Briarwood Avenue is the main road along the western edge of the new Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. It will eventually be the major access to the Park, as well as the Athletic Complex. But, Briarwood Avenue did not always run along the edge of Bertram Lake. according to county plat maps, in 1879, the original road came south from County Road 39 but turned at 100th Street and continued west, over the hill and through the woods along the south side of Birch Lake.
Also, in earlier times (1850’s & 1860’s) at the corner of 100th and Briarwood, a wagon trail went south around the west side of Bertram Lake and behind the later built Keibel farm. It continued around the south sides of both Bertram and Long Lakes, and into Monticello. 90th Street would later be built over the Monticello part until it connected with Cahill Avenue. The part of Briarwood from 100th would later be connected around Bertram to 90th Street.
On a side note, when the road continued west along the south side of Birch Lake, it went through property owned by none other than Julia Bertram, George Bertram’s wife.
Wright County Parks is soliciting Design Build Proposals for the design and construction of a Beach House and Restroom Facility located at the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park, near Monticello, MN. The project is anticipated to be awarded late in February 2017, with the goal of having the work completed on-site on or before November 1, 2017.
Design Builders shall submit sealed proposals on or before 12pm Central Time on February 17, 2017.
Click here for complete project specifications.
In 1901, a man named Daniel Worthling owned lot #4 of section 9 and lot #3 of section 17 in Monticello Township. These lots included the land from the Bertram Lake Beach north to County Road 39. By 1915, these same plots of land were owned by William Kiebel who built a farmstead just west of the new YMCA Camp.
Between the dates of 1901-1910, this postcard was sent to Newton, Iowa. It is dated September 1, 1906, and it is noted on the card, “This is where your SS (social studies) teacher is spending her vacation.” In the photograph, a girl is fishing with a cane pole sitting on what appears to be a slab of cement. In the background there are two women, a young child and a tent. The location is at Bertram Beach with the oak trees. In the upper right of the photo is the gap in the trees where the access road enters.
Camping, it appears, has at least been happening since the early 1900’s, and continued into the early 1990’s. As for cabins, very little is known and it has been speculated about over the years. Rumor has it that at least three cabins were located west of the beach alongside of the trail leading to the new chalet building. One site may have been located right under the current path from the parking lot.
Continued research is needed, but it is known that the area at and near the beach has been enjoyed by many generations of nature lovers!
The YMCA Camp Manitou has been in operation at Bertram Lakes since 1972. It was located at the south entrance of the current park for over 35 years and has served many thousands of kids with a great camping experience. But, as we all know, times change and two of the original buildings were recently demolished as they had become in disrepair. The “main building” and the “change house” were the buildings removed.
The change house was the place where campers would change into their swimsuits for their time at the beach. It was also used as a storage facility for the smaller sailboats on which the older campers learned to sail.
One year a group of campers decided to dress up the change house by painting the west end of the building. The scene was one of a lake (maybe Bertram) with pictures of some of the animals that inhabit the park ~ beaver, deer, loons, bass, cranes and trees. The only painting out of place is that of a castle. Each character had the name of the camper who painted it next to it. See the pictures in this tidbit.
Halloween is the time of year when ghosts, witches and goblins appear to wreak havoc in the world! During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the staff at YMCA Camp Manitou created the “Trail of Terror” which would include ghosts, skeletons, goblins, witches, and zombies. The trail wound through some of the Bertram property where younger kids riding on a hay wagon would be “scared out of their wits” by the hidden Monsters! It became very popular among area kids and they would look forward to it each year as the leaves began to fall.
For many years, even today, because of the YMCA Camp, the area was referred to as Camp Manitou, a Native American name meaning “Mystical Spirit”. The Bertram Lakes have since become known for its mysteries as strange things have happened there. (See my earlier tidbit, “Hatchet Harry”)
One of these stores is in the form of a tree, the “Witch Tree”. The story is that of a witch who lived in and haunted the area in the past. She grew old but wished to live on, so she turned herself into a sturdy oak tree. She still haunts the woods today with her mangled arms and spooky warts!
I cannot tell you where she is because you need to explore and find her for yourself! When you find her, please take pictures to share, but “warning” don’t stand too close!
Share your voice online. We welcome your comments and suggestions! Visit: https://bertramcol.mysidewalk.com/posts/5842/concept-plan
Friends ~ Please weigh in on the Concept Master Plan for the Athletic Complex at Bertram. Share your voice online by…
Beach Parking Update / Walking Trail to Beach: I know there has been some confusion about how to get to the Bertram…
We’re happy spring is here and we need your Spring Photos for our Capture the Seasons Photo Contest! Please visit…
Mark your calendars for Spring Cleanup at Bertram ~ Volunteers Needed! Will meet at the South Entrance parking lot at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 2nd. Email for details at email@example.com. ☼
In the previous tidbit, Farms II, I mentioned that the farmers who owned and operated the Bertram Lakes land were stewards or “trustees” of the land. As we enter the final stages of the purchase of this land, we must remind ourselves of this stewardship. I recently came across a quote that is very fitting for us. It reads as follows:
As we enter our own stewardship, let us remind ourselves that we need to preserve, protect, and improve when we can so that future generations can enjoy the land also.
