SOUDAN — “If you haven’t been [to the Soudan Underground Mine] it is one of the three or four drop-to-your-knees outstanding experiences you can have at a state park,” said Erika Rivers, director of State Parks and Trails at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
June 7 was the ribbon cutting of the new campground at Vermilion State Park, in the same area as Soudan Underground Mine State Park. “The camping opportunity here with the mine will create a historical learning experience,” said Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. “It is a history worth telling.”
“The Soudan Underground Mine is one of the most awesome places in the state of Minnesota,” said Parl Manager Jim Essig. “It showcases the heritage of the people of the Iron Range. Plus, it is a lot of fun,” Essig couldn’t help but adding with a genuine smile.
He is a father of three and uses his adult children as an example of the impact the mine has on visitors. “All three of my children have science degrees. If that is the influence it has had on my family, and knowing the thousands of school groups that come through the tour every year, I know it has had a formative effect on others.”
Not only focusing on the scientific aspects of the mine, Essig also points to the historical importance of the site. “It is about heritage. The Soudan Underground Mine is what we have and we want to showcase it.”
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