The dream of a Lake Vermilion State Park is now a reality after the State of Minnesota and U.S. Steel Corporation signed a deal yesterday that put 3,000 acres of company land along the picturesque lake under state ownership.
The StarTribune has a story on the deal’s closing HERE.
Governor Tim Pawlenty, a strong proponent of the purchase, signed documents yesterday transferring ownership of the acreage. The $20-million deal appeared undone more than once during negotiations between the State and US. Steel, but in the end the purchase will add the first new State Park in Minnesota in 30 years.
Some opponents of the land purchase hoped the parcel would be opened to private development which could have brought increased tax revenue to the area. Critics also question whether funds will be available to develop the park. Only $2-million of the $20-million state appropriated for the park is allocated for development.
The Duluth News Tribune has a story about park opposition HERE.
A trail system from the adjoining Soudan Underground Mine State Park into Lake Vermilion State Park will be built this summer. By fall, a more extensive system of cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails is expected to be completed. DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten said that under a best-case scenario, the park would need six years for full development.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources web page on the park can be found HERE.