New sign at Lake Louise State Park honors early planner
LEROY — About 50 people honored Minnesota’s first state park planner Sunday morning with a ceremony at a new and badly needed sign marking the entrance to Lake Louise State Park.
The sign will include a bronze plague that reads: "In Memory of Bernie Halver, Minnesota State Park Planner, 1960 – 1966, By Family and Friends."
Halver was an early advocate for preserving the land around Lake Louise for public use and was an avid promoter of the park.
At Sunday’s ceremony, his daughter, Judy (Halver) Granmo, said, "His heart was in Minnesota parks and he had a lifelong interest in conservation and environmental issues wherever we lived."
"Camping was always a part of his life, as a Boy Scout here in the old Wildwood Park, and 30 years as a scoutmaster, and with his family."
Bernard A. Halver died Dec. 6, 2007.
"The sign project began as an idea the spring after Bernie died," his daughter said. "My brother and sister-in-law gave a generous memorial gift and suggested it would be nice to do something in the park in his memory."
A trip to the park provided a clear idea of what was needed. "We saw the poor condition of the existing sign and someone said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could replace it with a new one of stone and wood like those in other parks?’"
Park Manager Mark White helped with the red tape, which included an archaeological search of the site for American Indian artifacts.
The planners decided they wanted limestone and wood with routed yellow letters. Suitable limestone was found near Forestville and park employees prepared the stone and moved it to the park.
"The neat thing about people in a small town is that as their enthusiasm grows, they are willing to help," Judy said.
A retired stonemason in Spring Valley agreed to lay the stones if volunteers could be found to move and lift them. The helpers were found, more park personnel and more volunteers joined the effort, and the work was done on Dec. 6 last year, exactly four years after Bernie died.
The Friends of Lake Louise added a Burr Oak tree that grows just to the right of the memorial sign.
The Department of Natural Resources had estimated the cost of the sign at $18,000, but volunteer workers cut the cost to a third of that.