Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category


By: Kathy Landis and Kate Holsopple

Some may be asking, “What is this building for?” or even “Why another building?” As the saying goes “A picture paints 1000 words”, so we offer this picture of the garage at the end of last summer. At the end of each summer, we pack things up… into the spaces that we have. The garage being the biggest open space, is rearranged for all the large items. In addition, throughout the summer season, camping gear and maintenance equipment share the same space. This works OK until a canoeing group needs to get gear when the maintenance staff is using power tools. As camp activity increases, so does the tightness of multi-used spaces such as the garage. Thus, the dovetail building.

Dovetail is a type of construction that is used to join corners. Most of us only see it in dresser drawers or small items. The Finnish of Northern Minnesota used it for making buildings. They created dovetail homes, garages, saunas, barns and other outbuilding. See the photo for the detail on the building. (To add to the historical context of the building, Finnish people immigrated to the area in the late 1880. The buildings are made well as they have lasted over 100 years. They came to mine iron ore, but homesteaded in flat areas like Embarrass and Palo as they were easier to farm).

Last summer, one such garage was for sale. It had been taken down and moved from Embarrass, Minnesota and was ready for a new home. This summer, it was reconstructed at Wilderness Wind. As is often the case, many hands and contributions have made this building possible. Thank you!



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Dave Leonard and Don Molgren set the foundation of this year’s project.

By Kevin Wilder, current board member and past volunteer

For the past 7 years I have brought a small group of guys every other year to help with foundations for construction projects and to fish in the evening. It has been a good experience with each intergenerational group of men. These groups have included high school age, college age, a “senior” college professor, young adults, a retired carpenter, a couple of industrial arts teachers and a refinery worker as participants. We created the basic structure for The Gathering Place at Lakeside (2006), foundation and floor/platform for the 30-foot Yurt at Lakeside (2008), the foundation and floor for the bunkhouse (2010) and replaced the foundation for Bear’s Den for the BIg City Mountaineer’s (BCM) storage building this year. My body is always extremely tired from the physical labor, but mind and spirit are rested. I am teacher and student so this is a welcome break for me. We have worked with Kathy on all these projects and with Dave on the last three. It has been good. The relationships with the people on these projects have all taken a depth that would have taken much longer in our normal interactions. I am extremely grateful for these relationships. Living, working, fishing and driving together has made for great conversations and memories.

2012 Project: Create foundation, gut, insulate and put walls and ceiling back up in Bear’s Den.

John Reimer installing much needed insulation.

2012 Fish and Serve crew: Roger and John Reimer, Kevin Wilder, and Don Molgren.

I am finishing my first year on the board and I am very excited about what we offer for individuals, families and youth on our wilderness trips and cabin rentals, but what made me want to be a board member is our connection to Big City Mountaineers. There are a couple reasons for this enthusiasm. First, part of my story is a two- year service assignment in Indianapolis where I took inner city kids on canoe, hiking and bike trips in connection with my work in a teen center that networked for social services and led Bible Studies for the kids. I really believe that these canoe trips can reframe the way people see themselves and the world. Secondly, I have been reading Outside Magazine for over 20 years and in the past few years they have written about the work of BCM. I always wanted to do something that made Outside Magazine. We have all been part of something that is impacting people, and Wilderness Wind is doing just that. I already have guys asking about the 2014 Fish and Serve trip.

Glimpses into past Fish and Serve Projects and People:

2006: The Gathering Place at Lakeside begins.

One of the next steps.

All ready for people to gather.

The Beginnings of the foundation of the 30-foot Yurt at Lakeside.

Brent Gehman came all the way from PA to help build.

A sizeable contribution, indeed!

The 2008 Fish and Serve crew: Don Molgren Luke Wagner, Elliot Widner, Brent Gehman and Kevin Wilder

2010: Mark Ropp joins the bunkhouse project.

2010: Mark Horst joins the bunkhouse project.

 Matt Ropp and Kevin Wilder… I am not sure I would call that a cookie break!

Buildings are always a bit of a balancing act. Marion Bontrager, Dave Leonard and Glenn Gilbert.

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