Judge rules Telemark lodge abandoned, speeds foreclosuresA Bayfield County judge has ruled that the historic Telemark Lodge and Resort has been abandoned and that foreclosure should be sped up.
By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A Bayfield County judge has ruled that the historic Telemark Lodge and Resort has been abandoned and that foreclosure should be sped up. As dire as that may sound, it’s actually good news for Telemark.
The lodge, built in 1972, is the starting point for the American Birkebeiner, the nation’s largest cross-country ski race. Telemark closed in March. Since then, the foreclosure been going through civil court in Bayfield County. In testimony at a hearing two weeks ago, it was revealed Telemark hasn’t had electricity or water since March, its grass hasn’t been cut, and there’s evidence of looting in the 150 room lodge.
Mortgage holder Dick Short says the abandonment ruling means they can clear the title of lien holders and have a better chance to sell it.
“Our goal is to keep Telemark alive. Hopefully we’ll put a deal together with people who are very credit-worthy and give confidence to the community,“ he said. ”Once the community finds out that there are people who might be interested and are good people, support for Telemark will come back.”
Regardless if Telemark is sold, Short and the American Birkebeiner have reached an agreement to use the 900 acres of property and trails for next February’s race. Birkie Foundation Director Ben Popp says that deal gives them stability. “For us to have the start of the race is vital for us. That we were able to come to an agreement was very important for us and all the participants and the skiers.”
Short expects to have the title clear and free in mid-October for sale but Popp says they’re not planning on it being open in time for the Birkie. “We’re not real hopeful that the facility itself will be open,“ he said, ”however if it is open then we would certainly work to utilize that space as well.”
Around 13,000 people participate in the American Birkebeiner. The race has been an annual event since 1973.