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About the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

• The state reports the abandoned mine pits and discarded deposit stockpiles now have regenerated vegetation and clear lakes that draw a wide variety of outdoor recreation enthusiasts.


• Often called the Rec area, it has 25 miles of natural shoreline, fishing for trout, northern, bass, crappie and sunfish.

• The nearly 5,000 acres are largely undeveloped.

• There are 118,484 annual visits and more than 3,000 overnight visits, according to the DNR's state park information.

• Wildlife marshes are home to a wide range of duck species. Bald eagles frequent the area.

• Its history includes being a border area between the Dakota and Ojibwe and as a long portage route between Mille Lacs Lake and the upper Mississippi River.

• Cuyler Adams, who homesteaded in the area in the late 19th century, noticed compass deflections while surveying and discovered ore in 1904. The range is named for him and his constant companion, a St. Bernard dog named Una.

• The Cuyuna Range was the last of the state's three major iron ranges to be discovered and mined.

• It extends nearly 70 miles from Randall to central Aitkin County.

• The range's boom years were between World War I and World War II when 20 to 30 mines were operational. Nearly 20 mines continued to operate into the early 1950s.

• Abandoned mines left pits 100- to 525-feet deep and rock stockpiles 200-feet high.

• It became a Minnesota State Recreation Area in 1993.

• The Rec area has six natural lakes plus 15 deep lakes that were former mine pits.

• It is frequented by hikers, bikers, kayakers and those who just make the trip for the mountain overlook.

• Recent efforts have made it into a mountain bike trail destination.

Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.