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Tree clearing begins in Highway 61 right-of-way

Clearing of trees and vegetation along the Highway 61 in Cook County in preparation for the 2020/2021 highway reconstruction project began today. KGM Contractors, the road construction company for the project, is performing the tree clearing.

KGM Contractors began clearing trees from the Cutface Creek end of the project. They cut trees to the outskirts of the City of Grand Marais and then moved on to the eastern end of the project. They will return to the city to complete clearing, including the section by the bike path through the Grand Marais Recreation Park and the elm trees between Voyageur Brewery and Buck’s Hardware, on Wednesday, Nov. 6.

A representative of KGM Contractors working near Lupine Lane in Grand Marais (next to Aspen Inn) said the City of Grand Marais has asked the company to cut and leave the elm tree logs along the road for the city.

It is not yet known what will be done with the elm logs, but it is hoped that the wood can be used in some way to benefit the community.

The city heard from many citizens asking that the trees be saved, or at the least left standing for a year closer to the road project in 2020. The city council agreed to ask MnDOT what it would cost to delay the tree cutting for a year.

At the Oct. 30 meeting, City Administrator Mike Roth shared MnDOT’s reply. Roth said the extra expense to the city would be an additional expense of approximately $4,600.

After some discussion, with Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux absent, there was no motion to direct MnDOT to postpone cutting down the elm trees, which cleared the way for the clearing. Hear some of the city council's discussion here.