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Minnesota Power to showcase Island Lake pavilion
Duluth, Minn. – A new pavilion at Island Lake Reservoir about 20 miles north of Duluth is the latest in a wealth of recreational amenities Minnesota Power provides to the public at reservoirs associated with its hydroelectric system.
The pavilion, which opened to the public over the July Fourth weekend, will be showcased Aug. 15 as Minnesota Power celebrates with the public all of the recreational sites it supports on its 17 reservoirs near Duluth, Royalton, Little Falls, Pillager, Brainerd, Grand Rapids and Ely. The open house at Island Lake Park is part of Minnesota Power’s “Hometown Hydropower,” a rededication to service of the company’s hydroelectric system.
“For more than 100 years Minnesota Power has managed its reservoirs to serve hydroelectric power generation,” said Brad Oachs, MP chief operating officer. “The company also provides public recreation facilities on these reservoirs as part of our commitment to the environment and the community.”
Minnesota Power develops, manages or shares responsibility for more than 150 public recreation sites stretching across more than 400 miles of hydro reservoir shoreline. The sites include trails, boat launches, whitewater river access, swimming beaches, picnic areas, accessible shore fishing sites and primitive campsites.
At Island Lake Park, Minnesota Power has invested more than $360,000 in the past two years to upgrade public recreational amenities, in fulfillment of the approved Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public recreation plan for the St. Louis River Hydroelectric Project. The most recent improvement is the 47-by-67-foot pavilion, which features a concrete floor and fully canopied roof to accommodate larger groups or people wishing to get out of the sun or rain. New outhouse facilities are located nearby. In 2012, Minnesota Power extended the existing swimming beach by 200 feet, paved the parking lot and added picnic tables and benches. All improvements were designed to be accessible for people with disabilities.
Minnesota Power’s reservoirs provide venues for a variety of popular events year-round. The Brewhouse Triathlon at Island Lake on Aug. 2 drew 450 competitors with hundreds of spectators, and the ALS Walleye Tournament in May boasted more than 160 boats, each with two anglers. At Boulder Lake Reservoir, the Boulder Lake Ski Race in January drew nearly 200 skiers and snowshoe racers from 10 states. A weekend of competitive trail riding organized by the Duluth Area Horse Trail Alliance attracted 45 participants to Boulder Lake earlier this summer.
In addition to these kinds of organized events, recreation sites at the reservoirs are well used by
individuals and families on a first-come, first-served basis. Outdoors enthusiasts enjoy access to
fishing, boating, hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing and other
outdoors activities free of charge. Warm, sunny summer days routinely draw 300-400 people to
the beach and picnic areas at Island Lake Reservoir.
Minnesota Power also partners with St. Louis County and the University of Minnesota-Duluth to
support the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center, a natural resources education
program at Boulder Lake Reservoir. The company’s land stewardship ethic is evident in its
Adopt-an-Island program, which has collected more than 14,000 pounds of trash from reservoir
shorelines since 2008. A new program, We Can Do It, has recycled nearly 59,000 aluminum
cans and raised $895 for educational and recreational programming at the learning center.
Minnesota Power’s hydroelectric system has been producing renewable energy since 1906. The
system is the largest producer of hydroelectricity in Minnesota, capable of generating about 120
megawatts, and is part of the company’s EnergyForward strategy for building a cleaner, more
balanced energy future.Previous Press Releases:
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