ChallengeVoyageurs National Park, a popular tourist destination in northern Minnesota, spans over 218,000 acres of forests, rock ridges, cliffs, and interconnected waterways. Crane Lake, the eastern entry point to Voyageurs National Park, lacked a visitor center. To address this, the Crane Lake Township devised a plan to transform a former resort into a visitor center—a dedicated space to welcome and educate park visitors.
Unfortunately, the operation of a lake-side boat fueling station at the former resort location had caused considerable environmental damage. In addition, the adjacent RV park property posed challenges such as shallow bedrock, environmentally sensitive areas, and unresolved land rights disputes.
Crane Lake Township collaborated with SEH and the National Park Service to redevelop the former resort into a visitor center. SEH provided preliminary and final design while also aiding the Township in obtaining grant funding from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) for the visitor center and RV park construction project. To cover the environmental cleanup expenses for the project, SEH also prepared a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Cleanup Grant, which secured an additional $87,240 for the project.
As part of the design services, SEH conducted feasibility studies for the visitor center and associated campground, developed conceptual designs, handled property survey research, prepared a topographic survey, conducted wetlands surveys, coordinated Section 106 review and geotechnical assessments, and prepared bid specifications for the project.
To address the petroleum impacts on the site, SEH conducted a Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) in conjunction with the geotechnical assessment to evaluate soil, groundwater, and soil vapor conditions. SEH also prepared a Response Action Plan (RAP) and designed a vapor mitigation system for the new building.
In addition, SEH enrolled the project into the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Petroleum Brownfields Program, which supports the cleanup and remediation of contaminated land, and successfully obtained RAP approval. During construction, SEH will implement the RAP, including installation and verification testing of a sub-slab depressurization system to prevent vapor intrusion.
The SEH team closely coordinated with the MPCA and their contractor in remediating the contaminant plume to prevent it from impacting Crane Lake. The design plan required careful thought regarding the project’s environmental needs and constraints, such as incorporating trees and wetland areas and maintaining a safe distance from the lake. These efforts will create a sustainable community asset for years to come, with an opportunity for additional expansion in the future.
The Visitor Center is expected to be complete in 2024.
Voyageurs National Park Crane Lake Visitor Center
Crane Lake, Minnesota
Crane Lake Township
- New Crane Lake Visitor Center which includes flexibility to service the needs of this small community
- New RV Park provides recreational access opportunities for travelers
- Vapor mitigation system for the new building
- Installation and certification testing of a sub-slab depressurization system to avert vapor intrusion
- Water resources engineering
- Natural resources
- Civil engineering
- Grant writing
- Construction administration
- Construction observation
- Construction staking