Babe's Love of Maple Syrup

Dave Skyberg, Baxter, MN

A looooong time ago, when Babe and the boys and I first got here, this whole land was covered with virgin forest. The trees were so thick, you couldn’t even swing an ax without hittin’ another tree. We needed some roads, so we could get in there and start loggin’.

I remembered how much Babe loved maple syrup. He was crazy for it! So here's what we did.

Sourdough Sam’s boys took big barrels of maple syrup into the forest, dribbling a sweet, sticky trail of the stuff through the woods and around the lakes, where we wanted the roads to go. I tied my biggest ax to his tail, and turned him loose. 

Well, Babe licked up all that maple syrup and still wanted more. He sniffed his way along the sweet-smelling trail, smackin’ his lips and dabbin’ his tongue as he went. All the while, his big ol’ horns were mowin’ down trees, pretty as you please, in a wide path. The ax drug along behind him, pullin’ out the stumps and flattening the dirt, making a perfect road. 

Settlers and visitors started using Babe's roads, drawn to North Country vacations or putting down roots. Then as logging camps were left, fishing camps or Mom 'n Pop resorts sprang up in their place. Some of the very first resorts in Minnesota started right here. Red Cedar Lodge, Shady Rest and Camp Bertha, to name a few. They all thought this was the 'Ideal' place to live, and that's how this place got its name.

To learn more about Babe's maple syrup rampage through the forest, look for the Interpretive panel kiosk at the Ideal Township Recreational Park located across for the Ideal Town Hall on CSAH 16.