The Adventure Park on the North Shore recently opened an aerial ropes climbing course with six trails on a former SPUR gas station site in Silver Bay.

Four investors bought the land, just off Hwy. 61, and cleaned up the pollution. The Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board gave the city a grant to demolish the gas station. And Adventure Investors Minnesota (AIM) bought a parcel next door from the city and the Minnesota Department of Transportation to build the ropes course.

Phil Huston and Alice Tibbetts, who own AIM, are former Silver Bay residents who now live in Duluth.

The ropes course is designed for people age 7 and older. There also is a mini-course for children ages 3 to 6.

AIM used congressionally designated Opportunity Zones funding to help pay for the project.

An ATV/snowmobile trail running through the park property will remain intact. The Adventure Park is open from May through October.

Dan Browning


Rain beats down a river town’s business

The steady rain in southeastern Minnesota has put a major damper on summer businesses that usually thrive with visitors drawn to the Lanesboro area and the nearby Root River.

“It’s been a little rough this year,” said Caleb Rissman, part owner of Root River Outfitters, which caters to tubers, canoers and kayakers.

Persistent summer rain has caused the river to run high and fast, making it unsafe for floating down what normally would be a gentle, scenic waterway. Rissman said they’ve rented fewer than 100 tubes so far this year, compared with the hundreds they usually rent during a typical summer holiday.

“Last year, about 900 tubes went out on the Fourth of July holiday,” Rissman said. “This year, we just watched the Fourth of July go by.”

Steve Sobieniak’s Root River Rod Co. has canceled more than a dozen drift boat guided trips for trout and smallmouth bass. And David Gray, who owns the James A. Thompson House with his wife, said his business also has taken a hit.

Not only are there fewer people on the river, but rainy weekends increased cancellations from those who wanted to bike the 42-mile Root River State Trail.

Not every business has suffered this year, but those that have are optimistic that blue skies are ahead, the river will slow and the water will eventually clear.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed for no more rain,” Sobieniak said.

Mary Lynn Smith