Construction begins on Lake Superior-Lutsen Mountains pipeline

A new $5 million pipeline to carry water from Lake Superior to Lutsen Mountains ski area is scheduled to break ground Tuesday.

The water will be used for snowmaking at the ski resort on the North Shore. It will also replace an irrigation pipeline to Superior National Golf Course, and provide water to nearby vacation homes and firefighters.

The project will replace a controversial pipeline from the Poplar River, a designated trout stream.

Related: DNR let Lutsen resort violate water permits for years

"I think it makes everybody happy not to have to be drawing water from the river anymore," said Lutsen co-owner Charles Skinner. The resort has used water from the river to make snow since the 1960s, according to Skinner.

"We've always looked towards the lake as a better source of water," said Skinner. "[But] we're a couple miles away from the lake, so obviously a pipeline going for that distance is not inexpensive."

Last year the state awarded a $3.6 million grant to pay for the majority of the pipeline. Much of the rest of the funding comes from local partners. Skinner expects the project to be completed late next year, in time for ski season.

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