Minnesota opens new campground at Whitewater State Park
#LSN_Outdoors Located 3 miles south of Elba on State Highway 74.
ST PAUL, MINNESOTA, October 2, 2017 (LSN) Minnesota marked the opening of its newest state campground on Saturday as outdoor enthusiasts, along with state and local officials, gathered at Whitewater State Park to celebrate National Public Lands Day with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Minneiska campground. The 40-site campground is designed to be more energy efficient and user friendly at one of Minnesota’s most popular state parks.
“Whitewater State Park is one of Minnesota’s great treasures, with more than 2,700 acres of limestone bluffs and spring-fed streams. The park is great for hiking, snowshoeing, and trout fishing,” said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. “The brand new Minneiska campground gives Minnesotans another way to enjoy Whitewater State Park. I encourage Minnesotans to book a stay at Minneiska and enjoy everything Whitewater State Park has to offer.”
The new campground features 40 sites with electrical hookups, four nonelectric tent sites, four camper cabins and three group camps.
“Whitewater State Park is one of Minnesota’s oldest state parks and it’s a popular place to go trout fishing, hiking and camping,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails, who was joined by DNR Deputy Commissioner Dave Schad and Assistant Commissioner Sarah Strommen at the ribbon-cutting event. “Staying at the Minneiska campground will be an unforgettable experience. It is a model of energy efficiency and accessibility for a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.”
Energy-saving features of the new Minneiska campground include:
- A photo-voltaic array installed on the north end of the campground (not visible from here) designed to fully offset the increased electrical power used by the new campground development.
- Plumbing fixtures activated by sensors to conserve water.
- Solar panels on the rooftops of both of the sanitation buildings that help heat water and take some of the pressure off the water heater.
- LED lights on the interior and exterior light fixtures.
The new campground also features campsites, camper cabins and bathrooms that meet ADA standards. Accessible parking is available in front of all of these facilities, and a crushed rock trail connects the campground to the visitor center.
The three group camps each have their own picnic shelter and share a modern restroom building, with showers and flush toilets. One of the group camps can accommodate both RVs and tent campers.
“Minneiska” is the Dakota word for “white water.” According to story, the river used to run white in the spring time when the snow melt caused the water level to rise and reach clay deposits that once lined the riverbanks. The clay made the water turn milky white.
The Minneiska campground will replace the Gooseberry Glen campground, where flooding has been an ongoing problem. The park also has 75 campsites at its Cedar Hill Campground.
More than 270,000 visitors enjoy Whitewater State Park annually, making it the top tourist attraction in Minnesota’s southern tourism region, according to Explore Minnesota Tourism. With more than 43,000 overnight visitors in 2016, it was the third busiest Minnesota state park for overnight stays, after Itasca and St. Croix state parks.
Construction of the Minneiska campground was entirely made possible by the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the sales tax revenue and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
National Public Lands Day is celebrated annually across the country to promote conservation, stewardship and enjoyment of public lands such as parks and nature preserves. It began in 1994 with activities at three sites, and has grown into a nationwide event that in 2016 engaged more than 200,000 participants at 2,600 sites across the country.
To make a reservation for the Minneiska Campground or campgrounds at any of Minnesota’s 75 state parks, visit mndnr.gov/reservations.
For more information about Whitewater State Park and other opportunities to enjoy Minnesota’s public lands, contact the DNR Information Center at [email protected] or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday) or visit www.mndnr.gov.
from left: Stacy Smith (DNR, natural resources planner); Stacy’s son Grady; Brent Anderson, park manager at Whitewater State Park; Sarah Strommen, DNR assistant commissioner; Dave Schad, DNR deputy commissioner; Larry Peterson, retired DNR natural resource planner; Erika Rivers, DNR director of Parks and Trails.