Spring Cleaning at the Bertram Chain of Lakes

The sun is shining and it’s FINALLY getting warm.  It’s time for spring cleaning at Bertram Chain of Lakes!  On Saturday, May 3rd, the Friends of Bertram will hold their third annual Spring park clean-up at BCOL.  The annual spring clean-up gets the park in top shape for the spring and summer season.   Anyone interested in helping is welcome!

The event runs from 10 AM until noon.  Volunteers should bring a pair of sturdy work gloves and  boots - perfect gear for spring cleaning at a park!   Volunteers can simply arrive at the park at 10:00 AM on Saturday the 3rd and the Friends will direct volunteers to designated clean-up areas.

The Wright County Parks Department will handle consolidated trash/debris removal on Monday the 5th.

Volunteer RSVPs aren’t required, but are appreciated!  Email your rsvp or questions to:  angela.schumann@ci.monticello.mn.us

Winter Block Party 2014 a Hit!

IMG_2981 IMG_2975 IMG_3014 IMG_3021IMG_3000Thanks to the hundreds of folks who came out for the 1st Annual Monticello Winter Block Party and 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.  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!

Friends of Bertram at the Monticello Winter Block Party

Snow_Sculpture_Contest_Prep_04[1]Time to FINALLY get out and enjoy the snow and warmer winter temps!  Join the Friends of Bertram Lakes this Saturday, February 22nd at the 1st Annual Monticello Community Center Winter Block Party.  The event features free food, a movie on the big screen at the MCC and the big event – snow sculpting.  There are cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place sculptures.  Get your team together and register today at the MCC . . . there are only a few blocks of snow left!  For the little ones, the Friends are also hosting a snowman contest on the Community Center’s front lawn.

The event runs from noon until 5 PM.

For more information, click here.  See you there!

Why Monticello and Wright County?

One often wonders why people act the way they do, and in George Bertram’s case, what led him to settle in Monticello and Wright County? By looking into his past, we can find some significant reasons why he did so.

          In 1812 George Bertram’s parents, Andrew and Allison, immigrated from Glascow, Scotland to a small town 120 miles NW from Manhattan, NY named Delhi. This town was located along the Delaware River in the county named Otsego. Hmmm

          The road from New York City to Delhi was little more than a wagon trail but it passed through the Catskill Mountains with the rolling hills and valleys. Along the road was a larger town of Monticello, New York.

          What a co-incidence! But wait – there’s more. Early on in Minnesota’s history there was an attempt at creating a small town along the Mississippi River near Dayton, Minnesota. This town, which eventually disappeared, went by the name of Delhi.

          Lastly, what about the county name – Wright? The county was named after a person named Silas Wright from Orange County, New York who happened to be the representative from the same area from where the Bartram’s were living. Wright was an U.S. Representative as well as the Governor of New York from 1845-1846.

          So when George and Julia Bertram were looking for a place to call home, they saw Otsego, Monticello, Delhi and Wright all along the beautiful Mississippi River.

              *Note: the BARTRAM spelling is correct and will be addressed in a later tidbit.

For the Latest in Progress and Planning News

Click Here.2013 Map Image File

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park to Hit the Halfway Mark!

A closing for the next land acquisition at the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park is set for December 17, 2013.  The purchase will include approximately 140 land and water acres lying along the south and west side of the planned park – including a large portion of Bertram Lake.  After months of work on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) pertaining to the development of the YMCA’s Camp Manitou at the park, the purchase is ready to move forward! The Wright County Board of Commissioners and the Monticello City Council, at their respective meetings, both approved the Fourth Addendum to the MOU and its exhibits on November 12, 2013, paving the way for the closing. 

This acquisition will put the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park at almost 640 acres, or over half of the total planned park area of 1,200 acres!  

Find out more about Bertram Park by clicking here!

 

Jim’s History Corner – A Cash Crop at Bertram

Wild ginseng is a fleshy-rooted herb native to cool and shady hardwood forests of North America – Minnesota to the Atlantic and south through the Appalachian Mountains. It has been harvested extensively over the centuries and now is quite rare. Most ginseng currently is produced through commercial cultivation.

Early settlers of the Monticello and Bertram Lakes area were forced to supplement their income from meager crops by, in essence, “living off the land”. A sudden and extraordinary demand for this product in the 1850’s and 1860’s produced a temporary “boom” for the people of Wright County. In almost every town a “purchasing agent” was employed and cash promptly paid for every pound of ginseng brought in. Whole families would go into the woods and work for days gathering their precious commodity, often abandoning other important work.

Many citizens prospered greatly from this endeavor and turned a near destitute region into one of comparable wealth. It helped improve farms at a time when many pioneer families were struggling – especially during the Civil War when many young men were away fighting.

Eventually the trade dwindled but in the meantime agriculture advanced to a state where the ginseng trade was no longer needed.

The Bertram Lakes areas was important at this time and provided the ginseng necessary for many of the surrounding settlers to survive. The area between Bertram and Long Lakes was a primary location for the growth of ginseng.

