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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park gets $10.8 million

David Colburn
Posted 10/21/20

SOUDAN- Previosly stalled by lack of funding, two major improvement projects at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park are back on track after the Minnesota Legislature designated $10.5 …

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Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park gets $10.8 million

Posted

SOUDAN- Previosly stalled by lack of funding, two major improvement projects at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park are back on track after the Minnesota Legislature designated $10.5 million to them last week as part of a nearly a $1.5 billion bonding package.
The measure allocated $5 million to continue rehabilitating the main mine shaft, which underwent an initial phase of work in 2012 to fix damage from a fire in 2011. Work done at that time revealed more extensive deterioration of steel beams below the seventeenth level of the mine than had been anticipated, as well as additional wood and debris that were potential fire hazards.
Under the proposed plan, contractors will replace nearly all of the steel and concrete beams and clear the wood and debris. Park officials last year projected it would take two winters to complete the work. It is not currently known if the new funding has been allocated in time to commence work this winter.
The mine has been a popular attraction, averaging 35,000 visitors annually who descend the shaft to tour the mine.
The other $5.8 million in the bill was designated for “the predesign, design, and construction of a campground and related infrastructure” at the park, reigniting the plan for a campground in the park south of Hwy. 169 and accessible to off-highway vehicles such as ATVs and snowmobiles.
Another portion of the bill dictates that the DNR must manage the area south of Hwy. 169 as a “secondary unit” state recreation area, and that off-highway vehicles must be permitted to access campgrounds and overnight facilities in that area via designated routes.

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