Updates on Bearskin Lodge and USFS campground plans


Poster available from https://www.mcbrunopress.com/


Fall and winter thoughts for our Bearskin Guests:

First of all, we hope you are all safe, healthy, and doing the right things to help us all get through these unprecedented times.

Cook County locked down impressively from March through early June, and now the county is gradually loosening up. Don’t take that as thinking that anyone up here considers the pandemic “over.”  Cook County is still expecting social distancing and masks as much as possible. Our tiny Cook County Hospital has very limited facilities and our nearest major hospital is 2.5 hours away in Duluth. We live and work on a small enough scale up here that everyone understands that we rise and fall together.

So what is happening this summer and fall? You may have seen various media reports about the troubles many North Shore and Grand Marais businesses are experiencing with non-compliant guests. Our guests have mostly been absolutely wonderful. Everyone seems to completely understand that if one of us gets sick, the resort shuts down and vacations are ruined for many families for the next 2 – 3 weeks. We are so grateful for your help with this. Our family and our staff are missing the long conversations and the regular fun interactions we usually have with all of you, but because of this, so far we are all still healthy and Bearskin is open.  THANK YOU!

 What’s different this year? The Main Lodge building is closed to visitors, but services are being offered at a new front desk area in the front entry. This arrangement separates  our staff from guests by about 12 feet, making it a little safer for all of us.  We will ask you to use our hand sanitizer before touching the desk and masks are required for service.

Our current protocols will be temporarily different for 2020. Read the details here. We’ll still help you find lots of great, socially-isolated activities to keep you  and your family happily busy. Perhaps this is a year for more hikes and longer fishing excursions. We will strive to keep you safe in our secluded Northwoods haven, as well as to keep our staff healthy.  Everything you ever wanted to know (and then some!) about our Covid-19 plan can be found here.

It is very important that you read through our Covid-19 information before you make a reservation.  We are counting on our guests to help us stay safe and stay open.  If you do not believe that the Covid virus is a concern, and will not abide by social distancing or disinfecting protocols, we think you will be happier going elsewhere in 2020. We take it seriously here.  In addition, we encourage you to read through the Cook County Visitor Pledge.  Every business in Cook County is hoping you’ll help them to stay healthy and open, just like we are.  Be a better visitor in Grand Marais than some of the other tourists have been.  The shops and stores in Grand Marais had a rough summer with the anti-mask crew, so those folks need a little Bearskin Guest love.

Gift shopping at Bearskin is so awkward this year!  With the lodge closed, you can’t enter the gift shop, so we tried to put almost all our gifts where you can see them from the guest services entry. Quinn come up with an alternative to help you think about what we have.  He’s made an online store, featuring many of our items.  Use this to browse ahead of time or when you are here.  You can place an order online and have it ready (no postage needed if you are here), or just use it to plan your purchases.  We keep adding to the store page, so it does change occasionally.  https://bearskinlodge.square.site/

The East Bearskin Lake USFS campground, operated by Bearskin Lodge, is open and busy. We encourage you to go to recreation.gov to reserve your campsite ahead of time. All campers who need service of any sort at the Main Lodge need to wear a mask in order to enter our guest services area. Having a mask in your car means nothing to us. Wear the mask if you come to Bearskin; make your own choices at the campground.

What are Bearskin’s plans for fall and winter?  Nothing will change for fall. We will continue the same protocols we are using for summer, although it will get a little harder as the weather cools off in October. Fall is already almost booked solid.

Winter will require a more complicated solution, and we don’t know all of the plan yet. What we do know can be found here.  The lodge will be closed. Your stay here in 2020 will need to be more independent than in most years; we’ll be right nearby, but hanging out in the Lodge will not be an option. There will be porta-potties for day skiers, but no indoor seating.  It is not ideal, but some lessons were learned this summer about the risk of letting people into the lodge right now. If something changes dramatically, our plans will also change. Winter season for 2020-2021 is extraordinarily booked — you will want to plan early.


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. 

May you be well,

The McCloughan Family/Bearskin Lodge