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Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program

North Shore SNA and State Park Outreach

November 30, 2007

Project Number 306-STAR04-07

Contract Number A99756

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

Park and SNA outreach report, Page 1 of 3

The goal of this project was to increase significantly public awareness and appreciation of
the coastal Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs) and State Parks of the North Shore. By
bridging a gap over the State of Minnesota biennial budgets, coastal program funding will
allow a valuable outreach program to continue through the most important months of
North Shore visitation.

This project accomplished that goal by:
• Researching, producing and distributing an updated guide to North Shore Scientific
and Natural Areas
• Researching visitor trends to North Shore SNAs
• Providing learning cart outreach programs
o In SNAs
o In state parks

Work Completed

All of the deliverables proposed (and as amended) were completed:

• Completed SNA booklet
• List of initial distribution sites (in Final Program Report)
• Report on initial testing of SNA cart locations (in Final Program Report)
• Photos of learning cart in use at parks and SNAs (in Final Program Report)
• Final report on outreach program, including booklet distribution (in Final
Program Report)


See Final Program Report


Sugarloaf and its partners in the Minnesota DNR were pleased with the results of this
program. The SNAs are emerging as a genuine public resource, especially the more
accessible sites at Iona’s Beach and Sugarloaf Cove.

As Molly writes in the Final Program Report:

Overall, it was another successful summer for the Learning Cart. Visitors to the North Shore are
eager to learn more about this beautiful area and the Learning Cart helped fulfill that need at a variety
of locations.

Park and SNA outreach report, Page 2 of 3
Appendices –

a. Identify, attach or cite any published articles, media reports, web pages, newsletter articles etc. that
resulted from the project.

Sugarloaf website excerpts in Final Program Report.

b. Pictures that illustrate the results of the project. MLSCP may use the images in reports to NOAA
or other agencies, or for other outreach and education materials in the future.

Photos are in Final Program Report.

Park and SNA outreach report, Page 3 of 3
Sugarloaf SNA and Park Outreach program
Summer 2007
Final Program Report

Submitted by Molly Thompson, Sugarloaf Program Manager

History and Funding
The ShoreLink Learning Cart program was first offered during the summer of 2005,
funded by a grant from the Lake Superior Coastal Program. An interpreter was hired to
engage the general public in short, fun learning activities about the natural and cultural
history of Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior.
It was decided that soliciting funding from local agencies and businesses affiliated with
the North Shore would be a great opportunity for Sugarloaf to build local partnerships
and for the partners to “get their message out” in a cost efficient manner. The
businesses/organizations that agreed to fund the program for the summer of 2006.

Although all partners agreed that the 2006 Learning Cart program was a success, not
all partners were able to provide funding for 2007. The North Shore Scenic Drive, Grand
Portage Lodge and Casino, and Coastal Power and Light did not provide funding. To
fund the 2007 Learning Cart, additional partners were needed.

To fill the funding gap, the Lake Superior Coastal Program provided a STAR grant. The
STAR grant provided funding for testing the delivery of Learning Cart programs at five
Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs) in June and for delivering Learning Cart programs
at state parks and SNAs from June 11 to August 24. Additional funding was provided
for the production of a booklet about the Scientific and Natural Areas of the North Shore

SNA Booklet production

Task 1 of this funding was the production of a booklet about the Scientific and Natural
Areas of the North Shore area. The booklet was adapted from existing DNR sources
including the DNR web site and the 1999 book A Guide to Minnesota’s Scientific and
Natural Areas. Additionally, Sugarloaf staff field-checked all sites and Steve Wilson, a
DNR SNA regional coordinator, reviewed all text for accuracy.

The final product is an 8-page booklet, The Ten Best Places of the North Shore: A
Visitor’s Guide to North Shore Scientific and Natural Areas. Directions to the SNA, the
availability of facilities, recommended activities, signature species and a description of
each site are included. A copy of this booklet is included at the end of this report.

Distribution of the booklet took place at several locations. The Learning Cart Interpreter
offered it to visitors throughout the summer at all of the SNAs the Learning Cart visited.
The booklet was also available at Sugarloaf Cove and at Sugarloaf’s North Shore

Final Program Report. Page 1 of 12
Interpretive Center in Duluth. Initial user comments were very positive. They were
happy to learn about undiscovered, quiet places to visit along the shore.

Initial Pilot Program at SNAs and Delivery of Program at State Parks and SNAs

Task 2 is divided into two sections. The first section is a review of the Learning Cart
pilot program at Scientific and Natural Areas. The second section is a review of the
Learning Cart program at the State Parks and SNAs during the rest of the summer.

