August 4th, 2016 déjà vu struck the Brainerd Lakes Area, again. It was 3:30 in the morning and the scene was too familiar for comfort. Individuals woke from their sleep to shuttering windows and booming thunder. As the wind picked up, the impossible happened, for the second time in 14 months the “storm of the century” hit the shores of Gull Lake.
Leading up to August 4th, the Brainerd Lakes Area was showered with 11 inches of rain over a 2-week span. This rain did more than nourish the grass; it loosened the ground just in time for the second storm of the century. Grand View Lodge took direct hits from winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. The wind collaborated with the soft ground tearing down trees that stood strong and tall for 125 years, as a total the grounds lost over 300 trees. As one approached the waterfront they would see boats over turned, docks ripped from their stations and chairs scattered haphazardly.
The Grand View team rose to the occasion. We called in three large track hoes, 12 Bobcat-style front end loaders, six dump trucks, 20 other debris-hauling vehicles, 40 chainsaws and close to 3000 people working on the clean all of which happened by 11:00 AM after storm hit.
“The team did an amazing amount of work in 24 hours,” said General Manager Mark Ronnei, “so much in fact, that we were able to present the perfect setting for our two weddings that took place on the Grand Staircase on Saturday.”
But, one casualty of the storm was not as quick to recover.
A 150+ year old white oak tree that could not withstand the storm demolished the Northwoods Pub Deck. The roots loosened enough for the tree to let go of its long time home, taking down the deck on its route to the ground. Grand View employees pulled together for a magnificent quick fix at the loss of the deck. But mulch and flowers could not permanently replace a feature that had hosted hundreds of family reunions, lunch gatherings and had overseen many weddings.
Although what is now feared to be a summer pattern caused much devastation in our community, Grand View’s most important statistic is that with almost 1000 people sleeping under their roofs—zero were injured. Even with no power for 12 hours, trees invading cabins and guest vehicles that had taken a hit, all of our resort guests were very understanding and complimentary of our efforts to return their vacation to normal. While the déjà vu was frightening, the familiarity helped.
“We learned from our last storm to get the right equipment in place, to have work teams take sections of the resort and that it will be OK – the Grand View Team can handle this,” said Ronnei.
Other than some roofs that need to be replaced, a few cabins that need some cosmetic work and our Lake Cam being down, things are pretty much back to normal here at GVL. To rebuild the forestry we will be planting about 100 trees and, (Spoiler alert) we have big plans for our new deck. While the situation is tragic, it brought together a team and showed their dedication to Grand View. We can’t give enough thanks to those who helped make it a priority to restore normality to our condition.
Next time you come to Grand View see if you can spot the changes.
Special Thanks to the Following:
Copper Creek Landscaping
Holiday Gas Station Nisswa
Gull Lake Glass