Minnesota's Newest State Park

By KBJR News 1

September 8, 2010 Updated Sep 8, 2010 at 8:24 AM CDT

That is about to change however as work continues to get Lake Vermilion State park ready for the public.

Allister Olson is a crew leader with Conservation Corps.

He and his crew are just some of the many people helping get Lake Vermilion State Park ready for the public.

"We're just coming through with brush saws and chain saws. We're just making this passable for vehicles," said Olson.

The new state park will combine with Soudan Underground Mine State park, totaling more than 4,000 acres.

Park officials have confirmed some of northern Minnesota's favorites will be in this park, including loons, beavers, bear, and moose.

Jim Essig is now the park manager at both Lake Vermilion State Park and Soudan Underground Mine State Park.

He expects the lake itself will be the parks main attraction.

That whole lake I think will be a major draw for people. They will have that 'Up North Lake' experience " said Essig.

On the highest point in Lake Vermilion State Park you can look out on Mattson Bay in Lake Vermilion and see some of the 368 islands on the lake.

Essig says botonists in the park are also finding some unexpected plants within the new park.

"They found a large amount of bass wood in one particular area. Today they are trying to look at what is considered more of a hard wood forest type in some of the areas that are rock over looks over Lake Vermilion and so they want to spend a little extra time looking at that because it is unique for this area," said Essig.

In an effort to find out what land within the park is able to be developed, Essig says a more in–depth resource assessment is being done before the park opens.

"This is brand new property. This has never had any development on it. It's probably the first time in 30 years we've had a piece of property purchased by the department and from square one we can go in and develop it like we feel we need to," said Essig.

Essig says input from the community differs as to whether the new state park should be a major development, or a hike–in, boat–in location.

"I think we are going to end up somewhere in–between the two. We're going to have a little bit of both, and that's the way it should be," said Essig.

And for those looking for a place to take in the fall colors, DNR officials say in a few weeks, areas that are currently open to the public will be rich with colorful displays.