Soudan Underground Mine State Park finished second in the “America Is Your Park” campaign, part of Coca-Cola’s Live Positively initiative. The park was awarded $50,000 for the honor. The $100,000 first prize and the title of “America’s Favorite Park” were won by Oak Park in Minot, North Dakota.
This is the second year in a row that a northeastern Minnesota state park was among the top finishers in the contest. Bear Head Lake State Park received $100,000 for garnering the most votes in the contest in 2010.
Coca-Cola collaborated with the National Park Foundation, America’s State Parks, and the National Recreation and Park Association to award recreation grants to parks across the country. The grants will be used to restore, rebuild, or enhance places for people of all ages to be active outdoors.
Soudan Underground Mine State Park plans to use the gift to install three interpretive information kiosks in the park, directing visitors to outdoor recreation opportunities, such as hiking and snowshoeing. Additionally, the park hopes to purchase recreation equipment, such as canoes or kayaks, that can be used to explore the Lake Vermilion shoreline.
Soudan Underground Mine State Park, located near Ely, averages more than 30,000 visitors annually. It typically offers underground tours of a historic mine and high-energy physics lab, but a fire in March forced it to cancel tours for the remainder of 2011.