Fox Along the North Shore: Tettegouche State Park

SILVER BAY, Minn. — After a long winter with several areas seeing record snowfall, there was plenty of snow to keep the waterfalls roaring this spring.  With the spring melt over, rivers are now relying on other sources to fuel the waterfalls. We recently ventured up to Tettegouche State Park where some of the last remaining snow in the Northland was still melting into the Baptism River.

“The Baptism River headwaters is quite large. And it’s draining all these swamps, and fens, and wetlands, and small streams. And there’s still snow up by Isabella, there’s still snow up by Finland. A little bit. It’s melting. Once that melts, the ground will be saturated, that’s going to drain out as well, and then we’ll see the river start dropping,” said Kurt Mead, interpretive naturalist at Tettegouche State Park

Since our visit to Tettegouche, the last of the snow melted and the Baptism River is now tapping into those other water sources. In the meantime, Mead expects the park to remain a popular destination.

“The springtime, kind of the pent up energy in the springtime is almost palpable. You can just really feel people wanting to get out and do stuff. 90% of our visitation at the park is kind of in the High Falls, down through Two Step Falls, Cascade Falls, to the mouth of the river. That’s about it. So if you can get farther into the park, you’re going to find fewer people and discover new things for yourself,” said Mead.

With four waterfalls and 23 miles of hiking trails to explore, Travis Pierzina from Grand Rapids is one of those few people out looking for new things to discover.

“Every year I come up I find new spots to explore and little hidden nooks here and there. So, it still keeps giving after, you know, 25 years. I just feel like this area in particular is a really gorgeous gem in Minnesota and we should really just be trying our best to go out and check it out,” said Pierzina.

For those who visit the park simply for the waterfalls themselves, nobody can blame you because there really is something about waterfalls.

“I enjoy them as well. It’s just the power of them. You stand near one of these big falls and you can actually feel the thundering in the rocks beneath your feet. You can feel it in your body,” said Mead.

Meanwhile, Kurt encourages everyone to step away from the modern world and take the opportunity to reconnect with nature.

“It’s so important that we get ourselves a good dose of nature on a regular basis. We’re living in the modern, electronic world and that disconnection to the natural world is, is not good. So getting people out playing and hiking and experiencing the forest in whatever way they do, you know is good because then you have those people will have ownership of these public lands,” said Mead.

With that ownership comes a sense of responsibility to maintain the natural beauty for future visitors of the North Shore. Travis shares that sense of ownership and understands that part of joy found in nature lies in its cleanliness.

“If you do come up, just uh, please don’t leave a bunch of trash behind, cuz a lot of us really love this place. It’s brought a lot of joy into my life and I’m pretty confident it would bring joy to others as well,” said Pierzina

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