Storm topples often-photographed sea stack at Tettegouche State Park

Published 9:48 am Monday, December 2, 2019

By Emily Bright

MPR News/90.1

A beloved and often-photographed sea stack along the Lake Superior shoreline of northeastern Minnesota’s Tettegouche State Park has been toppled by this weekend’s winter storm.

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The sea stack was all that remained of a naturally formed stone arch, which connected the stack with a nearby cliff; the top of the arch fell in August 2010, leaving the stack.

The surviving stack was about 15-20 feet high and about 8 feet in diameter, estimated Karl Mead, interpretive naturalist at Tettegouche State Park.

On Sunday morning, the sea stack was gone, washed away in the storm that dumped an estimated 15 inches of snow in the park and 21.7 inches in Duluth. East winds gusting in excess of 50 mph kicked up mammoth Lake Superior waves.

Mead said Tettegouche is a popular spot for photographers who want to capture the dramatic winds, waves, and ice from a storm on Lake Superior.

“Yesterday, the park was crawling with photographers, most of whom were getting wet by the spray,” he said. “It was that big of a storm, and they couldn’t have been any happier, just shooting the big waves.”

Mead predicted “some good ice formations along the shore” following the storm.

But he added that photographers and other visitors should use caution on icy trails: “if people are going to go check them out, they should really be careful and wear Yaktrax and let people know where they’re going.”