Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota embarked on its ninth project for Tettegouche State Park in 2019 with the purchase of land on the park’s northern border. This land encompasses 25 acres that is bisected by the Baptism River—a scenic river strewn with boulders and lined with tall conifers.
The challenge is that half the land—everything east of the river—lies outside the park’s statutory boundary, and is therefore off-limits to the MnDNR.
But, rather than watch this opportunity be lost from the park, Parks & Trails Council purchased the whole parcel. We are now working to add the appropriate half into the park while exploring options for protecting the other half as undeveloped, natural land.
Dream cabin turns into park legacy
This unique parcel of land came into P&TC’s ownership from the caring hands of David Hoeft, who has a deep appreciation for Tettegouche State Park.
Hoeft bought this land in 1987 with his then-wife, when they were living in Silver Bay. Hoeft was working as a doctor at the local clinic and spending his free time hiking in Tettegouche and kayaking the Baptism River.
During his explorations Hoeft happened upon a “for sale” sign on this “beautiful” forested land. Soon, visions of building a rustic cabin spurred him to buy. But a few years later, before his dreams could be realized, he moved to Alaska, then to Duluth and eventually settled in Washington state.
No development happened and today, even the driveway that existed when he bought the land has virtually disappeared, being reclaimed by nature. Nearby, other landowners have built cabins, but they are mostly tucked away, leaving a remote wilderness feel to this place on the map.
Hoeft’s appreciation for the land grew as he visited over the years, staying in a tent. “This is special land with an old cedar grove, that’s mossy and quite beautiful,” Hoeft whistfully explains.
He spent many hours wading through the river, and hiking or snowshoeing into the park. These memories instilled a desire to keep the land as undeveloped as when he found it.
After learning the challenges that the MnDNR would face in acquiring this parcel, Hoeft contacted P&TC. He sold for half the value he likely could have received if a developer bought it. “I’m just delighted it’ll be part of the park,” he says.