March 22, 2017
To many of us, dogs are genuinely part of the family. Grand Marais is a place where it is easy to spend time with the four-legged members of your household. From your pet-friendly room at East Bay Suites, you can walk up and down the pet-friendly bay and into a number of pet-friendly shops along the way. But, it is possible to have even more fun with your best friend. You can do this by letting the locals at Go Dog North Shore be your guide.
Go Dog North Shore is a group of local dog enthusiasts which “seeks to promote active dog ownership on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior.” They became a non-profit group in 2013, mostly to build a dog park, but now they do more to help locals and tourists enjoy their dogs.
“We promote basically healthier dogs and healthier humans, by just promoting different activities that people can do with their pets,” said Cathy Quinn of Go Dog North Shore. “One of the first things we did is work with the local horse community and the community center here in Cook County to adapt our horse park to become also a dog park as well.”
It was Cathy who first came up with the idea for this group, as a result of a sad incident. A few years back wolves killed one of her dogs near her home in the woods outside Grand Marais. This is when she decided a dog park could help.
“For me the need to find a place where I could safely exercise my dogs off-leash is kind of how I got into the dog park business,” said Cathy.
Cathy spread the word to some friends and received much interest in the idea of starting a dog park. They also started encouraging residents and visitors to Cook County to get active with their dogs.
“I can play with my dogs in my yard and it wears them out energy wise, but there is something about actually doing something with your dogs, whether you hike with them or you walk with them or you go skijoring with them,” said Cathy. “You build a connection and a relationship that is just different and you can’t really replace that.”
Besides maintaining the dog park, Go Dog North Shore gets the word out about fun places to go and fun things to do with your dog and hosts a couple of skijoring races a year. During these races, people get on skis and have their dogs pull them along. She is able to suggest a few places around the area where you can cruise using dog power.
“One of the big ones is the George Washington Pines,” said Cathy. “It is probably about a five minute drive from Grand Marais, up the Gunflint Trail, and it is a great place winter or summer to take your dog. It has about a two and a half mile long loop trail and there are some real nice red pines there. It is just a really pretty walk.”
It is one of the few groomed ski trails in the area, where skijoring is allowed. You can also go on a section of the Bally Creek Ski Trails, and Cathy’s favorite, the Banadad Ski Trail.
These places are all good for hiking as well, as is the Pincushion Ski Trail. She recommends this trail for biking with your dog. Then there is the Superior Hiking Trail.
As a local Cathy offers her advice about dog walking on the Superior Hiking Trail. When Cathy walks her dogs she likes to not have too many people around.
“If you want to get away from people, I recommend going on sections of the Superior Hiking Trail that aren’t near the State Parks,” said Cathy. “There are a ton of places to jump on the trail. I’m a fan of going to places on the Superior Hiking Trail that aren’t on the main hubs, because I just like more solitude.”
She also knows there are many places on the trail, where a dog could get into trouble. So, she recommends keeping the dog on a leash or being sure the dog will respond to voice commands.
If you are visiting Grand Marais, you can always contact Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org and get some local advice on how you and your dog can better enjoy the area together. The group is sure to do more in the future to make this dog-friendly town even more welcoming.