What we do know is what was originally Northwoods Lodge, was one of five founding resorts on the historic Gunflint Trail, and was also known as a premier hunting and fishing lodge that was built back in the early 1930’s by Dr. Rempel, a Russian CCC camp director.

Dr. Rempel decided to build a lodge and what was to become 22 cabins on Poplar Lake. The original lodge burned down in 1937, but a new lodge was built, and Dr. Rempel continued to operate the lodge and cabins until the late 1950’s when Ann and Ed Ruidl bought the property and continued to run the resort until 1965 when another fire took the new lodge and the business folded. The only thing that remained of the old lodge was the stone fireplace that sat until recently on Fireplace Road.

Over the years, most of the cabins were sold, and the property was left to gather dust until once again purchased in the early 1990's. The remaining cabins were updated, one at a time, and construction on a new lodge began and was fully completed months after our purcahse of it in October 2011. Five of the cabins have been modernized, redecorated and are fully functioning housekeeping cabins with new appliances and creature comforts.

Big Bear Lodge is located right off the new Gunflint Trail on Northwoods Loop - a remaining slice of the unpaved original Trail. One vertical log structure remains, and what was hidden by years of overgrowth is now an office. Rumor has it, it was a mail station at one time, and stories about it’s uses over the years we are sure will continue to pop up. The old fireplace - what some considered a piece of history and others an eyesore, has been replaced by a giant black bear welcoming all guests and visitors to the the new Big Bear Lodge and Cabins where new memories will be created and history will surely show - very happy ones.

As a side note: For those not familiar with the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corp was founded by President Franklin Roosevelt and was sometimes referred to as Roosevelt’s Tree Army. As part of the WPA (Works Project Adinistration), it ran from 1933 until World War II in 1942. The work done by the CCC established the best practices of natural resource management used today, employed millions of young men during the recovery of the Great Depression, provided a moral boost to the nation, stimulated the economy, and one of the most important achievements besides providing jobs, food, housing, medical care, and other skills, was that an estimated 110,000 illiterate young men learned to read and write. There were 12,200 men put to work in 61 camps located in Minnesota alone - most of which were on state and federal forest land. Many thanks go to the efforts and policies established that helped preserve and maintain this unique area.