Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

State park campground set to open Sept. 12

Reservations accepted starting next Wednesday

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 8/30/17

LAKE VERMILION— After two years of construction, the new Vermilion Ridge Campground at the Lake Vermilion-Soudan Mine State Park is set to open, at least partially, later this month.

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State park campground set to open Sept. 12

Reservations accepted starting next Wednesday

Posted

LAKE VERMILION— After two years of construction, the new Vermilion Ridge Campground at the Lake Vermilion-Soudan Mine State Park is set to open, at least partially, later this month.

The Department of Natural Resources will open the gates and allow campers into the facility beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Park officials say about two-dozen of the 33 individual campsites and one of the three group camps will likely be open for campers. The rest will remain closed to allow planted vegetation more time to get established.

The DNR will begin accepting reservations for camping this fall at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6. The campground will remain open through Oct. 22, when it will close for the season. A grand opening for the campground is set for next May.

The two-year construction period was longer than usual, but park officials note that the project was particularly difficult because of its remote location and the geology of the area, which required construction of a lakewater treatment facility due to the presence of naturally-occurring arsenic in well water at the site. Also, the site had limited road access and no nearby electrical utilities. “This wasn’t just a matter of building a campground,” said Park Manager Jim Essig. “A lot of things had to go into this project.”

Campground users will find a facility unlike any built so far at a Minnesota state park. All 33 of the facility’s individual campsites come equipped with electricity and Wi-Fi, while the three large group camps come with screened picnic shelters. All of the campers will have access to modern shower and bathroom buildings, designed with a focus on energy efficiency and a light carbon footprint.

“As you drive into the park, you’ll notice a new style of signs, a new style of buildings that incorporate local stone and better Wi-Fi connectivity than at any other Minnesota state park,” said DNR Parks and Trails Director Erika Rivers. “These are examples of what makes this a ‘next-generation’ park.”

DNR officials had hoped to hold off on the campground’s opening until an information center was completed near the park’s entrance, but that project has suffered from a number of delays and won’t be open for use when the campground opens later this month. The park’s entrance sign is currently scheduled to be in place by Sept. 12, but park officials aren’t making any guarantees that the schedule will actually be met.

Park officials are asking visitors to remember that the park remains a work in progress and that some trails and other portions of the park may be signed as closed to public use.

Even so, visitors to the park will have access to the Armstrong Bay picnic area, the Mesabi Bike Trail and a new boat ramp that provides access to Lake Vermilion. Tours of the Soudan Mine will run daily through the end of September and on weekends in October through Sunday, Oct 22.

Camping reservations are required at all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas. Reservations can be made up to one year in advance by visiting the DNR website, www.mndnr.gov/reservations or by calling 866-857-2757.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

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snowshoe2

Awesome

Wednesday, August 30, 2017