Minnesota’s newest state park has ties to state’s iron mining industry

Posted June 7, 2018

Minnesota’s newest state park has ties to state’s iron mining industry

The Iron Mining Association of Minnesota (IMA) celebrates the ribbon cutting of Minnesota’s newest state park, the Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park.

The state park, combined with the Soudan Underground Mine, covers more than 10 miles of undeveloped lakeshore on Lake Vermilion. The park also sits on former Minnesota iron mining land – five miles were donated by U.S. Steel in 1965, and the remaining land was conveyed by U.S. Steel in 2010 to create the new park.

“This is yet another great example of iron mining and tourism working hand-in-hand to create recreational opportunities for generations to come,” IMA President Kelsey Johnson said. “Former iron mine land is today used for bike trails, an ATV park, swimming and fishing lakes, and now Minnesota’s newest state park.”

Ground was broken for the campground in 2015, and the now completed park is touted as a “next generation” park that includes energy efficient utilities, accessible grounds and trails, and the best Wi-Fi of any of Minnesota’s state parks.

The practice of reclaiming mine land for future use is common among today’s iron mines, which often plant vegetation even while mining is still active, Johnson said. While this is a key value of the iron mining industry today, Johnson notes this work has come a long way since the Soudan Underground Mine closed in 1962.

“This beautiful state park is just another reason why Minnesotans can be proud of our dedicated, responsible, innovative iron mining industry,” Johnson said. “After more than 130 years of iron mining, our region is still home to the cleanest land and water in the state.”