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Hubbard County Board approves Deep Lake Park’s master plan

Next, the plan will be submitted to the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) for possible inclusion in the regional parks system.

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A beautiful overview of the lake and 439-acre property that will be developed into a year-round county park.
Contributed/SRF Consulting Group, Inc.
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The Hubbard County Board adopted a master plan for Deep Lake Park, the year-round, recreational park proposed at the former Val Chatel ski resort.

Next, the plan will be submitted to the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) for possible inclusion in the regional parks system. GMRPTC’s approval would open up funding streams for developing the new park.

The county commissioners reviewed the final draft on Tuesday, Nov. 15 with Hubbard County Land Commissioner Mark Lohmeier and Stewart Crosby from SRF Consulting Group, Inc. of Minneapolis. The firm was hired in Aug. 2021 to develop the master plan with input from the county’s park board and Deep Lake Park technical advisory committee.

The plan analyzes existing recreational facilities within a 30-mile radius of Deep Lake Park.

“Our findings were that there’s a lot of great recreation,” Crosby said, “but there’s also a big need for many different types that this park is going to provide, including camping – both RV and tent camping – hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, etc.”

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Total construction is expected to cost $7,581,000. Development is divided into five phases.

Crosby said they held three public engagement events: 2nd Street Stage, the county fair and Itasca State Park. They reached over 440 individuals.

Hubbard County Master Plan for Deep Lake Park by Shannon Geisen on Scribd

3 use zones, plus costs

“We’ve identified three use zones for the park,” Crosby explained. “We have an RV/ATV zone that’s about 17 acres in the southwest. The natural resource zone, which is the largest area in the north [384 acres], and a park development zone in the lower center, 39 acres.”

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The master plan identifies three "use zones."
Contributed/SRF Consulting Group, Inc.

According to the plan, the RV sites will be sized to accommodate an RV, ATV trailer and truck, and will meet the county’s requirements of 3,000 square feet per site. Crosby said full electric-sewer hookups are included.

A 200-foot-long ATV spur trail will connect the ATV parking lot to the Karmal Forest Road where

ATVs will be allowed, once the DNR acquires the property.

The RV and ATV trailhead is anticipated to cost $655,960.

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Four camper cabins, costing $60,000 each, are proposed to overlook the lake. The plan says each camper cabin will include a sleeping area, small living space, outdoor fire pit and picnic table. The camper cabins will be heated to provide a year-round camping experience.

A centralized $250,000 restroom/shower building will be constructed.

Approximately 16 drive-in campsites and one group campsite will be offered. They will be accessed by a 3,160-foot-long aggregate road with back-in parking spaces, costing $107,440.

These individual campsites will contain 20- to 30-amp electrical outlets, water, picnic table and fire ring. The estimated cost for campsite furnishings is $57,600. It’s anticipated that water, sewer and electric utilities for drive-in camping will cost an additional $350.000.

A second restroom/shower facility, costing $250,000, will be centrally located. It will also serve as the designated storm shelter.

Building six cart-in campsites costs $7,600 each, for a total of $45,600.

The mountain bike trail system at Deep Lake Park will have three different loops. The plan anticipates that approximately 10 miles of trails will be built, costing around $740,000.

Summer hiking trails and winter ski/snowshoe trails will surround Deep Lake, where non-motorized water activities like canoeing, kayaking and fishing will be available. A boat launch, dock and overlook are estimated to cost $22,000.

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A paved trail will eventually lead to the Itasca-Heartland Connection Trail.

The plans call for “most existing buildings” to be removed, “but, if feasible, the large wood beams and custom wood chandelier from the main chalet may be repurposed in a future shelter.”

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The former Val Chatel ski resort retains unique wooden beams that the county hopes to save.
Contributed/ SRF Consulting Group, Inc.
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If feasible, the master plan calls for repurposing the unique wood beams and custom wood chandelier inside the former the ski chalet.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

One of the existing structures will be repurposed into a trailhead building, which could serve concessions and become a warming shed for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.

The project received letters of support from the Heartland Lakes Development Commission, Park Rapids Downtown Business Association, Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce

In other business, the board did as follows:

  • Approved final payment of $371,933 for CSAH 16 project to Knife River Materials.
  • Accepted Gregg’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc. of Bemidji’s quote of $28,432 for replacement of two water heaters at the county highway department’s north shop. County Public Works Coordinator Jed Nordin explained that one existing commercial heater failed the latest inspection and the other is near failure. The water heaters are necessary to provide enough continuous warm water to wash off the truck fleet following plowing.
  • Reviewed the 2023 grant-in-aid applications and agreed to act as fiscal agent for the Timberland Dirt Devils ATV Club for maintenance funding for the Round River Drive (East) ATV trails; for the Paul Bunyan Forest Riders OHM Club and the Martineau OHM trails; and for the Northwoods Rider OHV Club and the Schoolcraft OHV Trails.
  • Accepted a $12,335 quote from Ackerman Plumbing & Heating, LLC of Park Rapids for the purchase and installation of two heat pumps. County Maintenance Manager Bobby Wilkins explained they keep the IT Department’s computers cool in the Hubbard County Law Enforcement Center.
  • Approved a medical examiner contract with River Valley Forensic Services, P.A. for the services of Dr. Kelly Mills. The agreement is effective Jan. 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2026.
  • Continued a two-year contract with Pine Manor Inc., of Nevis at the same rate of $325 per day. 
  • Approved Nordin’s attendance at the National Association of County Engineers Conference on April 16-19, 2023 in Orange Beach, Ala.
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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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