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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides quality, public outdoor recreation experiences to serve the needs of present and future generations while being consistent with ecosystem management principles. In the St. Paul District, the Mississippi River Recreation and Eau Galle Lake Section Office is located in La Crescent, Minnesota. Responsibilities of this section include the management of public resources located on Corps-fee lands along approximately 243 river miles within the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Navigation Channel Project from Minneapolis to Guttenberg, Iowa. The Eau Galle Lake Recreation Area is also part of the Mississippi River Recreation Section and serves as a flood control project with recreational opportunities in Spring Valley, Wisconsin. Key products and services include: 

Operation and Maintenance of Corps Recreation Areas
The section operates and maintains four recreation areas. 

Blackhawk Park, approximately three miles north of De Soto, Wis., is the largest recreation area in Pool 9 and the only Corps-staffed campground on the project. Approximately 150,000 people visit this site annually. It provides around 150 campsites, 73 of which have electrical hook-ups; two picnic shelters; two boat ramps; swimming beach; accessible fishing dock; sanitary dump station; playgrounds; showers; and other recreation facilities and interpretive programming. Blackhawk Park is also designated as a placement site for material dredged out of the Mississippi River. The material is used to rehabilitate the park. 

Millstone Landing, approximately three miles north of New Albin, Iowa, and Bad-Axe Landing, approximately five miles south of Genoa, Wisconsin, both in Pool 9, and Jay’s Lake Landing, near Bagley, Wisconsin, in Pool 10, provide boat ramps, vault toilets, picnic facilities and shoreline fishing opportunities.

The Eau Galle Lake Project, located in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, is a 650-acre project that provides flood control and numerous recreational opportunities. The site has camping and picnic facilities, beach, boat ramp, sand volleyball courts and trails for horse-back riding. It’s also a popular lake for ice-fishing.

Corps Land Managed by Others
Many Corps of Engineers’ owned lands on the Mississippi River are licensed or leased to other federal, state and local governments for management. Section staff provides assistance to these agencies during planning activities impacting the sites and related management oversight, as well as serve as liaisons between the agencies and district real estate elements as necessary.

Recreation at Locks and Dams
The section is responsible for planning, developing and implementing the public-use facility plans for all 13 locks and dams in the St. Paul District. Facilities range from visitor centers at Upper Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis and Lock and Dam 7 in La Crescent, Minnesota, to interpretive displays, observation areas and information kiosks at most of the lock and dam sites.

Section staff determines where new property boundary surveys and/or maps are needed and administers survey contracts when necessary. They also assure project boundaries are adequately marked and signed and respond to frequent requests by individual property owners neighboring a project, for boundary identification. 

Interagency Cooperation
Corps employees involved in the recreation business function coordinate with various federal, state and local government agencies that have management interests on the project. Major interagency cooperative efforts include: serving as chair of the River Resources Forum’s Recreation Work Group, overseeing a study of recreational users and their perceptions, supporting recreational boating studies, developing beach management plans and conducting regular-user surveys. 

Section staff is responsible for developing and conducting interpretive programs at its facilities and providing community outreach to various groups and audiences. 

For more information, please contact:

Mississippi River Recreation & Eau Galle Lake Section Office
1114 S. Oak St.
La Crescent, MN 55947
(507) 895-6341

Blackhawk Park De Soto Eau Galle Lake LaCrescent Lake George Mississippi River recreation spring valley St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers