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‘Very large’ tree on Hwy 61 in Cook County, intentionally cut to block traffic


COOK COUNTY, MN-- Early Monday morning, the Cook County Sheriff's Department responded to a 'very large' tree blocking Highway 61 near the border of Lake County and Cook County.

According to a Facebook post from the Sheriff's Department, the tree was blocking both lanes of traffic on Highway 61, and was 'intentionally cut for this purpose'.

The Sheriff's Department said the action was believed to be taken in response to the influx of visitors to the region and concerns of spreading COVID-19 to Cook County.

“This type of action is reckless, dangerous and uncalled for," according to Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen. "The commission of this inappropriate act can carry very serious consequences. If there was a medical transport to Duluth which was a life or death matter and the ambulance was unable to continue due to this irresponsible conduct, the cost is far greater than making this type of statement. Not only does this endanger motorists, but there is also a significant cost to the taxpayers for removal of the tree.”

The Minnesota Department of Transportation had to be called out to remove the tree.

The incident is currently under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Sheriff Eliasen at (218) 387-3030, or email him at

Hunter McCullough

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