The First Annual Photo Contest was a Success! We received over 60 entries in 5 categories. Many amazing photos were submitted and the judging was extremely difficult but the votes are in and the winners have been announced! Shown below are the winning photos. Click on the tabs in the drop down menu to view all photos submitted in each category!
Thank you to all who participated in this event. We love your photos and are looking forward to making this an annual event!
A $3.8 million, 164-acre acquisition successfully closed on June 5, 2014, bringing the park total to 721 acres. The purchase was made possible with $2.2 million in grant funding and additional match funding from Wright County and the City of Monticello.
The next acquisition of 80 acres is slated for 2015. The estimated cost is $2.3 million with $1.4 million coming from grant funding.
With the closing of the latest acquisition, the county and city will now own the beach at Bertram Lake and the 12-acre parcel where the YMCA intends to build its new Day Camp Manitou. The YMCA will operate Camp Manitou on the county and city property through the end of the 2014 season and will transition over to their new camp for the 2015 season. The county and city will look into the options for opening the beach to the public after day camp hours. There are many issues that need to be resolved prior to opening the beach; therefore, it is assumed the public opening of the beach will commence in 2015. Furthermore, the city has secured grant funding to begin Phase I of the Athletic Complex sometime in 2015.
Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) will continue building the single track mountain bike trails in the park this summer. Currently MORC volunteers are working to reroute and rebuild a 10-mile mountain bike loop open to non-motorized use; however, it is expected that the trails will grow to 14 miles. MORC volunteers work on the trails in the park on Wednesday evenings through the summer. Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park is the one place in Wright County that offers mountain biking. The trails are signed and bikers are encouraged to test out the trails. The topography is fun to ride and there are a lot of great switches, so there can be challenging parts!
Once Bertram reaches its planned 1,050 land acres (1,200 acres including water bodies), it will become the largest regional park in Wright County!
Thanks to the hundreds of folks who came out for the
1st Annual Monticello Winter Block Party
Friends of Bertram Snow Sculpting Event!
Although it was a bit chilly, there were four snow sculptures carved on the front lawn of the Community Center and lots of warm conversation and fun inside the building.
Snow sculptures were judged with cash prizes going to
1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners!
Kids snowman building contest winner received an
MCC Gift Card and Certificate!
This was a great event for introducing and updating the Monticello Community on the growing park and its activities.
Hope to see you next year!
Minnesota’s Premier Off-Road Event debuted in 2016 at the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park in Monticello! Less than an hour from metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul but worlds away, Bertram Chain of Lakes is truly a magical place that refreshes the soul. The course, designed by Buffalo Triathlon founder Brett Oden, features miles of wooded singletrack, pine forests, and grassy doubletrack meandering between a chain of sparkling clear non-motorized lakes.
Family friendly, the venue features a large beachfront transition area and an adjacent brand new waterpark, ropes course and zip line, access to which is included in your race entry. Bring the family, join your friends, and feel like a kid at camp again, including live entertainment, food, and a great day of fitness and camaraderie.
The full off-road triathlon consists of a one-third mile open water swim, six-mile mountain bike course, and a three-mile trail run. Individuals may register for the full course, the bike and run only (duathlon), or for the trail run only. Teams of two or three may register for the duathlon or triathlon.
- The Swim begins with a wave start from a gradual wide sandy beach on Lake Bertram, used as a swimming beach for the YMCA camp. The lake is non-motorized and the triangular swim course is staffed with multiple lifeguards along the course. The water is warm mid-summer and wetsuits are not required.
- The Bike course is a mix of beginner and intermediate dirt (no rocks) singletrack and grassy doubletrack with rolling ascents and descents. Any type of mountain bike including fat tire bikes are allowed.
- The Run consists of a blend of wider doubletrack and narrow winding singletrack. The majority of the course is shaded and includes an aid station. Individuals doing the trail run only will have the option of joining friends’ or families’ duathlon/triathlon waves in transition in order to run and finish together.
Awards are given to the top three males and top three females in 10-year age groups as well as the top three males and top three females overall for the triathlon. All members of the winning team for triathlon receive prizes. Awards also given to the top three males and top three females overall for the duathlon and for the run. Winners must be present at the awards ceremony to receive their prizes. Over $1,000 in prizes plus custom mountain bike give-aways!
Click HERE to view the opening video of the race.
Click HERE to view a map of the park layout.
Click HERE to view a map of the course.
The 2017 Triathlon is scheduled for Saturday, July 22nd. Online registration will open December 1, 2016. Please click HERE for more information.