Cook County Blog

The North Shore and Gunflint Trail during COVID-19

Posted by Visit Cook County MN on 3/17/20 3:06 PM

Whether you live here full time, part time, or are a visitor and fan of the North Shore and Gunflint Trail - we can all agree that this is a special place. During this extraordinary time of coronavirus (COVID-19) and social distancing, we have a few suggestions to keep you connected to your favorite place. Above all, health and safety is of utmost importance – please be sure to consult with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure you are following all of the proper safety procedures.


  1.    Tune into our social media channels. If you don’t already follow our social media outlets, start. We will be posting a variety of content focusing on the natural beauty on the North Shore and Gunflint Trail, outdoor activities and memories from the past. Don’t think FOMO, instead, we’ll be tapping into your favorite places and memories. We want to bring joy and beauty to your social media feed. Along with that, please share photos from your time up north! Use #donorthmn on Instagram and Twitter and tag Visit Cook County on Facebook.
  2.    Call our Information Center. Our information center will remain in operation and open for calls. Please reach out to learn more about what is going on in Cook County, to learn what businesses are open and ask questions about your favorite spots. If you are feeling isolated from the places and people you love, reach out, we’re here for you: 218-387-2524 or info@visitcookcounty.com 
  3.    Get outside. Before you venture outside, be mindful of how many doors and public spaces you need to travel through to get to your outdoor destination of choice. Once you arrive, breathe in the freshness.  No matter where you are, you'll be able to find an outdoor space to refresh your mind. Presently in Cook County, we have snow! Winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, ice fishing and snowmobiling can still be enjoyed with the right precautions. In some locations, trail grooming is continuing as conditions allow and off trail adventures can be done anytime with a good map! Don’t forget to pack snacks--many of your local favorite restaurants are offering takeout options, a perfect opportunity to enjoy some of your favorite fare with a new view!  
  4.     Support local businesses. This is an incredibly trying time for small local businesses whose profit margins are razor thin and whose employees rely on their paycheck. While several businesses have had to close for the time being in accordance with Minnesota Governor Walz Executive order on March 16, there are a number who are working to provide services to the public while maintaining appropriate health and safety standards. Here is a list of local restaurants that are remaining open and have set up new ways to accommodate guests. And don’t forget about your favorite small business retailer, consider browsing their online store. Current Business Hours during COVID-19
  5.     Indulge in creativity. Use the memory of your favorite time in Cook County to create a poem, a song, a painting, a blog post, a video – whatever your medium is, take some time to reflect upon how your time on the North Shore and Gunflint Trail sustains your creative soul. Don’t forget to share it with the online community--tag us in your posts so that we can see what you create! 
  6.     Listen to local radio. Live stream local community radio 90.7 WTIP North Shore Community Radio for a taste of what is happening up north. You’ll soon discover how vibrant our local community is. Also, use this as an opportunity to get caught up on local podcasts that are sure to help you plan your next trip. Check out: Tumblehome: A Boundary Waters Podcast, WTIP’s Boundary Waters Podcast and Exploring the North Shore.
  7.     Check out our webcams. Get regular updates from the north! Tune in to local webcams to see what is happening in live time whenever you want. Find them all right here
  8.     Plan your next adventure. In time, this will pass. When it does, your next trip will be that much sweeter. Browse our website for adventures that you haven’t considered before and add them to your must-do list. Consider a new community in our region for your next trip north, always stay in Grand Marais? Try the Gunflint Trail! Never explored Grand Portage? Check it out! If you haven’t explored all of the communities in Cook County, now is the time to get acquainted. Bonus, the security of future bookings will help a struggling small business see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Upcoming events. Most upcoming events have been cancelled or postponed for the next few weeks.  The majority of festivals and events do not begin in earnest until just before Memorial Day. At this time, Visit Cook County is not taking a position on the time of event cancellation as much will transpire in these early weeks of strategic containment.

Above all else, we ask that you stay safe, sane, and sanitized -- and do what you can to prevent the spread of the virus in our communities.  

  • If you are sick with any illness stay home. If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19/Coronavirus and have had contact with any local businesses, please notify them.
  • Avoid large gatherings and events, and practice good hygiene and social distancing. 
  • Follow the guidance of public health authorities and share best practices with others in our community. If travel restrictions or guidance to take shelter at home are put in place, please follow them.
  • Stay calm and wash  your hands thoroughly! 

As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we will be updating local business information on our website and through our information center.