A Margaret Kinnunen Award, established by the Northern Lights Tourism Alliance to recognize outstanding achievements in heritage tourism development, was presented to Berger and Maryon Aulie for their efforts to document and preserve the heritage of the Cuyuna Range.
The award was presented to the Aulies at Woodland Good Samaritan Village in Brainerd earlier this month.
The Aulies are active members of the Cuyuna Country Heritage Preservation Society. Both have been involved in authoring three volumes recounting the history of the area, titled "Cuyuna Country: A People's History." They also help to produce the society's newsletter "Digging into the Past," and have participated in the production of a cookbook, "Gourmet Grub -- Cuyuna Range Roots & Recipes." The cookbook includes recipes and a history of Cuyuna cookery, as well as biographies of many of its contributors. Information contained in the cookbook dates back to the 1800s.
Volume I of the "Cuyuna Country: A People's History" series records development in the region from pre-history to the early 1900s. It contains hundreds of photos and paintings, along with maps on which are located the first homesteads in what became Bay Lake, Deerwood, Crosby, Ironton, Emily and other Cuyuna Range communities.
Volume II covers the early 1900s to the end of World War II, including the mining era during which the Cuyuna Range was transformed into a unique melting pot of cultures as immigrants poured into the region to work in the iron mines.
Volume III details the history of the region from World War II to the present.
Capitalizing on the knowledge Maryon gained from her 30-year career as a nurse in Crosby medical facilities, they collaborated on a medical history of the area. Maryon also led the effort to collect approximately 400 oral histories from area residents.
Mary Somnis, director of tourism and marketing for the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Agency, said the couple's contributions are significant.
"Berger and Maryon Aulie have dedicated a major part of their lives to preserving the history of the Cuyuna Range," she said. "I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award."
The NLTA is a citizens' board that advises the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Agency about tourism issues. It is composed of tourism associations, attractions and businesses from throughout the Taconite Tax Relief Area.
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