Tourism to Voyageurs National Park creates Over $16 Million in Economic Benefit

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 214,841 visitors to Voyageurs National Park in 2012 spent over $16 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 225 jobs in the local area. “This growth over the last few years means that for every $1 spent by tax payers to run Voyageurs National Park $4 is returned to the gateway communities” said Superintendent Mike Ward.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

According to the report most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

To download the report visit The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Minnesota and how the National Park Service works with Voyageurs National Park communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to




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Campsite Reservations Go Live Online April 1

campsite NPS photoIn 2013, Voyageurs National Park completed a three year Civic Engagement process with the public to determine if campsite reservations and fees were warranted for the park. After holding multiple public meetings and gathering public comments park officials determined the majority of the public supported the program. Despite a moratorium on new or modified fees, the Director’s office of the National Park Service approved a reservation system and fee rates for Voyageurs National Park.

Over the past several months park officials have worked in conjunction with to come up with a 4 phase process for the implementation of the park’s campsites, houseboat sites, and boats on interior lakes program. A phase in process will allow park staff to ensure all aspects of the system provide the intended service to visitors. It also allows a season for visitors to get used to the changes. “During civic engagement a lot of people requested we phase this process over a couple years so that visitors would become accustomed to the process. We fully agree with their input.” Superintendent Mike Ward commented.

Doing so will give the park time to monitor how these 34 sites are used prior to continuing implementation. Ward stated that, “This is a large project and will take time and monitoring to achieve success.

Park officials placed a great deal of time into determining the first 34 sites selected and based their decision on visitor use, location, and size of the sites. The 34 reservable sites will be marked with “reservation only” signs for the first year.

The park is working on implementing temporary computer kiosks, at park visitor centers, to assist with walk-in reservations. Reservations at the kiosks will only be for that day. All other reservations will need to be made in advance on-line or by phone at or by calling the National Call Center at 1-877-444-6777. Advance reservations are available until midnight the night before the visit. Reservations are by credit card only.

The fee structure for sites was based on the amenities at the sites. The fees collected will go one-hundred percent back into the park. The fee structure is as follows:

  • Small campsite with no tent pads – $16
  • Small campsite with 1 tent pad – $18
  • Small campsite with 2 tent pads – $20
  • Large campsites – $24
  • Boats on interior lakes rentals – $12
  • Houseboats – $10
  • Backcountry campsites (regardless of tent pads) $16

The dates and sites selected to go live with are as follows in 4 phases.


Phase 1:

Visitors to the park will be able to make reservations for these sites starting 10:00 am, April 1, 2014.

Reservations required with for:

April 15, 2014 through October 15, 2014

  • All rentals canoes and rowboats on interior lakes

May 15, 2014  through September 15, 2014

  • All Backcountry (interior) campsites
  • 34 Frontcountry (main lake) campsites; see list below
Lake Site Name Site Number
Rainy Lake Big Island R5
  Virgin Island South R27
  Blueberry Island West R92
  Diamond Island South R10
  Kawawia Island R16
  Three Sisters Island R77
  Harrison Bay R61
  Krantz Point R62
  Loon Bay R63
  Shelland Island R106
  Lyle Mine Island R93
  Dryweed Island R11
  Saginaw Bay R22
  Sunrise Point R26
  Rainy Lake Group Campsite R74
  Fish Camp Island R13
  Kempton Entrance East R91


Lake Site Name Site Number
Kabetogama Lake Bald Rock K1
C Vic Linsten K5
Eks Bay K8
Kabetogama Lake Group Site K54
Happy Landing K11
Moxie Island K22
Peterson Point K25


Lake Site Name Site Number
Namakan Lake Day Marker 23 N5
Torry Fish Camp N43
Namakan Island North East N55
Pike Bay N 31
My Island South N24
Voyageurs Narrows N41


Lake Site Name Site Number
Sand Point Lake Browns Bay View S3
King Pin S10
Norway Island S14
Burnt Island S4


Also included are all canoes, rowboats, and Backcountry camping sites in the interior of the Kabetogama Peninsula.

All other sites will remain first-come, first-served in 2014. However, a free overnight permit is still required for all first-come, first-served sites within the park and are available at the following boat launches: Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center, Ash River Visitor Center, Crane Lake Ranger Station, and the Crane Lake MN DNR launch.

Link to Camping Maps


Phase 2:

September 16, 2014 through May 14, 2015

  • All campsites
  • All rental canoes and rowboats on interior lakes
  • Free
  • Reservation required with
  • The park will no longer have self-registration permit stations


Phase 3:

April 15, 2015 through October 15 each year

  • All rental canoes and rowboats on the interior

May 15, 2015 through September 15 each year

  • All campsites
  • Reservations will be available 6 months in advance and will open November of each year


Phase 4:

May 15, 2015 through September 15 each year

  • No camping, houseboating, boat rentals without a reservation

Reservations will be available on April 1, 2015 for houseboating



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Voyageurs National Park Association Makes and Marks History. A $150,000 Landmark Grant for Voyageurs National Park.

