Interpretive programs, including natural history, cultural history, and skill-based activities are led by professional interpreters out of Soudan Underground Mine State Park.
The park is home to northern songbirds, loons, hawks, and owls. White-tailed deer, black bear, timber wolves, fishers, otter, and many smaller animals live in the park. Check out the results of the Lake Vermilion BioBlitz to see all of the species that were found during a 24-hour search.
Evidence of human habitation dating back to 4000 BC has been found in the park. The history of the area is rich and varied, ranging from logging to a "gold rush" to iron ore mining, which removed over 15.5 million tons of ore from the Soudan Mine alone.
In May 2008, the Minnesota State Legislature authorized Lake Vermilion State Park and set aside $20 million in bonding authority to buy, plan, and develop the property. In January 2010 the DNR and U.S. Steel reached an agreement on the acquisition of 3,000 acres that would become the park, and the deed was transferred from U.S. Steel to the State of Minnesota in June of 2010.
The origins of the underlying bedrock formations in the park date back over 2.7 billion years. The two bedrock formations are an iron-bearing metamorphic formation and a metamorphosed sedimentary rock formation. Mixed in these formations are deposits of other minerals such as nickel, lead, gold, silver, copper, and zinc.
The park is located on a rugged ridge on the south shore of Lake Vermilion and offers a unique combination of recreational opportunities, including picnicking, hiking, fishing, and other water activities. Scenic stands of white and Norway pine cover the upland areas, mixed with some balsam, aspen, and birch. The lowlands are dominated by white cedar interspersed with balsam, tamarack, black spruce, ash, and muskeg.