Area 31 is a very unique and vibrant wilderness area consisting of 4,000 acres with five private lakes, miles of streams, an oval race track, drag strip, jump course and many miles of trails.
The 640 acres where the main offices and banquet center are located was originally owned by the Gilbertson Family in the 1930’s and then sold the property to Mercury Marine in 1970 for a test center to develop racing snowmobiles for Mercury. Mercury built an oval race track very similar to the Eagle River Derby track to test the racing sleds they were going to race. They also created at the site the Mercury Snow Twister and the Mercury Trail Twister and other prototype racing sleds. Then in the late 1970s Mercury pulled the plug on manufacturing snowmobiles and according to the manager they left a treasure trove of snowmobiles buried on the property.
The 640 acres sat dormant for a little while and then in 1980, Yamaha Motor Corporation bought the property and for the next 42 years, turning the original 640 acres into it’s “top secret test facility”. They spent millions of dollars on buildings and an improved oval, a drag strip and bump course. The facility was shut down to the public and Yamaha did research and development on snowmobiles in a ‘highly secretive fashion’. Nobody was allowed in the work areas and certain trails were developed for the prototype sleds that could not be seen by the public. The early stages of the Phazer were tested on trails made specifically to keep the public away, and are still there today.