Proposal would build water pipeline for ski resort

The bonding proposal announced today by Gov. Mark Dayton includes $3.6 million to build a water pipeline from Lake Superior to the Lutsen Mountains ski resort.

Lutsen Mountains currently pumps water from the Poplar River, a designated trout stream, to make snow for skiing. Despite low water levels, the DNR issued Lutsen a permit last fall to pump 150 million gallons per year. In exchange, the agency told the ski area to find another water source by 2014.

The governor's proposal would provide water to the ski resort, a golf course, resorts and private homes. Tourism drives nearly 80 percent of the region's economy, said Sally Nankivell, executive director of the Cook County Visitors Bureau.

"It's really important that a facility like Lutsen Mountains or the Superior National Golf course has the resources to provide the best services possible as we go forth in this challenging economy," Nankivell said.

Funds provided by the proposal will be matched with $1.2 million from by local businesses, most of which will come from the ski area.