Mille Lacs County intern puts survey savvy to work on sections

Three young men recently started work in Mille Lacs County for the summer doing a variety of seasonal tasks related to the environment.

Keenan Hayes  Survey Intern
Keenan Hayes
Survey Intern

Keenan Hayes is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environment and sustainability from the University of Minnesota Duluth and expects to graduate in December. He will work as a survey intern in the Mille Lacs County Land Services Office through the summer. He said the job he’s doing and what he’s studying go hand in hand, and he values the experience because he’d like to work for a county someday.
“What I mostly do is section corners in the townships,” Hayes said.
His work involves finding and accurately marking property boundaries using GPS, computer-aided design and other technology. He said many of the local boundaries were first marked in the 1880s, when people used a monument of some kind, including granite, cast-iron pieces and such artifacts as gun barrels or wagon axles. Hayes said it’s interesting to search for the markers, and he has to dig around extra for the granite ones, since they don’t respond to the magnetic finder he uses.
Hayes said in the 1880s, owners measured land with 40-foot chains, so as time and resources allow, those boundaries are found and mapped more accurately with modern technology.
Hayes said the Mille Lacs County job is the first he’s had in the public sector. He said the thing that has surprised him is probably how the general public is not necessarily a fan of county workers and not always glad to see them coming. He said people seem wary and guarded at first but usually relax after they learn what he’s doing and why.
Hayes said he found the job while searching online for anything and everything this summer. He’s from Milaca, so he was excited to find a position close to home.