March 19, 2007

Codger's Cove is a camping oasis right in Howard Lake

A campground with all the amenities right in our backyard

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

A heavily wooded 12 acres of camping enjoyment, complete with new sod throughout, is waiting for camping folks from near and far.

Codger’s Cove on Howard Lake is a campground that has undergone a complete facelift.

It was purchased in 2005 by Bruce Nedegaard, who told his brother Mick, “I’ll buy it, if you run it.”

Mick and Lois Nedegaard are the managers of the campground and live on site. Before moving from Plymouth to Howard Lake last spring, the Nedegaards managed five homeowners associations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“Bruce had the whole property leveled and started from scratch. Old buildings and cabins were torn down. All the roads were changed and paved,” manager Mick Nedegaard said.

“We removed a lot of trees, which is unusual, to make room for campers. The campground has all new sewer and water, cable TV, all new buildings including a lodge, a fish cleaning shack, and a maintenance shop,” he said.

New sod was laid last spring throughout the campground. “The whole 12 acres have been sodded. Campers can walk around in their bare feet. At many campgrounds, campers find it hard to do that,” he said.

Both weekend camping and seasonal sites are available, with a total of 104 sites to choose from.

Every site has full service, from water and sewer to 20/30/50 amp electric hook-ups and cable TV to fire rings and picnic tables.

The campground boasts 1,100 feet of lakeshore with a sandy swimming beach.

“The lake itself has a nice, hard sandy bottom and we keep the weeds away. There’s only two to three feet of water around the fishing pier so it’s quite safe for kids,” Lois Nedegaard said.

People have caught many nice-sized sunfish and northerns in that shallow water.

“We had a construction worker building the fish cleaning shack and as he worked, he was watching one of the campers fishing. The fisherman was catching some very large northerns and the carpenter was going crazy because he wanted to be down there fishing, too. So at lunch time, he got his fishing gear out of his car, went down to the same spot, and didn’t even get a bite,” Nedegaard laughed.

The campground also has a private boat launch, a 32-slip marina, a very nice playground, horseshoe court, and shuffleboard court.

“We get a lot of comments about how it’s heavily wooded with mature trees here,” Mick Nedegaard said.

The lodge has log siding and has a spacious interior, offering a convenience store, a game room with video games and a pool table, as well as a juke box, dance floor, and stage.

“In the convenience store, we sell all the basics plus camping supplies, a line of Codger’s clothing, and a fair amount of things for kids, like stuffed animals and toys. We also have hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, and cappuccino,” Nedegaard said.

The lodge also has showers and bathrooms complete with Corian countertops and Corian-lined showers.

“The lodge gets used a lot. Especially on rainy evenings – the room will be full of people playing cards and different types of games,” Nedegaard said.

“We also offer the typical activities like a dance once in a while, pig roasts, pancake breakfasts, and bingo,” he said.

“We’re so fortunate here. We’ve got 40 seasonal campers signed up already and they’re about the 40 nicest people. Campers, in general, are really happy people,” Nedegaard said.

The Nedegaards explained that they get people from all over the country. They even had an over-nighter from Hawaii, who was just passing through.

“Most of our seasonal campers are from the surrounding areas, rather than Minneapolis, which surprised us,” Lois Nedegaard said.

The campground also offers monthly camping, which attracts construction workers who may be working on Highway 12 or some kind of seasonal construction project.

For more information, go to www.codgerscove.com or call (320) 543-2218.

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