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UMD opens walk-in campground at Bagley Nature Area

Sam Cook

Forum News Service

Call it camping on campus.

The University of Minnesota Duluth has opened a walk-in campground at Bagley Nature Area. The campground includes six campsites, each accommodating six campers and two tents. A central fire ring serves all six sites. Parking is just a short distance away.

The idea originated with Tim Bates, associate director of the UMD Recreational Sports Outdoor Program.

"This came up when they were discussing the idea of having campsites on Park Point," Bates said. "I was thinking, 'Why don't we have something along the Superior Hiking Trail for people to camp on?'"

The Superior Hiking Trail, which runs 302 miles from Jay Cooke State Park to the Canadian border, includes about 30 miles in Duluth but has no official campsites within the city.

The campsite area at Bagley is at the east end of the Bagley tract, near the sports fields. It was created in the area where a home was removed four years ago, Bates said. Superior Hiking Trail hikers will be able to access the camping area on a spur trail off the main trail, which passes through Bagley.

The campground will be open only in summer months, from Memorial Day weekend to the week before Labor Day. This year, the campsites will close on Aug. 28. The sites opened Memorial Day weekend.

Each campsite has a picnic table and a space for up to six people and two tents. The overnight camping fee is $25. Campers must bring their own firewood if they wish to have a fire. Water is provided from a spigot, and a portable biffy is available.

Three of the campsites may be reserved ahead of time by calling the UMD Recreational Sports Outdoor Program rental office at (218) 726-6134. Three of the sites will be open on a first-come, first-served basis. For those who wish to find the sites on Google Maps, the address is 1737 Bayview Ave.

The Recreational Sports Outdoor Program also will have a Bagley campground ranger on duty during weekends to manage the campground and provide programming on camping and on canoeing at Rock Pond, and to offer nature hikes. In addition, UMD campus police will patrol the area, Bates said.

"One of things that really excites me about this is we want to provide an opportunity for young families to try camping," Bates said. "Maybe the parents are intimidated about trying to get a reservation at a park. They can just come to Bagley and try this."

Open house for new campsites

An open house at the new Bagley Nature Area campsites will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 2. Free activities will include canoeing, nature hikes, slacklining and marshmallow roasting. Information on camping will also be provided.