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10,000 trees headed this way soon

Pine Knot News advertising director Ivan Hohnstadt had a tree-mendous idea three years ago.

“Let’s give away 10,000 tree seedlings to celebrate the Pine Knot News being named the most outstanding newspaper in the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” he said, not knowing the paper would win the statewide award three years in a row.

“Tree giveaway 3.0” is launching on Friday, May 26, a day when local businesses, schools and organizations will be giving away a grand total of 10,000 white pine and white spruce seedlings to anyone who promises to give them a good home.

Hohnstadt shared a saying he has taken to heart: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Sponsored by the Pine Knot News and Sappi, it’s a way of giving back. It’s a celebration of Sappi’s numerous awards for being one of the most sustainable paper mills in the world, and of the newspaper's many awards. It’s also a belated celebration of Arbor Day and Earth Day on a date that’s more conducive to planting trees in the Northland. Coincidentally, it’s also Memorial Day weekend, a good time to plant a tree in memory of a loved one.

Getting the trees is a group effort.

Hohnstadt gets the trees from PRT, a tree nursery in Canada that grows trees for the Carlton County Land Department. Sappi is again picking up the tab for the trees. Upper Lakes Foods will put their logistics department to work coordinating the pickup and delivery of the trees from the cold storage facility in Hayward, Wisconsin to Cloquet.

And lots of Pine Knot advertisers and others will help distribute and/or plant the trees, with schoolchildren in Cloquet, Carlton and Barnum also getting seedlings to bring home and plant.

People will have seven days to plant their trees, which will make the journey from Canada to Wisconsin completely frozen. They will be thawed to 36 degrees before they make the trip to Carlton County.

The tree giveaway is also a way to draw customers to local businesses, some of whom were impacted by the pandemic and could use more local shoppers.

The final reason for the great tree giveaway is the simplest.

“It’s like the folks at Magnolia Café say in Carlton: ‘Do Good.’” Hohnstadt said. “This promotion gets a lot of people working together to do good. I don’t see a downside to this at all.”

Want a free tree, or 10? Visit one of these fine area businesses next weekend to pick them up.In Esko trees are available at Arrowhead/Waller Insurance Agency, Edward Jones – Kory Deadrick, and St. Matthews Lutheran Church.

Carlton area businesses include Harold’s Service, Carlton SWCD, Bethesda, Lutheran Church, The Green House, Carlton Meat & Grocery and CreativEdge Design.

Participating businesses in Cloquet are B&B Market, Bearaboo Coffee Escape, Burger’s Shoes & Repair, Cloquet, the Forestry Center, Cloquet Public Library, Common Ground Coffee Bar & Deli, County Seat Theater, Exhaust Pros, H&R Block, Outdoor Advantage, Pine Knot News and Skutevik’s Floral.

Other participants include TJ’s Country Store in Mahtowa, the Brickyard Restaurant in Wrenshall, Alpine Bar & Lounge in Gary-New Duluth and the Oliver Tavern in Oliver, Wisconsin. A special thanks to these groups and organizations for their help in distributing and planting trees: Cloquet Schools, Carlton Schools, Barnum Schools, Girl Scouts/Barnum, the REACH program and BSA Troop 13 of Gary-New Duluth.