Pete Kero’s ‘Minescapes’ explores the resilience and renewal of mined lands in Minnesota’s Iron Range
Pete Kero

Pete Kero’s ‘Minescapes’ explores the resilience and renewal of mined lands in Minnesota’s Iron Range

For generations, the Iron Range in Minnesota has been synonymous with mining, an industry that has profoundly shaped the physical and economic landscape of the region. But Pete Kero, an environmental engineer and author, is now illuminating an alternative dimension of this terrain through his newly released book, “Minescapes.”

Kero’s book highlights numerous examples of repurposed mined lands across the Iron Range, illustrating the potential of these areas to contribute to local communities and economies. Some examples are the Redhead Mountain Bike Park in Chisholm, Lake Ore-Be-Gone in Gilbert, and the OHV Recreation Area in Gilbert. 

“The book really tells a story about mining that isn’t often told,” Kero said. “I tried to tell the story about how these mined lands can be brought back to life.”

Kero explores nature’s resilience in reclaiming the mined areas by sharing anecdotes of how once-barren mining sites became thriving ecosystems with diverse plant life, wildlife, and even recreational activities. “To me, it was just a testament of how nature can rebound in some of these areas to really bring them back to life for wildlife habitat and to reintegrate into northeast Minnesota.”

One of the central questions Kero’s book raises is how the perception of mining might change in light of these efforts to reclaim and repurpose mined lands. He believes that people’s views on mining can evolve by showcasing the potential for reclamation and the relationship between mining and recreation.

Amidst the United States’ push toward sustainable energy, Kero emphasized that “mining plays a role in the green energy transition.” By showcasing the potential transformation of mined lands, Kero aims to positively influence public perception as the U.S. continues mining endeavors to meet the growing demands of sustainable energy and development. 

Kero will be in Grand Marais to give an author talk event at Drury Lane Books on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m.

“I’m excited to be back in Grand Marais,” he said. “I love speaking with my readers and people who are just generally interested in this topic. Some of the most interesting conversations.”

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Pete Kero, an environmental engineer and author of “Minescapes,” about his recently published book. Audio from the interview is below.