Bearskin’s detailed Covid-19 plans — everything you wish you knew, and more

Bearskin Lodge 2020 Covid-10 Plans

Our summer of 2020 will be a little different, like most of life seems to be these days. We are striving to plan a safe summer that offers all your expected services, but still follows guidelines for providing a safe vacation experience in the Northwoods. Bearskin cabins offer the perfect way to self-isolate in a natural setting, but there will be times when you’ll need our assistance. Here’s what you need to know in order to keep us all healthy and happy while you’re here.

What we’re doing to keep you (and us) safer:

  • The Monday family picnic, the bonfire, the July 4th party, and any group gatherings will not be held in 2020. This is in accordance with state and national guidelines. (By now, this is nothing new for most of us.)  Let’s plan to make next year an extra special celebration of all these fun gatherings.
  • It will not be possible to hold group activities and art classes. We have great plans for activities you can do in your cabin as well as outdoors. Our staff will even provide you with “how to” info. Ask for an activity backpack when you arrive, and then order various activities during the week.
  • The Main Lodge building will be completely closed to guests, except for a Guest Services window in the front entry. (Of course, the Lodge Units are still open.) Everything from the Main Lodge will still be available to you, but you will order what you want from a list or at the Guest Services window in the front entry and then pick it up at the side door when it is ready.
  • The front entry way has been rebuilt as a service window. All the assistance that you usually get from our helpful front desk staff will still be available at that window, with just a little more space in between us and our visitors.
  • Need to buy gifts? There will be a gift shop list included in your welcome envelope and an online store is available here to help you shop.
  • What about internet, since the lodge is closed? Internet is available around the lodge, at picnic tables on the hill behind the Main Lodge and by the beach.  Many people have been able to get internet on their docks.  It’s a temporary system that has proven to be a delicate thing, as it goes down every time we have lightning within 5 miles.  Try it on the dock, otherwise it is always good near the lodge.
  • You will come to the front entryway to pick up remote check-in materials before you go to your cabin. Please do not enter your cabin before coming to the lodge, even if you are a long-time guest.
  • No early arrivals this summer. No exceptions, please. The new disinfecting protocols will require the full day to accomplish all the necessary tasks. We will be miracle-workers if we can get it all done by 4 PM!
  • Our staff and our family will be observing strict social-distancing protocols. We will expect guests and visitors to do the same. Bearskin will be forced to close if our small staff gets sick, so please understand that we aren’t being rude if we keep some distance from you—we want to be here for everyone, all summer.
  • What’s a group? For social-distancing purposes, a group at Bearskin consists of people who choose to be with each other. Please don’t make a group with others unless a mutual decision has been made.
  • Bearskin cabins have always been well-sanitized. Clean cabins are what we are known for. However, in 2020 disinfection is also part of the plan. We will be following CDC guidelines for disinfecting your cabin thoroughly. We will also leave you extra disinfectants in your cabin for your use.
  • We will be seriously disinfecting every object at the resort. Our staff will be wearing masks and we will encourage guests to do so also.
  • Is the hot tub haus open? At this time the hot tub and the sauna remain closed.
  • Cabin dishes and pots and pans : Before you come we will wash all your cabin dishes and utensils (as we always have), and then we’re adding an extra disinfecting rinse. We’re going to try to eliminate some of the extraneous items in cabinets and drawers. We need to disinfect everything with chlorine between guest visits, so it will help our staff if the cabinet contents are minimized. If you need a dish or a kitchen tool that is missing, we will have every conceivable item at the lodge guest services window, sanitized and ready for you to take to the cabin. (As we’ve figured this out better, we aren’t removing nearly as many things as we originally thought we would need to do. We doubt you’ll even notice.)
  • Dealing with guest bedding and towels could be a somewhat risky task for our housekeeping staff. If your cabin is a “turn-over” (someone coming in later on the same day), we will ask you to put the towels, bedding blankets, and bedspreads into bags that we provide before you leave. We also ask you to open every window, weather permitting, and turn on your ceiling fans.  With your help, our staff will be exposed to fewer microbes .
  • You don’t need to bring your own bedding! Many resorts are doing this, but Bearskin will continue to provide what you need. However, we’re switching to lighter bedspreads that can be washed faster, and fewer blankets on the beds. If you love a heavy mass of blankets, then you may want to bring extras for this year.
  • Lodge unit info: if you will be staying in the attached lodge townhouse units, you can avoid other people by using the lakeside doors as your main access to your lodge. We suggest that you use the hall doors to bring items in and out, but use the lakeside doors at most other times. Those of you with kids generally do this anyway, so it won’t be much of a change. Guests have asked if lodge units share any ventilation: they do not. They are completely independent of each other, in spite of the shared walls.


