Green Business 2016-11-22T21:43:17+00:00

Northern Lights Resort is a Green Business

Go Green!

We are conscious of and deal responsibly with our environment. You may have noticed that we are an award winning resort in Minnesota for our great strides towards sustainability and good care of the earth.  But there is no resting on our laurels and we are continually integrating new ideas into our business practices and home. Each year we raise the bar for ourselves to continually improve on our green business mission,

Our vision is to live and work in an ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just environment all in a beautiful and relaxing setting in the north woods of Minnesota. Our mission is simple: to take consistent steps in our own home and business to achieve that vision!

What is the true measure of our success? We have happy guests and have left the earth a better place for future generations. 

Northern Lights Resort Recognized by the State of MN Tourism in 2008 

Minnesota State Tourism awarded Northern Lights Resort the Sustainability Business of the year.…for superior sustainability practices.  As the very first business in the State of Minnesota to earn this recognition, we couldn’t be more pleased of our long standing tradition of “going green”!

Today, we are proud members of Green America, a reputable organization whose mission is to harness the strength of consumers, investors and businesses to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. As a Green America “Green Business” we adopt green practices to improve quality of life.

Here is a sample of the measures we take to operate as a green business and take good care of our staff, guests and beautiful environment around us.

The top sustainability resort feature that sets us apart from other lodging businesses is our sewer pre-treatment system:

  • Let’s face it, safely handling of sewage is a very critical part of our operation, since we are so near to the water’s edge and we take handling our guests “pooh” very seriously!
  • Our bio-engineered wetland filled with cattails pre-treats our sewer much like swamps functions to filter run off water before it enters a stream.
  • Northern Lights has a sophisticated pre-treatment sewer system that is collected from around the resort, pumped to pre-treatment wetlands and eventually to alternating drain fields 800′ to 1,300′ back from the lake.
  • This project was a collaboration with the University of Minnesota and local government and one of the first of it’s kind in Minnesota over 20 years ago.
  • The water at the back side of the cattail field runs clear with no smell as it continues into the traditional septic mound.. Now that’s putting mother nature to work for you!


Below find other measures we integrate around the resort to ensure a safe and more sustainable business:

  • Prior to the opening of the season, we sanitize the well and the entire water system (being the system has not been used since the prior fall) to every faucet of every cabin and every faucet of possible personal consumption.
  • Well water is softened to improve usability and taste to save unnecessary bottled water usage.
  • We conserve water with low flush toilets, water saver shower heads and other devices.
  • We have developed a simple fresh well water and gray water system to manage our live bait tank and fish cleaning room
  • We have converted most all of our lights to low watt florescent or LED light bulbs.
  • We have converted our outboard motors to 4-stroke for more efficient gas consumption and less lake pollution.
  • We use non-toxic measures to dissuade rodents and insects that may intrude the cabins and when possible low volitic paints and stains.
  • We use biodegradable and safe cleaning products and laundry detergents. You will often see our staff use natural baking soda and vinegar and water. Our “Simple Green” all purpose cleaner is an industry leader and publishes all ingredients ensuring NO phosphates are released into our waterways.
  • As we refurbish cabins, we add high efficiency appliances, add insulation and “reuse” supplies whenever possible. Wood from the Teton Lodge Loft Floor addition (2014) became the trim on the base of the new Muskie cabin fireplace (2015) for instance! The plywood entrance to the lodge is being replaced by a hardwood estimated to last upwards of 30 years, without requiring chemical stains and purchased from a local, small business owner.
  • Our lodge and each cabin has recycling containers.
  • Leaves are composted and spread in green areas/ grass clippings are left
    Firewood is purchased from local lumberjacks.
  • Locally made gifts are offered in our store, including luxurious hand made soaps. We also sell Minnesota wild rice, honey and local sourced maple syrup!
  • We have for sale in our gift store, certified organic and fair trade teas and coffee and chocolate (while it lasts)!

Look for our “Eco” label on gifts in our store that are fairly traded, organic or made right here in Minnesota!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

Our guests can help!

  • Use Recycling bins provided in your cabin – all garbage is hand sorted by our staff
  • Take a “Green Shower” –group showers conserve water!
  • Turn off lights when not in use. We recommend guests conserve air conditioning/heating/electricity when not in use.
  • With our cool Minnesota summer nights, open the windows in the evening and close them during the day to keep the cabins comfortable.
  • Dress in layers of clothing to adjust to variable climates outside and indoors!
  • If you are interested in delving deeper into “going green’ in your own home and community, we encourage you to checkout this great resource as a catalyst. Thanks to the Alliance for Sustainability for providing this helpful resource:

We are the only Green resort / lodging in Voyageurs National Park and 1 of only 2 hotels in all of Minnesota that is listed on the National Green Pages. It’s an honor and distinction we are proud of!

We continually strive to take good care of our resort community & our slice of earth here in the heat of Voyageurs National Park. If we leave the earth in a better place for future generations, we’ve succeeded. If you have any suggestions for us, we’d love to hear from you!

Steve & Tracy

and the NLRO Team