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Celebration for New Campground at Lake Vermilion

Updated: June 07, 2018 09:04 PM

The new campground, Vermilion Ridge, is already a hopping place. When we stopped by on Thursday, Kevin Anderson's crew of fishermen were just finishing up shore lunch that they had caught on Lake Vermilion.

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"It was before Christmas, we said, hey, let's go to the new state park. We go somewhere as a group every year. We had the permits by Christmas. The date came, and here we are," he said. They were enjoying the bathrooms, water, and electricity! "Yeah, now we can have a Crock-pot full of roast beef for dinner," he added.

There are 33 individual drive-in campsites available, and three larger group sites. At the largest group site, the DNR hosted a ribbon cutting on Thursday morning. Tribal members from Bois Forte participated with a blessing and drumming.

Commissioner Tom Landwehr said, "I expect this is going to be one the parks you need to book a year in advance to get a spot."

They have installed WiFi throughout the campground. Plus there's energy-efficient technology in place, like solar panels on buildings and some on-demand plumbing systems.

"This is an amazing place for you to spend time and create memories with your families," Landwehr added. 

Plus, it's near the Soudan Underground Mine, a popular tourist destination. And a nod to the area's rich history of mining.

Tom Bakk, the state senator from Cook, mentioned that history matters. "Iron ore mining started in 1881 with a pick and shovel in Soudan." 

In fact, the Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park was made possible thanks to U.S. Steel, which sold 3000 acres of prime land and shoreline to the state back in 2010. The park has been in development for years. 

Community members are excited the campground is open for business. "I think it's wonderful. When they started talking about it, I thought that's perfect! It's wilderness up here, and people need to come up here and enjoy what I enjoyed growing up in Soudan," said Pat Heikkila, who now lives in Aurora.

For more information about the campground: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00285#overnight_facilities

And to reserve a site: https://reservemn.usedirect.com/MinnesotaWeb/

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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