Learning Cart SNA Pilot Program – June 2007

Sugarloaf’s Learning Cart was offered as a pilot program at four Scientific and Natural
Areas (SNAs) during June 2007 – Iona’s Beach, Sugarloaf Cove, Butterwort Cliffs (at
Cascade River State Park), and Minnesota Point. The program was presented to 127
people over three days. The site with the most participants was at the Cascade River
trail center with 57 people. The fifth site, Hemlock Ravine, was tested on July 17, due
to the travel logistics of the interpreter.

Overall, the Learning Cart Interpreter found that visitors were not very familiar with the
North Shore’s SNAs. Visitors to the sites generally only knew about the site they were
visiting but were regular visitors to that site. The only exception was at Cascade State
Park, where people were generally not aware of SNAs at all. Because Butterwort Cliffs
SNA is closed to visitors during the summer months, the Learning Cart was offered
instead at the Cascade River State Park trail center. Therefore, a lack of awareness of
SNAs was much more likely and expected at this site.

To help remedy the lack of awareness, Sugarloaf developed a guide to the North Shore
SNAs for distribution by the Learning Cart Interpreter.

A brief summary of activities at each site follows:

Iona’s Beach
On June 16 and June 21 the cart was at Iona’s Beach in the morning, from 10am
to 12:30pm. The topics were North Shore Geology, with a focus on the geology
of Iona’s Beach, and Scientific and Natural Areas.

On June 16 there were twenty-nine participants. The majority of these
participants were repeat visitors to Iona’s, and they were familiar with the SNA
concept from previous visits. Only a few people seemed to be aware of other

On June 21 there were ten participants. Eighty percent were repeat visitors.

Sugarloaf Cove

Final Program Report. Page 2 of 12
During the afternoon of June 16, the Learning Cart was at Sugarloaf Cove SNA.
The topics presented were North Shore geology and Scientific and Natural
Areas. There were sixteen participants, approximately half of which were repeat
hikers of the Sugarloaf Trails.

Butterwort Cliffs
On June 19, the Learning Cart was at the Cascade State Park trail center from
10 am – 4 pm. This was the contact point for Butterwort Cliffs SNA. The topics
presented were North Shore wildlife, North Shore geology, and Scientific and
Natural Areas. There were fifty-seven participants. On a whole, the visitors were
not at all familiar with SNA’s. One family was familiar with Sugarloaf Cove.

Minnesota Point
On June 22, the cart was at Minnesota Point SNA. The topics were Scientific
and Natural Areas, bird watching, and Minnesota flora. There were fifteen
participants. Most of the visitors were familiar with the trail and Minnesota Point,
but they were not familiar with SNA’s.

Hemlock Ravine
This SNA is located adjacent to Jay Cooke State Park and visitors must have
permission to visit the ravine due to sensitive plant species. Angie set up the cart
along the Munger trail. Visitors were very interested and Angie found it easy to
talk about the SNA due to her close proximity to it. The State Park managers
were pleased with the self sufficiency of the Learning Cart and with the
educational benefit it offered to their visitors.

WTIP public radio out of Grand Marais read aloud the attached press release on the
day they received it. The Duluth News Tribune featured the Learning Cart in their June
17 Outdoor Notes section. See Appendix 1.

Additionally, the Learning Cart locations were listed on the Sugarloaf web site program
page (See Appendix 2)

These pilot programs revealed a need for greater publicity about the North Shore SNAs.
People enjoy the sites they are aware and are typically repeat visitors. Visitors were
also eager to learn more about SNAs and the new booklet helped fulfill this need. We
would recommend continuing the Learning Cart program at all sites and expanding the
distribution of the booklet.

Final Program Report. Page 3 of 12
Learning Cart Program at State Parks and SNAs

The Learning Cart provided programs at SNAs and State Parks from June 14 – August
31. The programs were provided three days a week, from 10 am to 3 pm. One day a
week it was at a SNA or adjacent park, and two days per week it was at state parks
without SNAs. In some cases, the program was at one site in the morning and moved
to a different site for the afternoon. Photographs of the Learning Cart at a variety of
sites are attached as Appendix 4.

A folding sign displayed the Coastal Program logo. An additional sign directed visitors
to SNA Learning Cart locations that were not easily visible from Highway 61 or near
busy visitor corridors.

Site Reports

There are 10 SNAs along the North Shore including Hemlock Ravine at Jay Cooke
State Park. The Learning Cart was set up at four of these sites. At each site, the new
North Shore SNA guide was distributed to visitors. Angie discovered that many visitors
were unaware of SNAs and happy to receive information about them.

Iona’s Beach SNA - The Learning Cart was presented at this SNA for three days during
the summer. The main topic was geology of the North Shore, including the rhyolite
“shingles” that make Iona’s Beach unique. Angie found that many visitors to Iona’s
Beach were repeat visitors and aware of its SNA status. They were not as aware of the
other North Shore SNAs.

