The 46-site Shipwreck Creek Campground at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, a long-awaited new state park campground on Minnesota’s North Shore, will officially open on June 1. Campsite reservations will start being accepted on April 5 at 8 a.m.
The park currently has campsites accessible via walk-in. However, the new campground will offer the first vehicle-accessible campsites at Split Rock.
It’s the culmination of years of planning and two years of construction.
“It’s very exciting to see it come to this point where we can open to the public and show them all the work that has been done and try to get a visualization of what things will look like after the trees and shrubs and stuff that we planted really take off,” said park manager Katie Foshay, noting the park has been receiving calls and emails from people eager to know when the campground is opening.
The campground’s name is in reference to the numerous shipwrecks found along the Lake Superior shore near the park, even though it’s on the inland portion of State Highway 61. It will be accessible via the current park entrance and then by following a brand new road that loops back under the highway, much like Tettegouche State Park.
The rugged terrain presented challenges and opportunities to build the new campsites and shower building.
“We tried to incorporate this campground into the natural landscape as much as possible,” Foshay said. “So different sites have different unique features. Some of them have cliffs or rocks that are sticking up, boulders, right in the campsite, that makes it a very unique experience.”
Campers will have plenty of level ground to set up trailers or tents. Each campsite is also equipped with an electrical power source. The campground is seasonal and closed in the winter months.
The campground isn’t accessible to visitors at the moment. Once the snow melts, construction crews will need to finish up work this spring, such as installing signage, according to a report.
After completion, there’ll be an area for parking for the brand new Split Rock Wilds mountain bike trails constructed in collaboration with Lake County and other partners situated on the same land as the park’s state-owned.
The funding for the project, which is approximately $7.5 million, comes as part of the State Parks & Trails Legacy Fund. Lake County received a $1.6 million grant from the state to fund the construction of the road leading to the campground and the trail parking area.
Foshay said it’s expected to be another busy summer and spring on the North Shore, with the increased number of park visits seen during the outbreak and showing no sign of slowing down.
The campground will open just in time for the peak of the summer travel season. Once the campground is available, reservations can be made online with no waitlist or another option for reservations.
“To see and be a part of the construction process for the last two years has been very exciting — and it’s fun to see it come to fruition,” Foshay said.
This article originally appeared on MPR News.