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Bethany Wesley, Forum Communications Co., Published May 15 2012

Camper cabin arrives at Lake Bemidji State Park

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The first of four new camper cabins arrived Tuesday at Lake Bemidji State Park.

The one-room electrical cabins provide basic shelter for up to six people. They will be placed together north of the campground near the trail access for the bog walk.

“They’re wonderful,” said David Sauer, president of Friends of Lake Bemidji State Park, who made signs for the new camper cabin area. “They’re going to fit in beautifully there.”

Pete Harrison, park manager, said state park and Department of Natural Resources staff have together been looking into camper cabins for several years. Funding was provided partially through the parks and trails Legacy grant program.

The four cabins, built by Sentence-to-Serve laborers in Hennepin County, have been in Bemidji since last fall, stored at the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The first was moved in to the state park Tuesday, leaving the DOT site after school buses and most commuters vacated roadways. The remaining three will be installed throughout the remainder of the week, probably at a rate of one a day. All four cabins will be placed in a group relatively close to one another.

“We’ve found that a lot of times, family groups or groups of people will want to get them all at the same time for a weekend getaway,” he said. “It’s nice to have them all together.”

The site boasts easy access to snowmobile and cross-country ski trails.

“It’s still set far enough back that it’s remote,” Harrison said. “It has enough of a natural location that you feel like you’re back in the woods.”

The cabins will cost about $50 to reserve, but reservations are not yet being accepted. Harrison said the timing will depend on how well the installation and setup goes, but he has a target date of mid-June.

“We know they’re very popular at other parks that use them year-round,” he said. “A lot of people like them.”

The cabins, which have heat, offer an opportunity for people to try camping without really “roughing it” too much, he noted.

“This is kind of an easy alternative for them,” he said. “Then they can delve into tent camping or little campers. It’s just another way to get them outdoors, especially families and young adults with kids.”

Bethany Wesley writes for the Bemidji Pioneer