After three years of uncertainty, the resort was sold recently and its new owner presented his plans for the establishment at the monthly One Million Cups meeting.
KML Owner John Muller introduced himself to many members of the community as he explained how his new business will fit into the Keweenaw’s future. “Basically what we’re trying to do with the lodge is marry history with future and come up with a vibrant progressive presence. That’s the guiding principle along with making the Keweenaw fun, enjoyable, and adventuresome. If we can do that with our decisions, we’ll be successful as a whole,” Muller said.
Muller says the future of the lodge involves adventure tourism and he is already exploring the possibility of integrating the facility’s location with the Copper Harbor Trails Club, who also made a presentation at the discussion. If implemented, this would bring trails to the grounds allowing direct access to the lodge for hikers and mountain bikers, ultimately contributing to the desirability of the area as a tourist destination.
Another idea that he says should be addressed is company housing. Muller said, “This is a tough area to get to. Most of our employees are living down in Calumet and working up here. That’s a 45 minute drive here so it’s tough to get people up here. It can actually be a hazard in the wintertime if we want to be open in the wintertime. And so we want to work with the community and figure out employee housing to where they don’t have to drive back and forth that 45 minute, and can really enjoy working up here.”
Offering such accommodations would also ensure the resort is adequately staffed at all times. Year round operation is in the future plans, but that won’t start until next winter.
Muller said, “The winters up here are beautiful. There’s lots of snow but that’s actually an opportunity. We’re not going to be open this winter. I don’t have enough data for that and I don’t feel comfortable. We will run some data tests at the cabins to figure out how much it’s going to cost us to keep warm for customers. We’ll open up in May and then try to stay open going forward into November and December, and then grow from there.”
Along with the sale of the Mountain Lodge comes the retirement of its current manager. Long time Keweenaw resident Harvey Desnik was brought on board two years ago to oversee the successful transition. Now that it’s complete, he will be concluding his service at the end of the year.
“I might visit my daughter in Cape Coral, Florida. Maybe some golf next season. I’ll spend more time out in the woods and I’d like to do another book,” said Desnik.