Friday, April 11, 2014

Pine-Hickory Lakes Roadside Parking Area

US Highway 169

This roadside feature has elements along both the east and west side of US Highway 169 about 6 miles south of Aitkin. Pine Lake is on the west side and consists of a roadside parking area with picnic tables. The parking area looks out to Pine Lake. A restroom building and information board installed by the MHD in 1974 no longer exist at the site.

Parking area at Pine Lake (Little Pine Lake)

Shoreline at parking area

Hickory Lake is on the east side and consists of an unpaved access to the lake. That is the easily seen feature. The older features of this roadside structure are on this side but require a bit of exploring. A stone council ring is on a small rise north of the access road and just off the highway. The ring was built in 1938 by the National Youth Administration (NYA). A smaller fire ring is in the center. The ring is overgrown with brush and weeds and the stonework needs repair.

One of two council rings at the Hickory Lake side

"A low, outdoor stone seats built into the landscapes of gardens or parks
and used as places for discussions, drama, dances and other social activities."

Farther north of the council ring is the stone overlook. This sits on a noticeable rise a couple of hundred feet off the highway. A small fire ring is in the center of the overlook. The overlook was also built by the NYA in 1938. There is no signage indicating the overlook and the state has placed boulders in what looks like seldom used trails to discourage ATV and OHV traffic. 

Overlook side
Entrance side

Pine-Hickory Lakes Roadside Parking Area, Circa 1938 (Mn/DOT photo)
Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways

The site also includes a dam and bridge (bridge 3911) over Ripple River, a second council ring, stone fireplace and stone refuse container; all of which were added during a second site survey.