Saying Goodbye to Summer Staff

Summer is drawing to a close and we have yet to blog about our wonderful 2010 staff.  As many of them  head back to college this week and we say goodbye , it’s time to recognize the great job they’ve done for Bearskin guests this year.     

This has been the “no drama” group of summer employees.   (This is not theater camp, so we like that.) They simply get along.  There was no better demonstration of their healthy attitude than the Saturday early in the summer when — surprise, surprise — our full-time teacher/naturalist abruptly quit because the job was too much work.  We were shocked. Young people blowing off jobs are common occurrences at other resorts, but Bearskin hires very carefully.  This never happens here.  Panic set in.     

Our worries lasted about 10 minutes.  All our staff members who’d been scrubbing toilets and hauling wood viewed that naturalist job as a pretty cushy gig.  We have an extraordinarily well – educated crew.  Within a few minutes we put together a new naturalist program, using our staff’s many unique skills and talents.  They’ve done a great job. As a group they pulled together to help solve a problem. No tears, no drama, no funny stuff, just a job well done all summer.  That is what we will remember about this group. Ask us for a job reference for any of these young Bearskin employees and we will be pleased to tell you they are all the type of employees who just quietly go about getting their jobs accomplished.     



Dixie, from Lake Park, MN attends college at Minnesota State University Moorhead.  Dixie plans to be a social worker someday. Dixie was the first to head back to college last week, along with Millie, her pet rat.  Dixie practiced gunnel pumping early in the summer for the Gunflint canoe races, but on the day of the race she opted for backwards paddling with Ryan instead.     



Emily is about to graduate from Bethel College in St. Paul.   This fall she will be doing an editing/publishing internship with Coffee House Press.  Emily, paddling with Kaitlin, came in 2nd in the women’s  sprint paddle  at the Gunflint Canoe races; for a while that combo even looked like they might win it.     



Laura is a senior at Oberlin College in Ohio.  Her long career as a pole vaulter has been of minimal use at Bearskin.  Laura turned down a job catching prairie dogs this summer in order to work at Bearskin. Laura, along with her sister Kate, came in first in the women’s sprint paddle during the July canoe races.  She survived remarkably long in the gunnel pumping event, also.     



Kaitlin is in grad school at Indiana University, studying Chinese in the East Asian studies department.  We would have hired Kaitlin even if she didn’t happen to be our daughter, but her organizational ability is what kept our naturalist program on track this summer. She & Emily came in 2nd in the women’s short paddle in the canoe races, and she & Ryan made a great team in the broken paddle race.     

Ryan with Dixie at the canoe races


Ryan is this summer’s all-purpose guy – he cooks dinners, bakes pies, takes care of boats, and helps with front desk.  Ryan returned to this area after a stint in Montana.  His family lives on Hungry Jack Lake. Ryan is game to try almost anything, as evidenced by this post-gunnel pumping photo from the canoe races.     



 Tim is a seminary graduate with a long history of working as a maintenance man in the Chicago area, although he is relatively new to Minnesota.  Tim stays in a cheerful mood no matter how often  we call him on the radio to do jobs he’s already done dozens of times in a day’s work.     

Kate -- minus the Newfie dog that she will probably have following her around next time you see her at Bearskin.


Kate worked at Bearskin for two summers, before deciding to stay in the north woods awhile after she graduated from Columbia University in 2009.  “Sternin’ Vernon” has become an accomplished canoeist, an excellent cross country skier, and a master lettuce grower during her stint at Bearskin. She won the women’s sprint paddle at the canoe races for the 3rd year in a row, each year with a different paddling partner. The secret must actually be the experienced “sternin’.”     

Andy unloading new canoes this spring


Andy has been with us at Bearskin for almost as long as we’ve owned the resort.  He has become the most familiar face at the front desk and the most recognizable voice on the phone.  Andy is indispensable, not only for his knowledge of the Gunflint Trail area but also for his value as a target to be teased. We don’t tell Andy how much we appreciate him nearly often enough.     



Quinn is our son and is the guy who takes the most guff from us.  For the second year in a row, this spring  Quinn coached the Girl’s Minnesota State High School Ultimate Frisbee champions. Quinn is happiest when he’s in a canoe; he won the men’s solo race at the Gunflint Canoe races this summer, which made him very happy.  “Bearskin Wilderness Outfitters,” Bearskin’s new BWCA canoe outfitting business, is actually Quinn’s project. 

Read more about our staff at the Gunflint Trail Canoe races in Quinn’s blog at

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