What to do this summer:

  • You may want to spend more time out on the water this summer. We purchased two new Angler’s Boats for this summer and our full fleet of standard fishing boats will be available to rent by the day or week. We also have two very nice pontoons to rent, as well as many Kevlar and aluminum canoes. You may want to reserve a boat earlier this year – we anticipate much more time will be spent on the water by everyone.
  • Of course, we have the complimentary stand-up paddleboards and play kayaks at the beach for fun on the water.
  • Hiking is a great way to stay socially isolated. We’re going to mow more of the ski trails this summer for hiking. We will make maps so you can hike to some of the best secret spots on the nearby trails. We also have maps and info available for the many Gunflint Trail hikes. This might be a great year to try some of the lesser known or longer area hikes.
  • We installed a fabulous new playset/climber by the beach last fall (not knowing, of course, that in summer 2020 that could be viewed as nuisance item). We will disinfect it every morning, and since it does sit in the blaring sun outside all day it will also be disinfected by sunshine. If your kids will want to play on the playset, you might want to pack some wipes or spray that you can use on surfaces for your own peace-of-mind. If you would prefer that your kids don’t use the playset, talk to them beforehand about staying away from it. There is no good way to close it off.
  • Art! Our activity backpacks are available to everyone.  JUst ask at the front desk.  We have a long list of “by request” activities for family fun. We hope you will use these.

What do we ask of you?

  • Please observe social distancing guidelines when you visit Bearskin, both with other guests and with our family and employees. Bearskin will not be able to stay open and guests will have to leave if our staff or family members get sick. Help all of us stay healthy!
  • Observe social distancing protocol when you travel around our Cook County community. Cook County does not have hospital services to treat Covid-19 patients; the nearest Covid-19 care is about 3 hours away. All of us in Cook County are being very careful, and we’d be grateful if visitors also did their part. Most Cook County group events have been cancelled for 2020, as you’d expect. Please look at the Cook County Visitor Pledge, which can be found at
  • Be honest about the health of everyone in your group. Please, please do not visit us if anyone in your group shows even minor signs of sickness or a temperature, either before you leave home or after you have started on your trip. There are no hospital services here that can help you, so if somebody gets sick with Covid-19 you are safest if you stay in an area where you can get care if you need it.
  • Come prepared to monitor your own family’s health during your visit. We encourage you to pack a thermometer with your belongings, and to bring along necessary medications in case a family becomes ill during your travels.
  • Let us know if a family member is sick, and we will help you make a plan.  If a family member has a cold or allergies, please be kind and bag up all your tissues and waste as if they are bio-hazards.  (We can’t believe we have to tell this to people, in a pandemic year — but you would be shocked at what some people left for our staff to touch this summer.)
  • Take personal responsibility for your own hand-washing and disinfecting. We will do our part to diligently sanitize and disinfect surfaces at Bearskin daily, but we have no way to disinfect every surface in the resort area after every use all day. Just as you do in your daily life at home, you still need to maintain a healthy routine of hand-washing, social distancing, and ensuring that the objects you and your family touch are wiped off and safe.
  • Prepare for an independent summer trip, a trip where you take care of as many of your own needs as possible. Expect many shops and restaurants to be closed or have altered service. For example, Trail Center will be a drive-in restaurant only all summer. Bring the essentials that you need, and don’t plan to pick up important items along the way – realistically, you may not be able to predict what will be open. Practice safe traveling on your way up north. Perhaps the most worrisome part of your vacation is the travel. Do it with care and mindfulness.
  • We hope you can be flexible about the changes that are necessary during this unusual era. There will probably be more changes to come as we try to figure out what works in these unprecedented circumstances.

These plans will probably evolve over the summer. Just like you are probably doing in your daily life, we talk about this constantly, always trying to come up with the safest plans for our guests. As we all know now, there is no blueprint for how to deal with our new world. But you can be assured that here at Bearskin, we are taking your health very, very seriously. 

You can help us by doing your part. We ask that you please do not visit Bearskin this year if you do not believe in social distancing and in taking the proper precautions to keep us and all our guests safe. We’re in this together and even if you do not think you are vulnerable, our family, staff, and other guests might be. Thanks for caring!

We will all have a story to tell after 2020.  Your Bearskin memories from this summer will be different from past years, but we hope you can make unique memories this year that will be a pleasant part of your own narrative of the summer of 2020.