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Kiosk dedicated to longtime Pequot Lakes fire tower ranger

Art Savage's family members attend event

Art Savage family Pequot Lakes fire tower.JPG
Family members who gathered Sept. 7, 2022, to dedicate the Art Savage kiosk at the base of the Pequot Lakes fire tower were, from left: Pat Bible (Savage’s former daughter-in-law), Beth (Savage) Schmid (a granddaughter), Todd Iverson with Laurie Savage (a granddaughter), Justin Planting with Elise Savage (a granddaughter), Mary Savage (a granddaughter) and Sherry Savage (daughter-in-law).
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal
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Art and Bea Savage.JPG
This photo of Art and Bea Savage is part of a kiosk dedicated to the fire tower ranger Sept. 7, 2022.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

PEQUOT LAKES — On a warm, sunny and blue-sky September day, Art Savage’s family members gathered with others to honor his memory at the base of the Pequot Lakes fire tower.

Read more about the Pequot Lakes Fire Tower Park
Tower is now part of county park named after Thiede
When the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and the humidity is low, Keith Simar goes to work. The retired Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forester dons his backpack and hikes a narrow, winding path through the woods, then climbs 135 ste...
The Pequot Lakes fire tower off County State Aid Highway 11 going toward Breezy Point was constructed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry to aid in fire detection through triangulati...

It was a fitting location because Savage staffed the fire tower and lived in the three-bedroom cabin under it with his wife and three children from 1939-47. The fire tower ranger worked in forest protection and management in Pequot Lakes for 40 years, from 1939-79, battling fires and educating people about forest management and wildfire prevention.

Now anyone who visits the Paul M. Thiede Fire Tower Park off County Road 11 can hike up to the fire tower and read all about Savage’s service as a forest ranger from 1939-71 on a kiosk that was dedicated Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Sherry Savage, Art’s daughter-in-law, was at the dedication with her daughters, Elise and Laurie. Her late husband, Bill, was one of Art’s sons. She thanked Crow Wing County Administrator Tim Houle, Crow Wing County Commissioner Bill Brekken and the Pequot Lakes Area Historical Society for their work, time and donated money to make the kiosk a reality.

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“Without you it couldn’t have been done,” she said.

Art Savage kiosk.JPG
A kiosk dedicated to fire ranger Art Savage is shown Sept. 7, 2022. It's located at the base of the fire tower off County Road 11.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

The county owns the park and has done much to spruce it up. The historical society donated money for the kiosk.

Mark Jurchen, with the historical society, also thanked county representatives for the fire tower park, which he called an asset to the community.

Among others attending the dedication were Pat Bible, the first wife of Art’s son, Tom; and their daughters, Beth (Savage) Schmid and Mary Savage; representatives from the historical society and county; and others.

Keith Simar talks at fire tower.JPG
On Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, at the base of the Pequot Lakes fire tower, Keith Simar, retired forester, reads the eulogy that he wrote and read at Art Savage's funeral 21 years ago.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Keith Simar, retired forester who took over for Savage when he retired, spoke about his mentor.

Simar spent a week working with Savage.

“When you’re young - I was only 23 at the time - you don’t appreciate what’s gone before you,” Simar said, noting he wishes he’d asked Savage more about history.

Savage died 21 years ago, and Simar wrote a eulogy that he read at the funeral. He read that eulogy again for those gathered at the kiosk dedication.

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Simar said Savage would climb the fire tower, spot a fire and then climb down to put out many fires himself.

According to information on the kiosk, Savage used his own vehicle to chase fires. As needed, he enlisted the help of the Pequot Lakes High School Forest Fighting Crew.

He was active in the community and a well-known musician. He played fiddle while his wife, Bea, played piano at local clubs.

Art Savage historical society Pequot Lakes fire tower.JPG
Retired DNR forester Keith Simar, left, and Pequot Lakes Area Historical Society members pose by a kiosk at the fire tower Sept. 7, 2022.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal
Keith Simar and Sherry Savage.JPG
Retired forester Keith Simar talks to Sherry Savage on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, at the Pequot Lakes fire tower.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal
Art Savage whole group Pequot Lakes fire tower.JPG
This group attended the dedication of a kiosk at the base of the Pequot Lakes fire tower Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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