Dayton, Pawlenty join groundbreaking at state’s newest park

Published 3:51 pm Saturday, May 9, 2015

SOUDAN — Gov. Mark Dayton and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty were among the government officials who grabbed shovels to help break ground for Minnesota’s newest state park.

Construction began Friday on the campground at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park.

The Department of Natural Resources says the campground will accommodate more than 250 people nightly in tents and RVs. It’s expected to open in the fall of 2016.

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Future phases of construction could include a visitor center, trail system, cabins and more.

When finished, the park will see an estimated 250,000 visitors each year, bringing an estimated $18.2 million in spending to northeastern Minnesota.

The park opened for day use in 2010, when Pawlenty was governor. The state bought the 3,000-acre property from U.S. Steel for $20 million.