Jim’s History Corner – A Plague of Locusts

locustJim’s History Corner – A Plague of Locusts

The summer of 1856 was a critical time for the struggling farmer around the Bertram Lakes. They were beginning to turn the tough prairie sod into tillable earth for the production of such crops as wheat, oats and rye and found the soil rich and responsive. Through hard work and good rains, the crops of 1856 were in very good condition and near ready for harvest.

But nature, as always, has it’s own way of doing things. In August, a hoard of locusts (flying grasshoppers) descended on Wright County and in particular the Monticello area. They attacked the oats, stripping the leaves and left only the stems. The wheat, having grown stronger stems, had less damage but the immature seed pods were easy eating. The rye, being the hardier plant, was less damaged but still was left in unusable condition.

Because of eggs being laid during the devastation in August, the next spring the locusts returned and devoured the young crops. Because of the loss of both crops many settlers picked up and left the county. A few, however, turned their attention to other forms of farming, especially dairy, cattle and sheep.

The locusts eventually left and farming in this area became more stable and productive.

An Invite to a Guided Sunset Walk and Full Moon S’mores!

You are invited to a guided walk experience at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park on Sunday, July 21st.  The walk gives you the chance to see the park in a whole new way – after the park closes to the general public.  The guided walk begins at 8:00 PM at the south regional park entrance.  The walk route will wind along the west shore of Long Lake and then beside the eastern shore of Bertram, giving you the chance to see the sunset over the lakeshore.  The tour will end back at the south entrance, where you can enjoy a s’more by the fire while watching a full moon rise over the treetops.

Friends of Bertram are receiving the first notice of this event, so be sure to reserve your spot for the walk and s’mores early!  There is no cost for the event, but registration is required.  Please note that the event will only be held with sun and moon-shine – no raindrops.

Email your registration for the event to:  angela.schumann@ci.monticello.mn.us

Bertram Chain of Lakes Glacial History

Within the last million years much of northern Midwestern USA was periodically covered by vast ice sheets (some 2.0 to 2.5 miles thick).  Today, Minnesota’s surface features are mostly defined by the last (Wisconsin) glacial period which had four phases and ended some 10,000 years ago.

Formation and melt of such consecutive continental glaciers profoundly affected surface features of the land over which they moved.  Vast quantities of rock and soil were scoured by ice from the original terrain and such abrasion redeposited as drift or till during glacial retreats. Till was dumped into preglacial river valleys while drift was carried further and heaped into hills (lateral or terminal moraines) at the margins of glacial lobes.

During meltdown, streams formed within ice sheets carried suspended material laterally (forming elongate eskers) or vertically (forming cone-like kames) which unlike moraine deposits contained few boulders.  And outwash left by receding glaciers in central Minnesota was mainly of reddish sands or gravely shale (as is typical of much of the local Anoka Sand Plain).  Depressions within these areas – in which ice chunks remained – became either fens or kettle lakes depending upon depth and how much water was finally retained.

Minnesota’s current preponderance of lakes represents a far different picture than in preglacial times when most of the land’s rain or melt water rapidly drained to the oceans of earlier eons.  Today – precipitation retained at lake surfaces meanders through connectiBertram Lakeng streams with only a portion of it finally reaching larger rivers and a long-distance run to the Gulf of Mexico.

Bertram Chain of Lakes is now characterized by four lakes – Bertram. Long, Mud and First (each with a maximum depth of 30 to 40 ft) – fed, interconnected, and drained to the Mississippi River by Otter Creek; a sizeable wetland area to the E (Beaver Pond); a unique fen remnant W of Bertram; a stream-bisected esker ridge between Bertram and Long, and a kame hillside E of Long adjacent to 90th Street.  These geologic moments, along with a more recent history of nine demised farmsteads and remnant native versus invasive biota, make this future regional park a mecca of teachable moments for schools in the surrounding urban areas.

 

Martyn J. Dibben, Ph.D.                                                                 Chair, Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Board

Spring Clean-Up at Bertram Park!

Saturday, April 27th, all volunteers are welcome to join the Friends of Bertram Lakes in their clean-up efforts at Bertram Lakes Regional Park.  

The Friends will be cleaning along the roadsides of Briarwood Avenue and 90th Street, as well as the  3.7 miles park pathway loop and the canoe/kayak launch on Long Lake.  Bags will be provided for litter pick-up, but please bring your own boots, gloves and a safety vest (if you have one).

If you are interested in helping, please meet at the park’s south parking lot entrance at 9:00 AM.  

Stay as little or as long as you like.  The event wraps up at noon – but all are welcome to pack a picnic and stay.  It will by 70 degrees and sunny, after all.

Click here to see a map and driving directions.

More questions?  Please call 763-271-3224.

March 2013 Open House – See You There!

Find Out More About the Park & the New Partnership on March 28th!  
Bertram Lakes Open House – March 28th, 6-8 PM
at the Monticello Community Center

Wright County and the City of Monticello are exploring the development of a new partnership with Minnesota Off Road Cyclists (MORC) and have begun the process of creating a Mountain Bike Trail Plan that is proposed to be implemented in phases at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park.  The Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Board has approved the partnership concept and will be bringing the recommendation to the County Board and City Council for formal consideration.

