Formerly a largely unexplored natural area near the Canadian border and adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the development of Lake Vermilion State Park provided opportunities to introduce a previously uncharted 3,000-acre wilderness area to public exploration. The land, purchased by the state in 2010, was transformed from a remote landscape into a state park grounds with usable resources and amenities, including individual campsites, group camps, utility provisions, trail circulation, and lake water access. The land posed many development challenges for implementing campground amenities and building facilities with a complex of exposed and subsurface bedrock, steep topography, wetland areas, and sensitive archeological sites.
SRF worked with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on the planning, development, final plans, construction documents, and construction contract administration of the new campground in Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park. The improvements for the park included developing a north and south campground, camper cabin accommodations, an adventure play area, water access, and approximately five miles of natural surface hiking trails. Many site development constraints including exposed bedrock, steep topography, and wetlands required extensive onsite field reconnaissance to determine the most suitable locations for roadways, trail circulation, and campsite development.