Deck Honors Houdek Family

From our 2011 Summer Newsletter

July 2011–Three years ago Lori Beurele took a hike at Houdek Dunes Natural Area with her mom and aunt. Our beautiful 330-acre area is land that Lori’s grandparents, Isabel and Charles Houdek, had homesteaded and farmed over 100 years ago. In 1998 the Conservancy purchased the property from a developer who was considering putting in a golf course here and today, hundreds of people visit Houdek Dunes at all times of year.

Lori says she had not yet hiked the natural area, and on the day they visited, all three were charmed. “We came to the big old maple tree and saw the benches there,” says Lori. “And my Aunt Barb (Kirt) said, ‘It would be so nice if our family had something here.’” Her mom, Gen Beuerle, agreed.

That conversation got Lori thinking about what she and her siblings and cousins could do at Houdek Dunes to honor their mothers and grandparents. She set up a meeting with Stewardship Director, Jenee Rowe, to brainstorm possible projects.

The result is this wonderful deck that overlooks beautiful Houdek Creek. Lori spearheaded the family fundraising to make it happen and recruited extended family to come help build it. Ed Beuerle, owns Northern Lumber, provided many of the materials.   Last fall, family members flew in from all over the country to help build the deck as well as to blaze a new trail leading to it.

Nikki Hursey, Lori’s cousin, was among those who helped that day. “Being out there, being able to reminisce and to listen to my mom and my aunts reminisce, it was just so special,” says Nikki, who adds that she and her dad used to fish Houdek Creek. “I wanted to show my children a part of my past and I told them how important it was to me that they help. They loved being out there and when we came back in the spring to finish the work I didn’t have to ask twice. Family is just so important.”

The new deck is off the main hiking loop at Houdek Dunes. We have posted temporary signs to direct hikers to the new overlook. “We’re grateful to the Houdek family, who wanted to give a gift that would honor their moms and grandparents,” says Conservancy Director Brian Price. “But in doing so, they have really given a gift to the entire community.”

If you would like to see the deck being built from start to finish, visit our Flickr site.

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