DNR to add 19 acres to Split Rock Lighthouse State ParkThe addition of the new land will bring the size of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to 2,089 total acres. The property sits approximately 150 feet above Lake Superior along both sides of Highway 61 and is adjacent to a historic MnDOT wayside rest.
By: Press release, Pine Journal
As the centennial year of Split Rock Lighthouse winds to a close this week, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is pleased to announce the acquisition of a 19-acre parcel of land within Split Rock Lighthouse State Park by the Division of Parks and Trails on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota, preserving a beautiful view for generations to come.
The Division of Parks and Trails has been actively pursuing this property over the past 25 years and closed the transaction on Dec. 23. The acquisition of this land was made possible by the diligent efforts of the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, according to the DNR. Funding was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and capital bonding.
"We were pleased to facilitate the purchase of this crucial parcel of land in one of Minnesota's most scenic and historic state parks," said Steve Thorne, president of the nonprofit Parks & Trails Council, which first purchased the land and immediately made it available for the DNR to purchase for the public's use.
The addition of the new land will bring the size of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to 2,089 total acres. The property sits approximately 150 feet above Lake Superior along both sides of Highway 61 and is adjacent to a historic MnDOT wayside rest. It offers outstanding views of Split Rock Lighthouse and Lake Superior. The Gitchi-Gami State Trail also crosses the property. The park’s existing picnic grounds and part of the campground are located on a portion of the property acquired by the DNR in the early 1980s.
“I recall talking with the previous Division Director, Don Davidson, about how happy he was to acquire the Lake Superior shoreline part of this property back in the ‘80s,” said Mark Kovacovich, district supervisor for the Division of Parks and Trails Northeast Region, who was then working as a natural resources technician for the undeveloped Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. “Since then, I have often worried about what would happen with the rest of the property adjacent to Highway 61 that wasn’t initially acquired. It is comforting to know that the character of this beautiful place will be preserved for future generations. This is truly a win for the citizens of Minnesota.”
Out of all of Minnesota’s 73 state parks and recreation areas, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park was the sixth most visited in 2010, with more than 324,000 total visitors and nearly 10,000 overnight guests. On July, 31, 2010, the historic lighthouse at the park, which is operated by the Minnesota Historical Society, celebrated its 100th anniversary with a spectacular fireworks display launched shortly after the lighting of the beacon. Additional programming included a performance series held in the Visitor Center theatre and lighting of the lighthouse beacon the first Friday of every month from May through November.
Additional information about the park and its history can be found at mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/split_rock_lighthouse/index.html).