her an entirely new set of duties, all very pressing and time consuming. Again, she did not have to help me with this project, and I’m extremely grateful that she was still able to do so. I guess the moral is to be patient, but persistent. In the end, the mapping project was completed before the deadline (grant end date of 6/30/08), but it wasn’t possible to submit the order for the sign before early July, 2008. As I write this report, it will still be a couple of weeks before the sign arrives and can be installed. In the meantime, our temporary Coastal Project sign is in place, and I’m still practicing patience. Pictures/project oversight – I do not have a deep background in the area of historic facility rehabilitation, so I knew I would need to rely on many other people to get this project done. Particularly, I counted on the professional DNR staff in the offices of Management Resources – both for their expertise and because of the dollar size of the contract. Architect Al Meyer, engineer Jon Hendrickson and Region MR staff members Roger Erickson and Tim Bradshaw were the guys that made this project work. Roger was especially helpful, visiting the park on a regular basis to meet with the contractor and park staff members. I would also like to extend my thanks to my supervisor, Gooseberry Falls Park Manager Paul Sundberg. As Manager of Gooseberry since 1983, Paul has plenty of experience working with development projects, including the building of our Visitor Center facility and the new Hwy. 61 bridge. This was small in comparison, but Paul was an excellent guide for me to learn from in this process, taking a close interest in all the details and negotiations. Even better, Paul is an expert photographer, and took many of the pictures in this report (all the good ones). I’m grateful for all the help I received. 31
Expansions It’s funny how unrelated events sometimes converge around a common theme. During the summer of 2007, a bronze statue commemorating the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps was installed and a dedication ceremony was held at Gooseberry Falls State Park. The statue is of a CCC worker, and he stands below the Concourse wall, gazing up at this historic structure. There were several members of Company 2710 that attended the dedication, and it was wonderful to talk with them about their experience. At about the same time, a Minnesota Conservation Corps youth group was at the park working on a project. They cleared brush from and excavated two of the cabin foundations at the actual CCC camp area. They also exposed a stone walkway there, and have returned in 2008 to work on some other parts of the camp. In the future, we hope to provide more interpretive signing in this area. The project to shore up the masonry of the Concourse wall is currently underway, under the guidance of the MN Department of Transportation (the wall is within the Hwy. 61 right-of-way). Also this summer, we are developing a paved bike trail at Gooseberry Falls, the Gitchi Gami Trail. A great deal of work went into planning the route through the park so that historic resources would not be compromised. The happy coincidence is that the trail runs by the refurbished tables, ending at the Picnic Flow parking lot. This has the potential to bring many more visitors down to this beautiful area in the future, and I hope they’ll put the tables to good use. As for what comes next, there’s more work to do. Historic features at the park that are in good condition now need to be maintained, and there are other historic elements that need to be repaired, including the stone pillars on the picnic flow, drinking fountains and fireplaces. There are challenges and opportunities enough to keep the staff at Gooseberry busy long into the future. Let me end by thanking the people at Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program for helping us with this project – I think it’s made a wonderful improvement in our facilities at Gooseberry Falls State Park.