Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced this week that US Steel has agreed to the sale of land on the shores of Lake Vermilion for $18 million. The announcment came last Friday. This could be one of the states greatest and most wonderful state parks.
" This will be one of the crown jewels of the state park system," said DNR Commissioner Mark Holstein in a January press conference.
There was talks over two years ago of purchasing the property, but US Steel broke the negotiations due to permits for other operations interfering. The DNR is not giving much details of the agreement. Word has it that Governor Pawlenty reinitiated the agreement back in November which led to the Friday agreement.
There are some concerns in the area of overuse and keeping the lake pristine, however it would more than likely bring in more local revenue to the Ely/Tower area in the form of fishing and vacationing.
If the powers that be agree with the plan, the new park could be operational to limited day use as early as mid-summer 2011, and fully operational by 2012. The full development with visitor center, trails, utilities, roads and campgrounds could cost upwards of $30 million.
My favorite State park is Itasca. But Lake Vermilion could change that. Time will tell.