Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Bear sanctuary opens new welcome center

Marcus White
Posted 6/6/19

ORR - After three years in planning, the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary will host a grand opening of its new welcome center on Hwy. 53 south of Orr on Saturday, June 15 at 11 a.m.

The welcome …

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Bear sanctuary opens new welcome center

Posted

ORR - After three years in planning, the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary will host a grand opening of its new welcome center on Hwy. 53 south of Orr on Saturday, June 15 at 11 a.m.

The welcome center is located in the old Ferrell Gas building, which also was home to the Timberjay when it first began publishing in the late 1980s.

“We’re finally ready to open it to the public,” center director Stephanie Horner said. “It will raise the profile of the sanctuary with a more visible presence on the main road.”

The sanctuary itself is located about 15 minutes away on Nett Lake Road.

As part of the festivities, the new welcome center will have a ribbon cutting with Orr Mayor Joel Astleford along with prize drawings on the hour.

Many of the prizes are donated, Horner said, from local businesses in Orr.

She said they will also play a documentary series from National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute that features the sanctuary.

The added space allows the center to expand program offerings with a larger space which includes a classroom.

The added parking space will allow for more visitors at the center. Horner previously told the Timberjay in December a shuttle service will be offered between the new welcome center and the sanctuary.

The sanctuary has been open since 1995 when the American Bear Association assumed ownership of the property formerly owned by Vince Shute, who had begun feeding bears at his former logging camp back in the 1970s. Since taking over the site, the association shifted the feeding operation to healthier fare, ended handfeeding of bears, and built a protected viewing platform to keep humans and bears separate.

More information on upcoming programs daily schedules can be found at www.americanbear.org or by calling 218-757-0172.

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