Range Stories

There are so many ways to connect with the people and places of the Iron Range. Learn how our friends and neighbors have found community and a place to call home.

Meet Katie!

After moving nine times in eight years, I made the very intentional decision to move to Hibbing. I knew that it was where I wanted to be and it was the best decision of my life.

Shortly after closing on my first home, I met the love of my life and the rest, they say is history. Girl meets boy, they fall in love and they choose to raise a trio of kids and a couple of dogs. Life on the Iron Range is every bit as crazy as that of my friends in metro areas, but with a few more perks.

We traded long commutes for afternoon drives to the cabin and have the luxury of walking or biking to school sporting events and city parks. Our schools are great and our kids are active and healthy. We’re able to spend more time living life than driving to events in our life.

I’m a small business owner and am thankful that I have the power to decide where my business will be located. As a graphic designer, I rely on connectivity to work with my clients from coast to coast, helping them to build their brands.


What is a “Real Ranger”?  

Real Ranger is a community movement developed with the future of the Iron Range in mind. Our desire is to show everyone the individuals who live, work and play within the Iron Range.  Our community is seeking to  inspire all to share the positive stories, events, activities and people that make the Iron Range a place to be celebrated. 
Showcasing the people, places and passion of everything-Iron Range is what we are about.

Check us out on Facebook and Instagram.


Say Hello to Some Fat (and happy) Chickens

Crossing Mesabi at Fat Chicken Farm

Janna shares how she has been able to connect to the area through her Fat Chicken Farm and become involved in a community food share program or community supported agriculture. She has found a sense of place and history that Embarrass has to offer.


Mickey Makes a New Life

Mary Margaret White – known as “Mickey” to friends and family – spent the first part of her life moving across the country from big city to big city. Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Tucson, Chicago, Boston, and more.

But the place that feels most comfortable to her is the Iron Range.

Today, she lives on an old Finnish homestead in Embarrass that has been in her husband’s family for generations. Mickey can step out her front door and glide right onto cross-country ski trails that wind through the boreal forest. She and her husband, Chuck, tend a bountiful garden and spend summer and winter days bird watching, and nights listening for owls and the occasional call of the wolf.

“I’m out in the natural world, every day,” Mickey says. She loves the ethnic traditions that still have roots on the Range, from saunas to sarmas. “I have good friends, a healthy lifestyle, and all this natural beauty. I am happy to be a country girl after decades of city living,” she says.

Mickey still visits friends and family in some of those big cities. But would she ever move back? Not likely.

“I think I’m here forever,” she says. “This feels like home.”


Learn Why Jill digs our history

Crossing Mesabi: Minnesota Discovery Center with Jill Aubin

Jill Aubin with the Minnesota Discovery Center shares insights on how the trolly system changed the area in the early 1900s to open up the region.


See how Daniel blazed new trails

“Mesabi Outdoor Adventures has been an exciting addition to my life since moving to the Iron Range last year. The organization has connected me to so many unique and amazing people, and has given me numerous opportunities to embrace the outdoors through the advent of scheduled weekly events as well as the occurrence of special experiences and spontaneous get-togethers that pop up periodically throughout the year. From one angle, Mesabi Outdoor Adventures (MOA) has the power to spend the money right out of your wallet, as I went from 0 bikes to 3 bikes within about 6 months. Though, from a more serious angle, MOA aims to make getting outdoors accessible to as many people in the Iron Range communities as possible. The organization has a number of high quality kayaks, bikes, and other recreation equipment available to be borrowed at its numerous calendar events. This alone speaks to the welcoming environment MOA strives for. Within minutes of my first bike ride with the organization, I met more people than I can count on one hand, and I can now call this handful of people my friends, as well as many more that I have met in the time since that first experience. This organization brings together people from many different walks of life to explore the beauty and excitement of the vast and diverse outdoors here in Northern Minnesota. I am truly grateful for the opportunities and friendships Mesabi Outdoor Adventures has given me, and I hope that many others will also discover the joy that this organization brings to our area. As for the 3 bikes and the empty wallet, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Daniel Melby

Benji is Building MTB on the Range

Crossing Mesabi with Benji Neff from Giants Ridge

Benji Neff from Giant’s Ridge discusses the 10 gravity mountain bike trails that are being developed along with their full strategy to become the biggest mountain bike park in the midwest. This is only one addition to the skiing, golfing, biking, and wall climbing Giant’s Ridge has to offer. 


Jim’s family finds a second home

Crossing Mesabi: Campsite #33

Jim takes us on a tour of campsite 33 at the beautiful Vermilion Trail Campground on Embarrass Lake in Biwabik. He shares how the many activities that they connect with regularly in the area makes it not just a place you visit, rather a place where you stay. 


Bret believes in bringing people together

Crossing Mesabi with Mesabi Outdoor Adventures

Bret Alexander shares his own story of how his vision for creating Mesabi Outdoor Adventures in 2018 became a reality. It has become a way to help create a sense of community and help others connect with the amazing nature and outdoor activities available on the iron range.