Paleo-Indian Peoples occupied the North Shore watershed 10,000 to 11,000 B.P. Indigenous occupation of the shore remained uninterrupted until first contact with the Voyagers. In 1854, the U.S. signed a treaty with the Ojibwe Indians that opened up most of the area to white settlement.
In 1899, the Norwegian family of John Gunderson originally homesteaded Sugarloaf Cove. Relatives of the Gunderson family still reside in nearby Schroeder.
From 1943 to 1971, Consolidated Papers, Inc. used this site to store pulpwood logs during the winter. During the spring and summer months, tugboats rafted the logs across Lake Superior to Ashland, Wisconsin.
Consolidated Papers, Inc. maintained at least 14 buildings on site including two homes, an office with living quarters for two foresters and a clerk, and support facilities for loggers and rafters. There were also five underground fuel tanks, four wells, and a large maintenance garage. A root cellar, metal mooring rings, and boom logs are all remaining reminders of the logging history of Sugarloaf Cove.
1985-2005 Twenty years of restoration
In February 1998, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) and Sugarloaf finalized a land exchange giving Sugarloaf ownership of the remaining acreage at Sugarloaf Cove.
From 1999-2001, a large wetland and upland restoration project was conducted in partnership with the MN DNR. Over 12,000 native trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses were planted to restore the site. Fill material was excavated and ground contours were restored. About 120 volunteers helped with the project.
2005 – Today – Growing to meet the future
In 2005, we became Sugarloaf: The North Shore Stewardship Association. At the same time, our mission grew to reflect our interest in restoring the entire North Shore forest to a healthy, functioning ecosystem while expanding our educational opportunities at Sugarloaf Cove.