The family of Ray Berglund, a St. Paul businessman who cared passionately about conservation, has been keeping his memory alive at the state wayside named after him on Lake Superior’s North Shore. Over the years, donations from the R.R.W. and Florence Berglund Family Foundation have funded several improvements to the 54-acre site, but restroom facilities remained an unmet need, until this summer.
Today, representatives of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Berglund Family Foundation celebrated the opening of a new building that includes public restrooms and information for travelers.
“The site is well-used by cyclists, anglers and other visitors, but neither the DNR nor MnDOT had funding for restrooms at this location,” said Mark Kovacovich, DNR Parks and Trails Division district supervisor. “The Berglund Family Foundation’s donation is helping us provide these much-needed facilities and will be a welcomed amenity for people who use this site.”
The Ray Berglund State Wayside is located at the mouth of the Onion River on Highway 61, just north of Tofte in Cook County. Following Berglund’s death in 1948, friends contributed to a fund for the purchase of the land, which was deeded to the state in 1949 and established as a state wayside by the Minnesota Legislature in 1951.
In 2009, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reconstructed Highway 61 in the Onion River area, which included redesigning and rebuilding the wayside’s parking area and constructing a section of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail – a paved multi-purpose recreation trail –through the wayside.
Previous improvements at the wayside included a stairway to connect the parking lot to the wayside, overlooks of Lake Superior and trail upgrades that were funded by the foundation and the Lake Superior Coastal Resource Program.
Find a map and more information about the eight state waysides managed by the DNR online or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-6157 (Twin Cities) or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.