Did you know that Cook County has its own airport? The Cook County Airport and Seaplane Base is a small municipal airport located about 8 miles from Grand Marais on Devil Track Lake. While you won’t find commercial flights flying in and out of this one-runway airport, you will see small privately owned planes zipping in and out. The airport also offers private scenic flights that you can do during your next trip to Lake Superior’s North Shore. Just imagine chasing waterfalls or enjoying the fall colors from above. Down on Devil Track Lake, seaplanes can land at the nearby seaplane base and receive services like gas refills from the Cook County Airport.
Utilize the Cook County Airport
Do you own your own plane? Most visitors to Cook County drive up, but if you already own your own plane, why not fly in? According to an employee, it’s not uncommon for seasonal cabins owners and visitors to come in through the airport. You can park your plane right there and head up to your cabin or resort destination. This will cut the time it takes to travel to the North Shore significantly! Many also use the airport to come up for dinner or a specific event for the day and then depart in the evening. If you have a craving for some local eats, hop on your plane and come on up for dinner. The airport has a courtesy car you can rent for the day if you need transportation into town.
Don’t own your own plane but want a unique activity to do during your trip? You can book a half-hour or hour-long scenic flight. Your pilot will take you up in a small plane and give you a one-of-a-kind tour. Check out the waterfalls, fly over the Grand Marais harbor, and explore the area from a vantage point you can’t get to any other way. We are told this is a very popular option during the Fall Colors Season for the most serious of leaf peepers.
Fall Colors Fly-In Every September
On the third Saturday in September, the Arrowhead Eagles host a pancake breakfast and fall colors flight tour event. This event is a great way for visitors and locals to check out the airport. See what’s going on there and meet some of the local pilots. You can enjoy a pancake breakfast and then take flight a spectacular Fall Colors flight (weather permitting). Proceeds from the event support the local aviation community.
Recent Float Plane Incident – Cascade Vacation Rentals to the Rescue!
Two members of the CVR crew recently assisted in the rescue of an overturned float plane on Devil Track Lake. On July 27, 2022, a 1981 Yellow Cessna 172P flew down from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada landed at the seaplane base on Devil Track Lake. When it came time for take-off right around noon, the plane experienced issues with water in the float. This caused the plane to overturn and crash into Devil Track Lake. The pilot and passenger were able to escape the plane as it was overturning and climbed on top of the overturned plane to await rescue. Cook County resident Kyler Hawsen and a couple of Cook County Sheriff’s Department deputies were able to get to the plane in pontoons. Cook County Search and Rescue and North Shore Health Ambulance were called to the scene. Luckily, neither the pilot nor the passenger reported any injuries.
After ensuring that everyone was OK, the retrieval operation began. This was where CVR came into play. Mike Groth (pictured during the retrieval operation), better known as Rizzo, who manages the CVR fleet of vehicles, and owner Steve Surbaugh were nearby when the crash occurred. Together with others in the area, they were able to pull the plane out of the lake.
Rizzo later shared with the rest of the staff: “Check this out. Steve and I did some fishing this afternoon. :) Very successful!”
They definitely caught a big one!
Learn More, Book a Sightseeing Flight
The Cook County Airport and Seaplane Base currently does not have a website. You can contact them via email at [email protected] or by phone at 218-387-3024 to book a sightseeing flight. Check out the Arrowhead Eagles Facebook Page for information on this year’s Fall Colors Fly-In.
The Cook County Airport and Seaplane Base area is featured in episode 47 of Exploring the North Shore Podcast. This episode, recorded just days before the float plane crash on Devil Track Lake, includes interviews with some airport employees and more information on the services the airport provides. Listen now!