Jay Cooke State Park closed indefinitely | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Jay Cooke State Park closed indefinitely

Camping/lodging reservations canceled through October; no reservations taken until further notice

Posted: July 3, 2012 - 10:28am

Because State Highway 210 remains closed due to severe flood damage, Jay Cooke State Park in northeastern Minnesota also will remain closed indefinitely, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The highway, which provides the only vehicle access to the park, is impassable due to mudslides and large, washed-out sections.

Damage estimates are not yet available for the park, but the DNR anticipates losing approximately $175,000 in camping and lodging revenue while the park is closed.

Reservations at the park are being canceled through Oct. 31. Full refunds are being issued to customers. No reservations will be taken until further notice.

Jay Cooke State Park is the ninth most visited of Minnesota's 75 state parks and recreation areas. It had more than 302,000 total visitors in 2010 and nearly 35,000 overnight visitors.

Damage to the campground and park buildings was minimal and no one was hurt, but the park's iconic swinging bridge over the St. Louis River was severely damaged. There has also been extensive damage to the park's 50-mile trail system, and water and sewer service remain unavailable.

The Willard Munger State Trail, a popular paved bike route that was severely damaged by the flooding, remains closed between Carlton to Duluth until further notice.

The DNR urges people not to go near Jay Cooke State Park or the closed section of the Willard Munger State Trail, because conditions are still very unsafe. Those curious about flood damage are advised instead to view the photos online at www.mndnr.gov.

For updates on park and trail conditions, visit www.mndnr.gov or call the DNR Information Center, 651-296-6157 or toll free 888-646-6367 toll-free between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The DNR is also providing photos and updates via Facebook (Minnesota State Parks and Trails) and Twitter (@mnstateparks).