I convinced my spouse in the late 1980s that we should join the cabin community, and started a long-term search for acreage and a building site. After several fruitless years of cruising rural roads it seemed that the search had become the focal point of the project itself. Friends introduced us to the area of northwestern Wisconsin and, following a lead, I literally came to the end of a county road where I was told the property line was located. In this pre-global positioning era, on the ground bushwhacking was an essential part of the evaluation process. The parcel included a 30-acre beaver flowage that spoke directly to me … “This is the place.” Using a canvas wall tent and wood stove as a base, we spent several years hand-cutting walking trails through the hardwoods, installing wood duck nesting boxes, and mountain biking. In 1995, I cleared a permanent building site that sprouted a three-bedroom cabin by the summer of 1996. We established a mutual agreement with the local black bears: They can play with the Weber grill but cannot approach the building. Wildlife visitors include sandhill cranes, osprey, and more recently wild turkey and gray wolves. The seasonal cycles includes hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing, and the celebration of the Wisconsin deer season that draws extended family members from as far as California. A management plan is in the works with the help of a professional forester to sustain the area’s environmental quality and wildlife habitat for the foreseeable future.

Brad and Adaline Shinkle, Minnetonka