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5 years later, new Minn. park comes along -- slowly

SOUDAN, Minn. (AP) -- Lake Vermilion State Park's thick forest of towering pines, sweeping views from overlooks and alluring islands make it an appealing getaway destination.

What's lacking are many visitors.

State leaders pitched the public five years ago on an ''up-north experience'' open to all.

But the newest Minnesota state park is only gradually taking shape.

If all goes as planned, campers could be welcomed in another year or so.

Park manager Jim Essig says he is just as anxious to get the park up to its full potential but he is more concerned with doing things right and preventing damage to sensitive areas.

The Department of Natural Resources has made a preliminary $25 million request for construction at the park that the Legislature will decide next year.

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