“America’s Lake Vermilion” Its Seasons, Stories, & Spirit A review by Jill Korpela-Bontems

Just published, and now available is a beautiful new book written by John E. Abel and photographed by Thomas E. Hill Jr. This is their second collaboration of a book on Lake Vermilion. The first published in 2010, being “Like An Old Friend” Memories Of Lake Vermilion. Their latest book was written and photographed over two years in all four seasons in the Arrowhead Region of Northeast Minnesota. It has over 200 beautiful photographs that accompany 24 stories of people from all walks of life who share a passion and love for this lake, with its 1,200 miles of shoreline and 365 islands. A theme that runs throughout the book is that we all find a connection…a spiritual wellness from the lake and the land. We invite you to come along with us as we celebrate America’s Lake Vermilion. It truly is one of America’s most beautiful places and one of God’s best gifts in nature. A gift that requires vigilant stewardship. This book stresses the importance of being a good steward to the lake and the land. It also stresses the importance of supporting the people who make that all happen.

Some of the people who play an important role in that task are the members of the Vermilion Lake Association and the 150 volunteers who provide their time and talent to the VLA. The VLA has a history dating back to 1968 when it was known as The Sportsmen’s Club Of Lake Vermilion. The early work of the club was focused to restore the walleye population. The fish hatchery in Pike Bay had been closed in 1946 and no eggs were being harvested or walleyes stocked. By 1968 fishermen and resorts were feeling the effects. The walleye fishery was is serious decline. The newly formed group met with the Conservation Commissioner who assigned a team of biologists to figure out why the fishing was so poor. Their persistent efforts and the support of a few legislators helped convince the Department of Fisheries to reopen the hatchery in 1972. The harvesting of eggs and restocking the lake resumed. What began as a single issue with the decline of the walleye population has now expanded to address other important needs. Jeff Lovgren heads up the VLA’s efforts to help reduce the threat of invasive species. This is done through education and monitoring boat traffic inspections at resorts and public landings. The VLA works closely with the Department of Natural Resources and the National Forestry Service. Other collective efforts by the VLA and its volunteers include: fisheries, halting the spread of invasive species, Loon and Cormorant counting, Loon platforms, navigation lights, shore land restoration, shore lunch site upkeep, vegetation management, and water quality. “The community is so important to our mission. People want to protect and improve what we have.” To find out more about the VLA go to their website www.vermilionlakeassociation.org

Personal stories of people woven throughout the book are as varied and unique as the people telling them. A recurring theme being the first time they came to Lake Vermilion, and their family history with the lake. Other things mentioned over and over is the beauty of the Northland and how it nourishes the best in us. Also, how this lake is beloved by the Bois Forte Native Americans, the surrounding communities of Tower, Cook, and all of the people who visit here.

John Abel and Thomas Hill have captured through their words and photographs, the fabric of Vermilion and the people who care about it in so many ways. And, as John Abel so eloquently states “…What do we do when we find ourselves enjoying the beauty of the natural world around us? First, we express gratitude, and then we remind ourselves that places like Vermilion are not about us.” Being reminded that “The very best gifts are not too good to be true. It’s more to say they’re too good not to be shared.” Vermilion has a community that wants to sustain what God gave them for future generations.

To order this book go to: www.americaslakevermilion.com

If you are a member of the Vermilion Lake Association, note this when ordering, and the author will donate $9.00 to the association to support AIS efforts.

Thank you John for your generosity and for writing this book.

Read eVermilion