Stony Rivers Estate Homeowners Association awarded Firewise Communities/USA Status

by Pam Roberts

Stony River Estate Homeowners Association was awarded the Firewise Communities/USA status in December 2012. &#160;Firewise is a national program, designed for small home owners associations and small communities to protect themselves from wildfires. Stony Rivers Estate is the first community in the Arrowhead to receive this national award. &#160;<BR><BR>Stony River Estate was right on the edge of the Pagami Creek Fire in 2011 and that prompted them all the more to gather together as neighbors with folks in the nearby area to talk about what they could do to protect their homes from wild fires. They are working with Barb Thompson of the Forest Service, B.J. Kolstedt and Michael Dyste of Lake County Emergency Management to devise a firewise plan. &#160;<BR><BR>Area homeowners had already done work on their own on the interior of their property, implementing some of the suggestions. Metal roofs were added on buildings. They got rid of brush, &#160;highly flammable balsam fir trees and cleaned up deadfall trees. But there was too much to do on their own on the 15-20 acres of wooded land along the Stony River near Isabella.&#160;&#160;<BR><BR>The association applied for a grant from the Steven Grant for Continued Fuel Mitigation Projects and were approved. The grant money will be used to hire contractors to help clean and clear the outlying areas of the property beginning this spring, taking maybe three months to complete.&#160;&#160;<BR><BR>Another benefit of the Firewise program was that a dry hydrant was installed at the edge of the Stony River near the Hwy 1 bridge so that a fire truck could connect to it and pump water from the river. The roads will also need to be enlarged enough for firetrucks to have access to all buildings.<BR><BR>Previously, Stony River Estates was the old Kawadinipi Camp which goes back to the early 19th century when it was a logging camp for the St. Croix Lumber Company. <BR><BR>Over the years it has changed to different kinds of camps: a girls camp in the '30-40s, for a while it was a hockey camp with Doug Woog who was head of the hockey program of the University of Minnesota and the lastly it was a small resort, still called Kawadinipi Camp. When that was going to be sold it became a common interest community #6 through Lake County.&#160;<BR><BR>&#160;The land was platted into 12 separate pieces of property and regulated by state and county statutes. Every building was sold individually to a different home owner. In addition to that there is common ground that the association manages. There is a common well, common septic and common dues every year. &#160;<BR><BR>Many resorts throughout the area are turning into common interest communities&#160;because it's getting harder to sell a resort. For more information on how to improve fire protection on your own property, contact B.J. Kolstedt or visit www.firewise.org.<BR><BR>The association is trying to get a Smokey the Bear Fire Danger sign installed along the highway so that when people come in to the area they have more awareness of the current fire danger level, especially for in regard to camp fires.<BR><BR>