Hubbard County is examining the feasibility of a new county campground.
County commissioners Tom Krueger and David De La Hunt, along with county parks and recreation board member Russ Johnsrud, recently visited a tax-forfeited tract of land (TFL) between Deer and Shallow lakes.
“All three of us think it has really good potential for being developed into a campsite,” Krueger said.
County commissioner Dan Stacey reported he received comments from one county resident, who said there isn’t a need for more campgrounds, which are unprofitable and don’t benefit the community.
“I disagree with that one,” Krueger said.
De La Hunt said a private individual trying to develop the property into a profitable campground probably would be hard-pressed to make any money.
“For a county to do it, it’s more than just about profit; it’s about bringing people to the area and having them expend money and have an economic impact,” he said. “I think you get much more bang for your buck on this particular type of property than you would selling it, unless you’re aware of a developer interested in it. Odds are it would stay like it is for decades.”
Krueger added the TFL is an ideal location, close to Nevis and the Heartland Trail. “You’ll get bikers wanting to camp there,” he said. “With the two lakes, you’ll have kayakers, canoers, boaters, and you’ve got access to other lakes.”
County commissioner Char Christenson pointed out that Hungryman Lake Campground, near Two Inlets, is “well run, nicely kept and used.” The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages that campground.
De La Hunt said the Deer/Shallow lake site could be similar to a state forest campground. “You don’t have to get extravagant,” he said. “Once you get it to a certain degree, maybe you just have a campground host that gets a free site for the summer to take care of the campground. There’s all sorts of ways to do it.”
De La Hunt noted that the township road is narrow. It needs grading, class 5 gravel and possibly a few pullover shoulders, he said, but the road leads right to the TFL.
Power already runs into the property, Krueger added.
Stacey asked how much acreage is there.
That depends, De La Hunt replied, because one neighboring lot is for sale. If the county purchased that, there would be the whole peninsula to use, which might make some sense,” he said.
Krueger estimated the lot sale price at $17,000.
He and De La Hunt recommended having Environmental Services Director Eric Buitenwerf examine the property and County Public Works Supervisor Jed Nordin appraise the road access.
By consensus, the board agreed that this preliminary review should begin.
If feasible, Krueger noted that a conditional use permit would be required, so the campground proposal would go through the usual public hearing process.
“Our goal is to provide camping, and so, by investigating this, we’re moving toward one of our goals,” Christenson said.