Voyageurs National Park Association announces a three-year Landmark Grant commitment to Voyageurs National Park.

In 2015, Voyageurs National Park Association (VNPA) celebrates its 50th anniversary and the park’s 40th anniversary. The Landmark Grant kicks off three years of projects in celebration of Voyageurs and ushers in the next 50 years with an exciting vision and expanded partnership.

Superintendent Mike Ward said, “The Landmark Grant will help us serve the public and protect our precious resources where our own budgets are lacking. This funding is truly a tremendous demonstration of VNPA’s growth and ingenuity and I cannot tell you how much we appreciate it.”

Amid years of federal funding decline, a sequestration and a government shutdown, this grant comes at a time when Voyageurs needs it most. This is the largest gift VNPA has ever granted to the park. Funding will be used to continue and jump start projects involving land preservation, site restoration, research, education, youth engagement and visitor services.

“What a great pleasure it is to be a part of an organization that’s able to step up and assist the park at a time of real financial need,” commented Doug Franchot, VNPA Board Chair.

VNPA will keep members and partners updated on specific ways this grant is being leveraged throughout the park as work progresses. VNPA would like to thank our generous supporters who made this unprecedented investment in our park possible. Special thanks to the WM Foundation for their support of this initiative.
About Voyageurs National Park Association:

Voyageurs National Park Association’s mission is to protect and promote the natural, recreational, and historic resources of Voyageurs National Park. VNPA was created in 1965 to help establish Voyageurs National Park, a water-based national park that celebrates and preserves the treasures of the North Woods and border lakes, stretching 55 miles near the border of Minnesota and Ontario. Voyageurs National Park was officially created in 1975. Since then, VNPA has continued as Voyageurs’ leading voice for both protection and promotion of its resources, and as a partner with the National Park Service in empowering a new generation of park stewards, implementing special projects with financial and volunteer support, and working together to preserve the visitor experience and wild nature of the park for future generations.



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Advocacy Alert: Support Clean Water for Your Park

Voyageurs National Park is one of the nation’s few water-based national parks, with more than 84,000 acres of water. Unfortunately, those waters are being negatively affected by human impact stressors, such as wastewater from existing developments throughout the region. This water quality degradation threatens the long-term health of the park’s aquatic ecosystems and water recreation opportunities for park visitors.  Under the Voyageurs National Park Clean Water Project the park’s visitor centers will be able to hook up to new sanitary sewage treatment facilities and resorts will be able to utilize these facilities in place of their non-compliant and failing individual sewage treatment systems.


In his 2014 bonding package, Governor Mark Dayton proposed $8.567 million for Koochiching County and the Crane Lake Water and Sanitary Sewer District to construct sanitary sewage treatment facilities for the purpose of cleaning the waters in and around Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness regions.


Contact your Minnesota State Legislature representative and let them know you support funding the Voyageurs National Park Clean Water Project so that Voyageurs can have the clean water one of our state’s most treasured places needs and deserves.


Sample Letter


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Winter Conditions at Voyageurs

snowshoeing on the Oberholtzer TrailThe 2014 winter season has turned out to have some of the best conditions in recent years. The park experienced good ice conditions early, but a fairly heavy snowfall caused slush to form and delayed trail openings for a couple of weeks. When this slush finally froze or decreased to a point for safe travel and there was sufficient ice, the park began staking trails. With the colder temperatures it did not take long for all trails to be staked and opened.

Trail brushing was completed as soon as crews were able to reach the portages so the trails were ready as sections of the trail were staked. Portage grooming started immediately after trail staking with groomers that are towed with larger snowmobiles. These groomers were acquired by the park a couple of years ago and are used on all portages when the ice does not have the load bearing capacity for the larger groomer. Full grooming operations with the large groomer began in early February and will continue through mid to late March depending on ice conditions.

Ski trails are in good to excellent condition and have been groomed since early January. Echo Bay at Kabetogama has been opened since late December and the Black Bay ski trails on Rainy have been opened since the middle January.

Ice roads are open on Kabetogama Lake and runs from the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center boat ramp to the Ash River visitor center boat ramp at a total distance of about nine and a half miles. The ice road on Rainy Lake is open from the boat ramp at the Rainy Lake visitor center to the entrance of Dove bay and around Dryweed Island at a total distance of about ten miles. All ice roads are maintained and open through mid to late March depending on ice and snow conditions.



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126 North 3rd Street, Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: (612) 333-5424
Fax: (612) 339-4731

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VNPA is proud to be a leading partner with Voyageurs National Park. Click here to visit their National Park Service website.
Minnesota Environmental Fund VNPA is a member organization of the Minnesota Environmental Fund.