Recreating in the St. Paul District

The St. Paul District operates 49 recreation areas, ranging from public landings along the Mississippi River to lock and dam visitor centers to full-service campgrounds in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. These recreation areas are an important component of the region’s tourism industry, and the impact on the local and regional economies is significant. Recent data shows an estimated 8.7 million visitors used district recreational sites each year and spend approximately $239 million, of which $165 million was captured in the local economy, generating $235 million in total sales and supporting an estimated 3,060 jobs.

The St. Paul District recreation and natural resource management program mission is focused on providing quality, public outdoor recreation experiences to serve the needs of present and future generations while being consistent with ecosystem management principles. To learn more about recreational opportunities at Corps of Engineers lakes throughout the nation, visit the 
CorpsLakes website.

As a steward of public lands, the St. Paul District has a special responsibility to assure resource accessibility for today and tomorrow while providing high-quality outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone. The St. Paul District manages approximately 28,500 acres of fee title land above the summer water levels and more than 447,000 water surface acres. From fishing to camping, hiking and boating, the St. Paul District has a wide variety of recreational opportunities available for the public.


Recreation News

  • Corps of Engineers closes its Blackhawk Park due to high water

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is temporarily closing its Blackhawk Park, located near De Soto, Wisconsin, today, April 3, due to high river levels. This will affect the day use areas and fishing access.
  • Corps of Engineers modifying operations at recreation areas due to COVID-19

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District has closed all visitor centers, beaches and project offices to the public to protect against the further spread of COVID-19.
  • Army Corps of Engineers to use one website for volunteer opportunities in 2020

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the agency’s Volunteer Clearinghouse website will no longer be operational. All future volunteer opportunities at USACE-managed recreation areas will be posted to only the federal interagency website
  • Corps of Engineers to host public scoping meetings on recreation sites

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is hosting three public scoping meetings to garner input on how our reservoirs in western Minnesota and eastern South Dakota are managed for recreation and environmental stewardship.
  • Big Sandy Lake dam rehabilitation meeting scheduled

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in partnership with the Sandy Lake Association, will host an informational meeting Sat., Nov. 2, following the association’s monthly meeting at 10:30 a.m., at the Big Sandy Lodge and Resort, 20534 487th Street, McGregor, Minnesota.

Wear It logo

National Safe Boating Council

Firewood Safety

Help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by following state guidelines when visiting Corps lakes:

North Dakota Game and Fish

MN Department of Natural Resources

WI Department of Natural Resources

Contact Us

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District

1114 South Oak Street
La Crescent, MN 55947
 Individual offices (click here):

Blackhawk Park
DeSoto, Wis.

Cross Lake
Crosslake, Minn.

Eau Galle
Spring Valley, Wis.

Gull Lake
Brainerd, Minn.

Lac qui Parle
Watson, Minn.

Lake Ashtabula
Valley City, N.D.

Lake Traverse
Wheaton, Minn.

Lake Winnnibigoshish
Deer River, Minn.

Leech Lake
Federal Dam, Minn. 

Orwell Lake and Dam
Fergus Falls, Minn.

Pokegama Lake
Grand Rapids, Minn.

Sandy Lake
McGregor, Minn. 

Make Reservations

You can reserve camp sites and day use facilities at many U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas nationwide, as well as many other agencies, online by visiting RECREATION.GOV. Reservations may also be made by calling RECREATION.GOV toll free at 1-877-444-6777. logo

Tribal Day-Use Pass

  • Tribal members interested in receiving the pass should provide a tribal identification card to staff at St. Paul District recreation sites during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm).
  • Park staff will then issue the visitor an annual tribal day use pass. The pass must be signed and displayed when utilizing Corps facilities to be valid. Passes should be displayed in a vehicle or presented to staff for validation.

Park Passport

Web ad for the Park Passport app

Check out the updated ParkPassport app here

Entrance Passes

graphic of various entrance passes
Image designed by the National Park Service

The Golden Age and Golden Access Passports were replaced by the America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass Series. The requirements to obain the passes can be found on the National Park Service webpage).

For more information, call (1-888-275-8747), Ext. 1 (Hours of operation are: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mountain Time).

Water Safety Video

St. Paul District's chief of safety and the Corps water safety mascot, Bobber, take a trip to Eau Galle Recreation Area in Spring Valley, Wis.

Recreating in the St. Paul District