The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the largest federal provider of water-based outdoor recreation in the nation. Our recreation sites provide a diverse range of outdoor activities that promote a healthy lifestyle to millions of people every year. We are committed to providing a safe, fun and secure experience for all of our visitors.
The St. Paul District operates 49 recreation areas throughout the region, ranging from Jay’s Lake, Millstone and Bad Axe landings along the Mississippi River in Pools 9 and 10, to full-service campgrounds at Eau Galle Recreation Area and Blackhawk Park in Wisconsin, campgrounds in the Mississippi River Headwaters area in central Minnesota and Lake Ashtabula in eastern North Dakota. These recreation areas provide 650 individual campsites, 27 boat launching ramps, 10 beaches and numerous individual picnic sites. There are recreation facilities at most of the district’s locks and dams, too. Facilities range from visitor centers at Upper Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis and Lock and Dam 7 near La Crosse, Wisconsin, to interpretive displays, observation areas and information kiosks. These recreation areas are an important component of the region’s tourism. An estimated 2.3 million visitors use these sites annually, generating around $79 million for the local and regional economy.
Cross Lake: Located on the Pine River, in Crosslake, Minnesota, this heavily wooded site is situated within the community, so local amenities are within walking distances. The site offers opportunities for boating, camping, fishing, picnicking and swimming. There are also playgrounds and a beach on site.
Gull Lake: Located on the Gull River at the outlet of Gull Lake, 10 miles northwest of Brainerd, Minnesota. Interpretive hiking trails wind through an undeveloped forest area. Recreational opportunities include boating, camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking and swimming. There is also a playground and a beach.
Leech Lake: Located on the northeastern corner of Leech Lake in Federal Dam, Minnesota, the campground is known for its fishing and offers a wooded-camp setting, as well as an area for overnight mooring of boats. Recreational opportunities include boating, camping, fishing and picnicking. There is also a playground.
Pokegama Lake: Located on the Mississippi River on the western edge of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the recreation area offers boating, camping, fishing, picnicking and playground areas. Festivals and events are held nearby throughout the summer.
Sandy Lake: Located on the outlet of Big Sandy Lake, 13 miles north of McGregor, Minnesota, this site is part of the fur trade canoe route that linked Lake Superior and the Mississippi River during the 1800s. Recreation opportunities include boating, camping, fishing, historical interpretation, picnicking, playground areas and swimming.
Winnibigoshish Lake: Located on the lake’s outlet, 14 miles northwest of Deer River, Minnesota, the rustic site includes area forests containing towering trees and native wildlife. Recreational opportunities include boating, camping, fishing and picnicking. There is also a playground.
Lac Qui Parle: Located on the Upper Minnesota River in western Minnesota near the South Dakota border, the site includes two day-use recreation areas around Lac qui Parle and Marsh Lake dams. Facilities include fishing areas, picnic areas and playgrounds.
Lake Traverse: Located along the boundary of western Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, the site includes three day-use recreation areas around White Rock and Reservation dams and Browns Valley Dike. Facilities include fishing areas, picnic areas and playgrounds. This site offers more than 1,000 acres of wildlife management land, jointly managed by the Corps and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. This land is open to the public for fishing and hunting.
Orwell Lake: Located on the Ottertail River, six miles southwest of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, this site offers two day-use facilities with fishing areas, picnic shelters and playgrounds. In addition, the Minnesota DNR leases 1,985 acres of the site as a wildlife sanctuary, so the area is an excellent place to view nature.
Lake Ashtabula: Located 12 miles northwest of Valley City, North Dakota, in the scenic valley of the Sheyenne River. The Corps of Engineers manages the seven recreation areas, as well as 13 separate wildlife areas here. A segment of the National North Country Trail is along the lake. Recreational opportunities include boating, camping, fishing, hunting, picnicking, swimming and snowmobiling.
Homme Lake: Located on the south branch of the Park River, two miles west of Park River, North Dakota. The Walsh County Park Board operates a park near the dam that provides facilities for boating, camping and picnicking. The surrounding land, managed by the Corps, is open for skiing, hiking, hunting and snowmobiling.
Blackhawk Park: Located adjacent to the main channel of the Mississippi River, three miles south of De Soto, Wisconsin, this site is the largest public use facility in Pool 9 and many of the campsites offer picturesque views of the river. Recreational activities include boating, camping, fishing and picnicking.
Eau Galle Lake: Located on the Eau Galle River, north of Spring Valley, Wisconsin, this site includes a 150-acre lake surrounded by two day-use areas, a beach, a boat launch and a campground. Recreational activities include boating (non-gasoline-powered boats only), camping, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, picnicking and swimming.
For more information on making camping reservations at Corps of Engineers parks, visit www.recreation.gov or call toll-free