Minnesota Point SNA - The Learning Cart was offered four days at this site. The cart
was set up near the airport where it attracted SNA and beach visitors. The majority of
visitors were walking dogs, biking or walking the beach. At this site, she discussed the
unique geology and plant species of the SNA. Angie found visitors at this site were very
interested and interesting. One visitor came back from Mexico to visit Duluth again and
could not leave without visiting Minnesota Point.

Sugarloaf Cove SNA – The Learning Cart was set up at Sugarloaf Cove 7 days during
the summer. Many visitors had been to the site previously. The number of visitors
varied greatly, from a low of 2, to a high of 31. The busy day included a group of
women having a reunion that involved visiting Sugarloaf Cove and looking for
wildflowers. On one of the less busy days, the numbers Angie reported do not include
the group of schoolchildren from Birch Grove. Angie gave a wildlife program to 13
students and 3 adults. She also played a game about moose populations with them.
The kids (and Angie) had a great time.

Butterwort Cliffs SNA/Cascade River State Park – Because access to this site is
allowed only by obtaining a permit from the DNR, the Learning Cart was set up at
Cascade River State Park. Angie taught people about North Shore geology, wildlife,

Final Program Report. Page 4 of 12
and herring gulls. Half way through the summer, a herring gull egg replica was added to
the display, and Angie found this prop was very popular with young visitors. Angie
really enjoyed setting up at this site and was consistently busy. She also noted that the
staff was very nice.

State Parks and Wayside
Gooseberry Falls State Park – Angie spent one very busy afternoon at Gooseberry Falls
at the request of Retta James-Gasser. This was her second busiest day of the summer.
She spoke to at least 185 people in about 3 hours! She set up the cart along the trail to
the falls and discussed North Shore geology and wildlife.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park – The Learning Cart alternated locations between the
trail center and the scenic pull-off just south of the park entrance on Hwy 61. Generally,
the pull-off was busier with visitors who were more interested in the Learning Cart
topics. Topics offered included wildlife, geology and firewood restrictions.

Some of Angie’s more interesting trail center visitors at were part of a youth religious
group. They had selected the trail center as their weekly meditation site. The kids were
not allowed to speak, so Angie would have to just smile and say hi, but not have a
conversation with them. The leaders were allowed to speak so she did interact with

Tettegouche State Park and Palisade Head – The Learning Cart was very popular at
both of these sites. Angie notes that visitors to Palisade Head seemed to be in
particularly good moods and interested in the Learning Cart. She also mentioned that
the staff was very nice to her. Topics offered included wildlife, geology and firewood

Temperance River State Park – Angie initially set the cart up near the restroom area but
found that she did not get to interact with many visitors. A staff person recommended
that she move to t he picnic area and her visitor numbers more than doubled. She
added a couple of new topics to her cart at this location. In addition to North Shore
geology and wildlife, she discussed clouds and watershed information.

Judge Magney State Park – Angie tried the Learning Cart at this site for one afternoon.
She stationed the cart at the picnic area on the way to the trail to Devil’s Kettle. This
was not a very busy site, but may be worth trying again in the future.

Grand Portage State Park – This was a very popular site for the Learning Cart. During
one of her days at the site, Angie interacted with almost the same number of people as
she did during a typical Saturday at Canal Park. Angie describes this site as
“awesome” and said people were very happy to have someone sharing North Shore
information with them. Last year the cart was offered only one afternoon a week at the
park, for about 2-3 hours. This year we were able to offer it for much longer times (3-5
hours) and on a variety of weekdays and one Saturday. Cart topics were North Shore
geology and wildlife.

Final Program Report. Page 5 of 12
Cutface Creek Wayside – We decided to try this site because it looked like a potentially
busy area. Angie was stationed here for 3 half days, but was rained out on one of the
days. Although there were surprisingly few visitors, Angie did note that they were very
interested and spoke with her for quite awhile. She discussed North Shore geology with
an emphasis on Thomsonite.

Visitor Contact Statistics

Angie kept track of the number of visitors to the cart. I have attached a spreadsheet
with the visitor counts for each week at each site. (See Appendix 3) The total number of
visitors Angie spoke to was at least 2089. There were 522 SNA visitors and 1567 State
Park visitors

Miscellaneous Observations
During the summer, I received praise for Angie’s presentations at the State Parks from
the park managers. We are glad we are able to provide this service to an eager group
of visitors.

