In the heart of Northland, tucked on the banks of the scenic St. Louis River in Esko, sits Knife Island Campground – a spot steeped in history and abundant natural beauty.
Recently under new family ownership, the campground is undergoing an inspired transformation aimed at making it a must-visit destination for adventure seekers and serenity lovers alike.
Inheriting the legacy of a 42-site campground, the new owners are dedicated to preserving the historical essence of the place while adding modern enhancements.
The campground boasts a unique two-acre island that serves as its central attraction, setting it apart from the crowd of Northland’s camping sites. The island, like a treasure trove, reveals remnants of a mining site that was operational over a century ago, adding a sense of intrigue and historical context to the locale.
The proximity of the campground to Duluth and a variety of other local attractions is another highlight that campers are bound to appreciate.
As Mitch Minardi from Knife Island Campground and Minardi Outdoors articulated, “Location was extremely attractive to us, now what we are seeing from our clients and customers coming in is they love the ability to go into Duluth for the day, or go up the shore for a day, or to Jay Cooke for the day, and then come back here in the evening, have a fire, go to bed, have a great night and do it all again in the morning,”
This strategic location offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, appealing to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts.
Importantly, Minardi points out that camping at Knife Island doesn’t require a truckload of gear or complex preparations. The simplicity of showing up with a tent or a camper, a bicycle, and a fishing rod can be enough to make a weekend getaway memorable. The island even offers fishing spots for those who relish the challenge of catching their own meals.
While progress has been made in rejuvenating the campground, more enhancements are on the horizon. Plans include increasing the number of tent sites and introducing bunkhouses to accommodate more visitors and provide varied lodging options.
For private campground owners or operators, Knife Island Campground provides a valuable case study in blending history, nature, and modern comforts to create an appealing camping destination.
The focused approach to preserving historical features while providing essential modern amenities can serve as a blueprint for making private campgrounds more attractive to today’s adventurers.
In an era where reconnecting with nature is more important than ever, places like Knife Island Campground are not only providing a refuge from the daily grind but also reminding us of the rich history etched in our landscapes.