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HomeNewsPontoon Found at the Bottom of Pike Lake in Cook County

Pontoon Found at the Bottom of Pike Lake in Cook County

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for help identifying the owner of an overturned pontoon boat resting under 25 feet of water at the bottom of Pike Lake in Cook County.

The boat was discovered by fishermen last summer who were using an underwater camera to discern the bottom structure, presumably to aid in catching fish.

Cook County Search and Rescue used its new side-scan sonar equipment to determine the boat’s precise location and capture video of its condition.

The side-scan sonar equipment is a recent addition to the water-based work of the Sheriff’s Department. Side-scan sonar is ideal for search and survey operations because it can quickly scan large areas. Gunflint Trail Search and Rescue, led by Michael Valentini, raised the funds to cover the $100,000 cost of the equipment.

The pontoon appears to be of an older vintage. It may have been scuttled, without its motor, many years ago. “I’m guessing that it has been on the bottom for quite some time,” Sheriff Pat Eliasen said.

State law prohibits sinking watercraft or other vehicles in Minnesota lakes and rivers. According to MN Statute 86B.10, owners of sunken crafts and vehicles must report the incident to the Sheriff’s office with jurisdiction within 48 hours of the incident. The owner is responsible for removing or arranging to remove the boat at their sole expense.

The sheriff will have the boat recovered next spring. If its owner has yet to be identified, the cost of removal, estimated to be over $8,000, will be borne by Cook County taxpayers.

If you have any information about the owner of this pontoon boat, please call the Cook County Sheriff’s Office at 218-387-3030.

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Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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