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It's 51 acres of wilderness, where deer stare at humans, the fish are plentiful, bears roam freely, the stars shine bright and the northern lights are a common occurrence.

"There's a little bit of everything. You can hunt, swim, fish, lay out on the docks and listen to the loons," Michael Ramsey said of his family's cabin on a rare piece of privately owned property on Big Island in Voyageurs National Park. "It's an incredibly peaceful place."

Ramsey and his family have countless fond memories there. But now with his sister Shelley Paiko living in Plymouth and Ramsey retired in Florida, it's time for them to move on and let new owners make their own memories. The siblings have listed the cabin turnkey with all the furniture.

Paiko said the family's original cabin was struck by lightning, setting it aflame. Their father enlisted their help to build a new one — bringing in materials on boats and barges. Today, the 1981 log cabin stands with two bedrooms, one bath and a deck.

The property is one of just 40 privately owned lands remaining in the park that stretches more than 218,000 acres, said Bob DeGross, park superintendent at Voyageurs National Park. Once there were hundreds, if not thousands, of parcels the National Park Service (NPS) bought for the park starting in the late 1960s.

All of it was done in the name of protecting the land into perpetuity. The NPS offers to buy land it wants to include in the park, but ultimately landowners are allowed to sell their property to whomever they would like, he said.

When purchasing property, "we remove the development and allow it to be restored," he said. "However, if we think there's potential for it to be a good campsite, we could develop it as a campsite."

Lured by the land

The siblings' grandfather Everett Ramsey bought the property in 1958 — before Voyageurs National Park was created — lured by the surrounding serenity and peacefulness, Paiko said. He built a cabin for his family to enjoy the land for years to come, and stuck to that mantra when interested parties later came knocking.

"My grandpa was approached by the Voyageurs National Park many times. He said, 'No, I don't want to sell,'" she said.

Today, the rebuilt cabin, designed by the siblings' father, Everett Ramsey Jr., has many more amenities than the previous one. This structure has running water — which works only in summer — from a tank up on a hill and a generator.

The remote cabin is also equipped with energy from solar panels and has a sprinkler system to ward off wildfires. The area carries cell service from nearby towers, so you can live on or off the grid.

"It was a family effort to build the cabin. My father was the driver of the whole thing. My brother and his family, me and my husband — we all spent time to build this cabin," Paiko said. "It's very hard to put it up for sale. It's my dad's legacy."

Countless wildlife

Michael Ramsey learned how to hunt, fish, swim and boat on the sprawling property. Years later, he taught his son everything he learned.

Over the years, with people ending their leases on the land after their children moved away, the lake has become a lot quieter — allowing for the proliferation of wildlife. For example, the fish in the lake are more abundant, he said.

Many animals here are unfamiliar with humans, choosing to stare at them instead of fleeing, he said. Sitting on the deck looking out at the shoreline, his sister remembers seeing deer, otters, foxes and eagles. In the evenings, loon calls were plentiful.

"These animals have not been hunted for many years; they don't know what a person looks like," Ramsey said. "Usually the deer run away. But here, they don't understand if you're friend or foe."

Beyond wildlife, the natural surroundings are spectacular in other ways. At night, the aurora borealis lights up the sky with flicks of green, purple and yellow.

"One of the things we like to do at 1 to 2 a.m. is to sit on the deck and track satellites, pick out constellations. Voyageurs is one of the best places for stargazing," Paiko said. "The northern lights are one of the unique things to do up there."

Going with the flow

The property is so remote there's not even a road that leads to it. You'll have to take a boat on Rainy Lake and park it on the property's dock.

Ramsey estimates it takes him about 35 minutes by boat to get to the cabin from the main part of International Falls.

"It's strictly a water vacation — kayak and canoe. Everything you do on the park has to be with floating vessels," he said. "As you become familiar up there there's shortcuts — like you can go behind islands to avoid rough currents."

The property has two sand beaches that span 1,400 square feet along the shoreline for some more water fun.

"The cabin is easy to get to; it's peaceful and quiet," Paiko said. "I'd like for it to go to a family that has an appreciation for natural beauty and solitude."

Taylor Patnode (, 763-567-9698) of Timber Ghost Realty has the $1.5 million listing.