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Camp Knutson on a mission to save shoreline

Camp Knutson is working to maintain its shoreline on Lower Whitefish and Big Trout lakes.

Officials with Camp Knutson are working to maintain portions of its shoreline, which is at risk of collapsing in certain sandy areas. Submitted Photo

Camp Knutson’s 30-acre campus is nestled between the pristine waters of Lower Whitefish and Big Trout lakes. The very tip of the point where the channel connects the two lakes has a significant amount of erosion due to storms, ice, boat traffic, and wave action. When former campers return, it’s the walk through the towering trees and the view of the big lake they remember from childhood. It’s a space the camp strives to preserve for future generations.

Jared Griffin, Camp Director, explained the mission behind the project, “Our campus has over a mile worth of precious shoreline that our campers with disabilities and medical conditions are proud to call their home away from home. We always teach our campers to leave camp and our natural environment better than you found it. Camp K community leaders have decided to lead by example and take on one of our biggest challenges by tripling our efforts to preserve our shoreline.”

Camp Knutson is working with Prairie Restorations to plant some native shrubs and drought-tolerant flowers in the camp's sandy soil. Submitted Photo

The site’s soil makes growing anything difficult. The sand cliff is steep and even just a little bit of foot traffic or large rain event can cause the sand to collapse. Camp Knutson has relied on Prairie Restorations to choose native plants that can put roots down 10 to 12 feet. They planted native shrubs, grasses and sedges with a mix of drought-tolerant flowers: rough blazing star, penstemon, spiderwort, hairy goldenrod, butterfly milkweed and wild bergamot.


The camp has spent more than $15,000 trying to keep their shoreline from washing away.

“The past 3 years we have invested a lot of time, talent, and financial resources trying to establish more plant growth with deeper root systems by planting native plugs and seedingCamp Director Jared Griffin said. “We have also installed some coconut logs, willow waddles and other efforts. We are starting to make small progress towards restoring this hard-hit area of our shoreline, but more still needs to be done on an annual basis to address this significant challenge.”

Camp Knutson was one of the 2021 Land and Waters grant recipients, allowing the camp to add more plants to the site.

Camp Knutson's shoreline features a few sandy areas that could possibly erode with some more foot traffic or heavy rainfall. Submitted Photo

The camp has some events scheduled to benefit campers.

A Night Under the Stars will be held on Saturday, July 17. The camp website (https://www.lssmn.org/campknutson/) has details for the virtual benefit and auction.

On Saturday, Aug.14, quilts will be up for sale at the Camp Knutson quilt auction. Quilters donate their time and talent to share hundreds of quilts.


Through an on-line auction, anyone can bid on the quilts.

Camp Knutson is a supportive camp for individuals with disabilities, medical conditions and other identified needs. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota partners with other organizations to host camps for youth and adults with identified needs such as autism, heart disease, skin conditions, Down syndrome, burn survivors, HIV/AIDS and youth experiencing homelessness.

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