The community is invited to attend a community meeting to kick-off the concept planning process.  The meeting will allow the public to provide input on trails, facility needs, opportunities and priorities.  When the concept planning process is complete, it will be a clear guide for future trail development, policies, funding, operations, and implementation.

The open house will held on Thursday, March 28, 2013 starting at 6:00 p.m. Participants are encouraged to drop in anytime during the open house to provide input to the planning team and learn more about the project.

In addition to the trail planning information there will be a short presentation at 6:00 p.m. regarding the history, past planning efforts, and the Bertram Chain of Lakes Friends Group.  

Open House
Location: 
       Monticello City Hall, 505 Walnut Street
Date/Time:     Thursday, March 28, 20136:00 – 8:00 p.m.

See you there!

 

Bertram Lakes Featured in MN Parks & Trails Council Article

The Minnesota Parks & Trails Council recently posted an online article featuring acquisition progress at the Bertram Chain of Lakes.  Click here to read the article!

A New Partnership Takes Shape – Have Your Say!

Wright County and the City of Monticello is entertaining a partnership with Minnesota Off Road Cyclists (MORC) and have begun the process of creating a Mountain Bike Trail Plan that is proposed to be implemented in phases at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park .  The Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Board has approved the partnership concept and will be bring this recommendation to the County Board and City Council for formal consideration.

The community is invited to attend a community meeting to kick-off the concept planning process.  The meeting will allow the public to provide input on trails, facility needs, opportunities and priorities.  When the concept planning process is complete, it will be a clear guide for future trail development, policies, funding, operations, and implementation.

The open house will held on Thursday, March 28, 2013 starting at 6:00 p.m. Participants are encouraged to drop in anytime during the open house to provide input to the planning team and learn more about the project. 

In addition to the trail planning information there will be a short presentation at 6:00 p.m. regarding the history, past planning efforts, and the Bertram Chain of Lakes Friends Group.   

Open House
Location:        Monticello City Hall, 505 Walnut Street
Date/Time:     Thursday, March 28, 2013
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
A brief presentation will be held at 6:00 PM

Bertram Park about to Reach Milestone

Wright County and the City of Monticello are closing in on the fourth land acqusition for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park.  This next acquisition will include the majority of the west shoreline of Bertram Lake and will bring the park to over 600 acres.  Watch for more news on this important development soon!

Bartram/Bertram?

Jim_Cropped

In an earlier Tidbit, I had noted that I had come across a different spelling of the Name (Bertram). It was the original spelling of George’s parents — Andrew and Alison Bartram — the first “a” not being the “e” that George used later in life.

Andrew
and Alison Bartram immigrated from Glasgow, Scotland in 1812 prior to the outbreak of the War of 1812 and settled in Delhi, New York.

Being from Scotland, they spoke English but with a heavy Scottish brogue. In Scottish the first “a” of the Bartram name was pronounce as a stretched out “b­e-a-r” with a slight rolling of the tongue. It’s hard to describe this on paper but if you ever see me, I can pronounce it for you (hopefully). George’s name of Bartram remained this way for many years until he was indentured as an apprentice tailor in 1833. By this time, the Bartram’s had moved back to New York. (I will address the apprenticeship in a later Tidbit). While performing his apprenticeship, it was common for local children to come by the shop, see him working, and call out “Good Morning, Mr. B-a-a-artram” with a strong trill on the “r” to mock his Gaelic pronunciation.

It was because of this that Mr. Little, after the completion of the 7 years apprentisceship released “Mr. George Bertram” from the original contract. It would be the nFallBertramBeach.Cropame George Monilaws Bertram would carry for the rest of his life.

 

 

 

 

Knickers & Kickers

Cross country skiing is as popular as it ever has been and the Bertram Lakes property will again be a popular spot for the sport and related recreation. Yes, I said again. There was a time in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when the property was the home location for an area club known as the Knickers & Kickers of Monticello

Cooperation between the club and the YMCA created 4 ski trails throughout the property. The first trail was the Bertram Lakes Trail which followed a track around the lake. The second trail started at the Chalet, followed around the east side of Bertram to the old Day Camp, then cut back and followed the Esker along the west side of Long Lake then back to the Chalet. The third trail went along the east side of Bertram then through the Day Camp, hooked up with the horse trail, followed it around the east side of Long, crossed over Otter Creek, then followed the north ridge back to the Chalet. The fourth was the longest trail going east from the Chalet, along the north side of Mud and First lakes, followed through the pine forest near County 39 and back to the Chalet.

A fifth trail was built through the Esker. This trail was known as the Short & Snappy Trail because of the constant up and down of the terrain. It lived up to it’s name.

All of the trails (except Short & Snappy) were groomed by the YMCA in the winter and brushed by the YMCA with the help of the Knickers & Kickers Club members in the summer and fall.

A large map of the trails and their lengths (in miles) was posted at the entrance for any skier who would like to use them.

It’s nice to know that in the future the Bertram Lakes Regional Park will again provide the opportunity for this sport.

And……. Yes….. I was a Kicker who wore Knickers.

Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoe Trail Map

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