Secluded Gunflint Trail Lodging
The Youngs’ after moving from Chicago to their family owned property, Young’s Island, on the Gunflint Trail in 1974 began several business ventures.( Actually, Ted great up in souh Minneapolis and Barbara grew up in northeast Minneapolis. Barbara is a natualized citizen from Ottawa Ontariion Canada. Her Minneapolis born mother married in canada to her dad. They were finally able to get back to Minnesota after WW II. Whew. Lots of words.) These ventures were to grow into Boundary Country Trekking Ltd. (BCT). Their first venture, Mid Trail Services, provided maintenance and construction services to Gunflint Trail summer cabin owners. Ted’s canoe guiding services, which he began many years before as a teenager, also continued during this time.
During this period their son Joey was born and as he got older help out in the business. At eighteen he left the island and now lives in California. Ted’s daughter was born in southwern MN in the early 60’s. The Young’s introduced dog sledding trips in 1978 under the name of Young’s Dog Sled Freighting Service. During this period, winter customers on the Gunflint Trail were sparse. The dog sled business, like every other winter business in the area, was very limited. In fact, there were so few people around, both customers and residents, that Ted would often dog sled right down the middle of the Gunflint Trail without fear of meeting any traffic. Finally, in the early 1980’s, the Young’s dog sledding business began to grow– mainly because of the publicity generated by the Will Steger’s dog sled expedition to the North Pole and Alaska’s Iditarod Dog Sled race.
In conjunction with the dog sledding business, overnight accommodations were opened in a guestroom in Young’s island home in 1981. During this time cross country skiing was beginning to develop on the Gunflint. The Banadad Ski Trail was opened and the Gunflint Trail’s Lodge to Lodge Skiing Program began in 1982. That same year, Young’s Island became an overnight stop for skiers and in the summer the Island opened as a Bed and Breakfast– one of northern Minnesota’s first Bed and Breakfasts.
During this period the Youngs joined the Gunflint Trail Association and the Minnesota Historic Bed and Breakfast and Association. They also helped to organize the Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Guild and were founding members of the Guild. The Guild was recently renamed the Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Association.
In 1984, the Young’s introduced yurt skiing to the Midwest. Their first yurt was located on Bedew Lake along the Banadad Ski Trail. This yurt was named in honor of a local Cook County character, E. J. Croft. With the help of Steve McCrady, a friend of the Youngs, another yurt was purchased the next year. This second yurt was first located near Meeds Lake. A third yurt was added in 1990. Located on the Croft Yurt site, Olga’s Yurt, as this third yurt was called, was named after a mythical character a guest created and wrote about in an entry in the Croft Yurt log on February 7, 1987. For the next two years other guests continued the “saga” of Olga in the log book.
Boundary Country Trekking, Limited (BCT) was incorporated in 1986. The Corporation encompassed the Young’s three different business activities– Mid Trail Service, which continued as a construction and maintenance company and secondly, a lodging business, which included Young’s Island Bed and Breakfast and the Yurts. The third activity was the company’s developing Adventure Travel business, which by then included cross country skiing, dog sledding and canoe guiding.
In the mid 1980’s Steve Tucker, a Kansas outdoor professional, took over the company’s dog sled program and became BCT’s first employee. In 1988 the dogs and mushing gear were sold to Doug Seim, a Grand Marais Musher, and he took over the operation of the dog sled program. This relationship continued until 1990. That year, BCT joined with Arleigh Jorgenson, another Grand Marais musher in a dog sled joint venture. This joint venture works as follows: Arleigh supplied the dogs, sleds, mushers and expertise. BCT promoted and scheduled the trips and provided the lodging, meals and logistical support. This relationship continues until Arleigh retired in the late 2000s.
In 1989 the Youngs purchased a 34-acre parcel of land on Little Ollie Lake at the outlet of Poplar Creek from Consolidated Paper Company. The following year, the Meeds Lake Yurt and a small cabin that recently had been purchased were moved onto this property. The yurt was renamed the Poplar Creek Yurt. The cabin, named the Little Ollie Lake Cabin, was quadrupled in size and modernized in 1991.
By 1987 the company required office space to accommodate its growing business activities- particularly the adventure travel portion of the business. Young’s Island B and B were closed and the guestroom converted to an office. The Gunflint’s Lodge to Lodge skiing program was taken over by BCT in 1990. Additional adventure trips were soon added, beginning with the lodge to lodge hiking and skiing on the North Shore (1994), snowmobile adventures (1996), mountain biking (1997) and a wilderness volunteer program in (1997).
With the growth of the adventure travel sector of the business, the resulting need for additional office space and the difficulties of operating their business from Young’s Island, it was decided to construct a new office and living facilities and also expand the company’s lodging facilities on BCT’s Little Ollie property. Thus in 1998 the planning for this new facility began to take shape.
However, when the July 4th BWCA Storm hit and made a tangled mess of BCT’s Little Ollie Property, the planned constructions of the proposed new bed and breakfast had to be placed on hold and attention directed to clearing the hundreds of down trees on the property.
The storm clean up was completed during the summer of 2000 and construction on the proposed building began in August of that summer. The Poplar Creek Guesthouse Bed & Breakfast, as the building was named, officially opened for business on September 13, 2001, two days after 9/ll. The 3400 square foot structure housed two bed and breakfast rooms, a rental suite, the company office, and the owners living quarters.
With the opening of the Guesthouse, the company added Inn to Inn Hiking and Canoeing to their adventure travel offerings in the summer of 2002.
In 2004, Karla and Dale Miller, Ted’s daughter and son-in-law purchased another yurt and leased it to BCT. Land was leased from the State of Minnesota on Hooker Lake, one mile for from the Guesthouse, for this new yurt. Named the Tall Pines Yurt, it was opened for guest rental year-round beginning in December of 2004.
The company was incorporated as an “S” corporation in the State of Minnesota in 1986.
Boundary Country Trekking/Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B
11 Poplar Creek Drive
Grand Marais, MN 55604
Website: www.boundarycountry.com and www.poplarcreekbnb.com