Ely, Minnesota

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Ely (pronounced /ˈiːli/, rhyming with "freely") is a city in St. Louis County, Minnesota, USA. It was once named "que quam chep", which means "land of the berries" in the Chippewa language. The population was 3,724 at the 2000 census. It is located in the Vermilion Iron Range, and was historically home to several Iron ore mines.

Today the city is best known as a popular entry point for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and is home to the International Wolf Center and The North American Bear Center.

It's also home to community-oriented newspapers Ely Echo and North Country Angler and radio stations WELY AM & FM. Boundary Waters Radio, is also based here. Ely is host to many community events such as the Blueberry Arts Festival and the Harvest Moon Festival located in Whiteside Park through out the summer months. Veterans Memorial Field is also host to over 90 baseball games a summer between the various youth levels and is slated to host the 2011 American Legion Division II State Tournament, which Ely will earn an automatic bid into.

The city's main street is lined with outfitters, outdoor clothing stores, and restaurants. State Route 1, State Route 169 and County Road 21 (Central Avenue) are the main routes in the city.

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Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2), all of it land.

The famed Echo Trail (St. Louis County Road 116), is a former logging road that runs north and west out of Ely and provides the primary access to the lakes of the western Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The trail is a 72 miles (116 km) roller coaster ride on asphalt and gravel through the untrammeled wilderness of the Superior National Forest and Kabetogama State Forest. Numerous trailheads and canoe portages along the Echo Trail provide access to the BWCAW. A sidetrip presses north to the resort village of Crane Lake, a gateway to Voyageurs National Park. Special attractions: Unmatched views of sharply rolling forest, lakes, wetlands, rivers, and granite crags in one of the most remote areas in the contiguous United States; canoeing, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and primitive camping in the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters; opportunities to see wildlife such as bald eagles, ospreys, moose, bears, wolves, and beavers; blueberry and other wild berry picking and wildflower viewing.

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