‘Minescapes’ wins Minnesota Book Award

A story about the Iron Range, ‘Minescapes’ wins Minnesota Book Award

Author Pete Kero stopped by The Lift to talk about how 'Minescapes' came to be.

“Minescapes,” Pete Kero’s book exploring the Iron Range landscape’s dual use for recreation and industry, won him the Hognander Minnesota History Award from the Minnesota Book Awards.

He works as an environmental engineer for BARR Engineering and got interested in the history of the land that is now Redhead Mountain Bike Park.

“I like to say the book wrote itself backward,” he said. “The last chapter is autobiographical. It’s about creating the Redhead Mountain Bike Park out of 10 former idled iron mine pits in Chisholm.”

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His publisher, the Minnesota Historical Society Press helped him get nominated for two awards in the non-fiction and history categories.

“You get brought to the theater, you don’t know if you’re going to win or not. They try to amp up the suspense,” Kero said. “And then if you’re selected, they zoom the camera in on you in your seat, kind of like the Emmys or something.”

He was completely surprised when his name announced.

“I was so shocked. In fact, I was sitting there and my wife had to tap me on the leg like, ‘OK, it’s time to go now,'” he said.

He hopes people realize that “minelands don’t need to wastelands.”

“They can be repurposed into innovative things like mountain bike parks but also beaches, trout fishing destinations, scuba diving,” he said. “All of these are examples that are really available in our region.”

The book is available on the Minnesota Historical Society website.