Monthly Archives: February 2020

Steamboat Minnehaha Update (February 17, 2020)

Photo courtesy of Jim Douglas

Dear Minnehaha supporters:

Regretfully, the Museum of Lake Minnetonka Board of Directors is forced to cancel the 2020 sailing season for the steamboat Minnehaha, which has been a summer fixture on Lake Minnetonka for the past 24 years. It is particularly disappointing to have to cancel what would have been Minnehaha’s 25th anniversary season. The reason for the cancellation is the loss of access to the only boat launch ramp on the lake that can accommodate the very unique requirements of the steamboat.

When asked to comment, MLM president Jeff Schott stated: “The launch requirements for Minnehaha given its length, weight, and the fact that it’s wood, which requires up to 24 hours to stabilize once launched, make it arguably the most challenging boat on Lake Minnetonka to launch. There is only one boat ramp on the lake that meets our launch requirements and we’ve been fortunate to have use of that ramp for the past 24 years. The property is being sold and the launch site will not be available in 2020 and beyond. Given the prohibitive logistics of modifying another ramp and transporting the boat to it, there are unfortunately no viable options to get the boat in the water this year.”

When asked what steps the MLM Board of Directors are taking to finding a new, permanent home for the boat, board member Tom McCarthy stated: “The Board’s top priority is to find a permanent home and launch site for the boat so it can remain an ongoing part of Lake Minnetonka’s history for generations to come. We have been and continue to be in discussion with a number of communities on the lake and have identified multiple locations that initially appear to be viable solutions. We are moving quickly to assess each option, with the goal of identifying the permanent home site by the end of this summer. At that point, site development will begin along with a fundraising campaign for the new facility. While we are saddened to miss this season, creating a long-term permanent solution for the boat is critically important for Minnehaha’s long-term survival and viability.”

The Minnehaha volunteers and organization have been very gratified by the outpouring of support from local residents, government, and civic groups. We plan to work closely with these stakeholders to find the best solution.

The MLM wants to clearly state that this is not the end for Minnehaha on Lake Minnetonka. This summer will allow extra long-term maintenance to be done so that when the boat is back in service it will be in the best condition it’s been in since its relaunch 24 years ago.

As new information on a permanent home becomes available, the board will provide updates.

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