For a loon that was to be a boon, a sad tune in Park Rapids

It was on this date in 1961 that the loon was adopted as the official state bird, and to mark the occasion we have sad news: there will be no gigantic loon in Park Rapids, Minn.

That’s the sort of thing that could have put Park Rapids on the map. But the planning commission learned this week that artist and developer, Arch Simonson, has pulled the plug on the project, basically because people love gigantic loons so much they could get hit by a car.

It was to be placed at the intersection of U.S. 71 and Minnesota Highway 34, the Park Rapids Enterprise reports, but Simonson determined that in order to get a good picture of it, people would have to keep backing up until they were in traffic.

The 24-foot loon, made of stainless steel and copper, is already built. The project would have required taking nearby property, but Simonson reportedly was unable to come to an agreement on a purchase price for the property.

“In our estimation, this marks a sad end to the idea for Park Rapids,” said city planner Andrew Mack.

The loon was originally going to go on the land around a private home on Pelican, but it ran into a snag with zoning.

  • John O.

    They should see if MN United might be interested in having it adorn their new stadium.

  • MrE85

    Black Duck, Rotshay and Wheaton all have giant birds. I’ve seen them all.

  • Andrew

    I visited Park Rapids many times as a kid and there are two attributes I always think of:

    Parking spaces in the middle of Main:

    Fantastic Candy Shops:
    Aunt Belle’s Confectionary
    Cuzzin’s Candy Store

    All are must-see’s.

    • TBH

      I loved that area growing up and heading to my grandparents cabin. It was just habit to call it a cabin being a city dweller, but hindsight 20/20 tells me that was their home.

      I managed to have my first driving lesson up there on my grandpa’s lap as I was too short to reach the steering wheel considering I was 7. The lesson did not last long.

  • Al

    Given Instagram culture driving folks to swarm otherwise peaceful places for the perfect shot, I’m guessing the loon’s would-be neighbors on Pelican Lake are pretty relieved about the zoning ruling.

  • Jay Sieling

    We have Big Ole in Alexandria. The big viking once stood at the intersection of Broadway (state Hwy29) and County 82. MnDot insisted it could no longer stand there…apparently for similar reasons as the Park Rapids loon. And more that a few fender benders. The statue was moved one block north, still in the middle of the road for a time. It was finally moved to the side of the road – now with a nice parking area and city park on the shores of Lake Agnes.

    I’m surprised this project would have been allowed by MnDot at that intersection. People miss Big Ole in the center of the road, but traffic needs dictated a move.

  • It’s a shame those turkeys were too chicken and called fowl on that that loon. Let’s hope they don’t duck out on their responsibility and are able to find a new nest for it.

    • JamieHX

      I like your words, but not so much their meaning. It was an incredibly responsible, community-minded thing for them to pull the project.