Doug Smith

Even if the fish aren’t biting, the ducks aren’t flying and the pheasants aren’t flushing, Doug Smith says any day spent outdoors is a good day. A Minnesota native, he’s been covering the outdoors for the Star Tribune since 1995. He considers walleyes fried over a campfire to be gourmet cuisine.

Jay Cooke State Park remains closed

Posted by: Doug Smith Updated: July 3, 2012 - 10:29 AM
Jay Cooke State Park in northeastern Minnesota will remain closed indefinitely due to damage from the recent flooding.
 
Reservations at the park are being canceled through Oct. 31 and no reservation are being taken until further notice. Full refunds are being issued to customers.
 
The problem primarily is access to the park, the ninth most-visited in the state. State Hwy. 210 — which provides the only vehicle access to the park — is impassable due to mudslides and large, washed-out sections.
 
Damage to the campground and park buildings was minimal and no one was hurt, but the park’s iconic swinging bridge over the St. Louis River was severely damaged. There has also been extensive damage to the park’s 50-mile trail system, and water and sewer service remain unavailable. Damage estimates aren’t available, but the DNR anticipates losing approximately $175,000 in camping and lodging revenue while the park is closed.
 
The park had more than 302,000 total visitors in 2010 and nearly 35,000 overnight visitors.
The DNR urges people not to go near Jay Cooke State Park or the closed section of the Willard Munger State Trail, because conditions are still very unsafe. Those curious about flood damage are advised instead to view the photos online at www.mndnr.gov.
 
Meanwhile, the Willard Munger State Trail, a popular paved bike route that was severely damaged by the flooding, remains closed between Carlton to Duluth until further notice.
 
The DNR also announced on Tuesday that the La Salle Lake State Recreation Area is being evacuated and closed, and people are asked to postpone day visits to Itasca State Park. Both were damaged by storms on Monday night. Crews were working to clean up downed trees that were toppled at both locations.

 There was some damage to cabins, cars and camping equipment, but no injuries have been reported. Crews are still assessing the impact of the storms on state trails and state forests in the area.

Reservations have been canceled and full refunds have been issued at La Salle Lake SRA through July 11. The park will remain closed until further notice.

Itasca State Park expects to be able to honor all existing camping and lodging reservations.

For updates on park and trail conditions, see www.mndnr.gov or call the DNR Information Center, 651-296-6157 or toll free 888-646-6367 toll-free between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The DNR is also providing photos and updates via Facebook (Minnesota State Parks and Trails) and Twitter (@mnstateparks).
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