Sandy Lake Recreation Area will reopen for public camping on May 1

Corps of Engineers says major rehab work on Sandy Lake Dam, started in February 2021, is complete. Cleanup and grounds restoration expected for spring 2023.

A news key is highlighted on a keyboard.
Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

McGREGOR — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, announced all major components of the Sandy Lake Dam Rehabilitation project are now complete.

Sandy Lake Dam is located near McGregor in Aitkin County.

The Sandy Lake Dam Rehabilitation started in February 2021 and consisted of a series of upgrades to the existing dam structure including replacement of a deteriorated bulkhead wall in the lock chamber, replacement of six main water control gates installation of a new slide gate in the log sluice chamber; removal and replacement of the 130-year-old timber upstream apron (upgraded to concrete); and updated electrical service.

Additional rehabilitation project work includes cleanup and grounds restoration expected for spring 2023.

The Sandy Lake Recreation Area will reopen for public camping on May 1, following a two-year closure due to rehabilitation construction on the Sandy Lake Dam. Reservations are now accepted and are required to camp. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance, up to the same day of a planned arrival by going online to or calling 1-877-444-6777.


The recreation area includes access to the north campground boat landing, visitors center and fishing areas. An automated fee machine was installed by the park office for purchasing boat launch, dump station and the Interagency suite of passes, for use at the Sandy Lake Recreation Area. The fee machine accepts credit cards only. The Corps of Engineers will no longer accept cash or checks. This system provides a quick, easy, and hygienic way to pay use fees at the site, the Corps reported in a news release. Transactions usually take less than 30 seconds to complete, and visitors should place receipts or passes in a visible manner on their vehicle dash.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

Hi, I'm the Brainerd Dispatch. I started working a few days before Christmas in 1881 and became a daily paper two years later. I've gone through a lot of changes over the years, but what has never changed is my commitment to community and to local journalism. I've got an entire team of dedicated people who work night and day to make sure I go out every morning, whether in print, as an e-edition, via an app or with additional information at News, weather, sports — videos, photos, podcasts and social media — all covering stories from central Minnesota about your neighbors, your lakes, your communities, your challenges and your opportunities. It's all part of the effort to keep people connected and informed. And we couldn't do it without support.
What To Read Next
Get Local