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Minnesota Zip Lines & Adventures to open zip line at Mount Ski Gull

Photo taken from Minnesota Zip Lines & Adventures facebook page.

Lee and Eva Kerfoot of Minnesota Zip Lines & Adventures announced that the company will open its second zip line tour on Mount Ski Gull in the Brainerd lakes area May 1.

The tour will include a guided two-hour experience featuring seven zip lines, a 50-foot suspension bridge and an optional 50-foot free-fall experience.

The company's first zip line tour, Kerfoot Canopy Tour, in Henderson, Minn., opened in June 2013 and was named as the Best Zip Line in Minnesota in 2014.

Lee Kerfoot is the fourth generation in his family to continue the legacy and tradition that began with the Gunflint Lodge in northern Minnesota in 1929.

"It all begins with my grandmother, Justine's, love of the great outdoors," Kerfoot said. "Grandma's spirit is what has inspired my wife and me to develop outdoor adventures and experiences that help people, especially kids, disconnect from technology and noise, and reconnect with nature and quiet."

In the 1930s, Justine Kerfoot took over management of the Gunflint Lodge from her mother, Mae Spunner, who purchased the property in 1929. Justine was a true pioneer woman, building, expanding and modernizing the lodge. She partnered with other business women to bring telephone service to the Gunflint Trail area, and worked with the Native American people in the area to honor the land and work together for its care and promotion.

She and her husband, Bill, ran the Gunflint Lodge until the 1960s, when their son, Bruce, and his wife, Sue, took over. They continue to manage the property today.

"Growing up in northern Minnesota was a gift for me, and instilled in me the love of nature and outdoor experiences that drives me today," Lee Kerfoot said. "While my wife and I currently live in the Twin Cities, the pull of the great outdoors continues, thus the zip line adventures."

Like his grandmother, Kerfoot is working in partnership with local people and organizations in the area to create an experience that will expand the offerings and activities to the many resorts in the Brainerd area. Kerfoot's local partners include the Lakeshore Conservation Club, Mount Ski Gull and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

When originally conceived in early 2015, the Brainerd Zip Line Tour was designed to look and feel like the Kerfoot Canopy Tour in Henderson. In the summer of 2015, however, a major storm came through the Brainerd area and downed many of the trees that would have been part of the "canopy" experience.

"The DNR did a fantastic job of harvesting during the cleanup to leave some of the trees we needed," Kerfoot said. "Key trees that were lost in the storm are being replaced by towers. Thanks to the DNR and our other partners, we've been able to create an exciting zip line adventure and maintain that incredible 15-mile view."

The Brainerd Zip Line will open May 1 for adventure enthusiasts and is taking reservations now for its first season of business. A formal grand opening event is planned for later in May.

For more information, visit www.ziplinemn.com.

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