State Parks and SNAs
The funding we obtained this year allowed Angie to visit more of the state parks and we
found the majority of these sites worked very well. Visitors were ready to learn and
were looking for more information. At some sites, it was difficult for Angie to leave and
move on to the next spot, due to the abundance of visitors. Next year, I would
recommend having the Learning Cart assigned to some of the more popular sites such
as Palisade Head and Grand Portage State Park for entire days, instead of moving to
other sites.

Overall, it was another successful summer for the Learning Cart. Visitors to the North
Shore are eager to learn more about this beautiful area and the Learning Cart helped
fulfill that need at a variety of locations.

Final Program Report. Page 6 of 12
Appendix 1 – SNA Learning Cart Press Release


June 12, 2007

Sugarloaf teams up with DNR for Natural Area programs

Sugarloaf: The North Shore Stewardship Association announced today that it has contracted with the Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources to offer outreach programs at and about special natural areas of the North Shore.
The programs begin June 20 and will run through August.

The Scientific and Natural Area, or “SNA” program, preserves natural features and rare resources of exceptional
scientific and educational value. There are ten SNA’s on the North Shore, ranging from Hemlock Ravine in Jay
Cooke State Park to Spring Beauty Northern Hardwoods east of Grand Marais. Most of these SNAs are open to the
public and the DNR encourages visitation there.

Sugarloaf has a long history of collaboration with the SNA program, especially with Sugarloaf Point SNA at
Sugarloaf Cove, set aside for its unique geologic features. “These North Shore SNAs are a real treasure,” said
Sugarloaf Executive Director Andrew Slade. “I hope a lot more people get out and experience them because of this

The SNA outreach program features interactive learning cart programs at four selected SNAs: Minnesota Point Pine
Forest, Iona’s Beach, Sugarloaf Cove, and Butterwort Cliffs. The outreach program will also produce a new visitors
guide to all North Shore SNAs. The visitors guide will be available July 1 and will be distributed at the learning cart

The first learning cart programs have already been scheduled. North Shore visitors and residents are invited to come
to these programs, learn more about SNAs, and explore the rich natural heritage they protect.

Saturday, June 16, 10:00-12:30 Iona’s Beach, at milepost 42 between Gooseberry and Split Rock Lighthouse
state parks. Parking area in Twin Points Water Access.

Saturday, June 16, 1:30-4:00 Sugarloaf Cove, at milepost 73 between Little Marais and Schroeder

Wednesday, June 20 1:00-4:00 Sugarloaf Cove

Thursday, June 21, 10:00-12:30 Iona’s Beach

Friday, June 22, 10:00-12:30 Minnesota Point Pine Forest, at the end of Park Point in Duluth, near Sky
Harbor Airport

Starting July 1, the learning cart schedule will be available at and will be distributed
to local newspapers. Sugarloaf’s Slade recommends that people watch for the “Natural Area Program Today” sign.
For more information, contact Molly Thompson at or 218-525-0001.

This project is funded by the SNA program and 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.

Final Program Report. Page 7 of 12
Appendix 2

Final Program Report. Page 8 of 12
Final Program Report. Page 9 of 12
Appendix 3

Learning Cart Visitor Contact Numbers - Summer 2007
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11
(6/14-6/23) (6/26-6/30) (7/3-7/7) (7/9-7/14) (7/17-7/21) (7/24-7/28) (7/30-8/4) (8/7-8/11) (8/13-8/18) (8/21-8/25) (8/27-8/31) 9/8 Site totals
Iona's Beach 39 20 13 72
Sugarloaf Cove 16 12 2 2 16 31 9 88
Butterwort Cliffs/Cascade 57 37 29 60 40 223
Minnesota Point 15 21 41 24 101
Hemlock Ravine 38 38
127 0 20 70 67 2 43 76 84 33 SNA Total 522
Gooseberry Falls State Park 185 185
Split Rock Lighthouse SP Trail 39 26 16 33 43 18 175
Split Rock Lighthouse pulloff 22 44 77 46 189
Palisade Head 35 48 48 131
Tettegouche State Park 27 37 42 43 74 39 262
Temperance River State Park 22 28 4 43 97
Grand Portage State Park 14 17 45 67 340 483
Judge Magney State Park 12 12
Cutface Creek Wayside 14 7 12 33
110 0 75 110 117 289 199 4 223 100 340 State Park Total 1567

Weekly Totals 237 0 95 180 184 291 242 80 307 133 340 0 Grand Total 2089

** Notes:

6/26-30 vacation
Week 11 - Every day at GPSP; some AM only others all day; 3 PMs at GM

Final Program Report. Page 10 of 12
Appendix 4 - Learning Cart in action

Minnesota Point SNA

Tettegouche State Park

Final Program Report. Page 11 of 12
Split Rock Lighthouse SP scenic wayside

SNA directional sign
Final Program Report. Page 12 of 12

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