National Loon Center Granted $4 Million In Funding From State Of Minnesota
A National Loon Center is one step closer to being founded in Crosslake. Minnesota lawmakers recently approved $4 million in funding with the requirement that the center opens its doors by the year 2022.
“It’s going to be a lot about the loon obviously, but more than that, seeing the environment through the voice and vision of the loon,” said Matt Kilian, Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce president.
The Loon Center is not going to be your typical environmental museum.
“Our big ‘wow’ factor is going to be our three-story ecosystem. So underwater, the surface water, and then the air where the birds are,” said Leah Heggerston, National Loon Center executive director. “Which is going to be pretty cool.”
The National Loon Center building will be located in Crosslake at the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers Campground right on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes.
“We wanted to have a setting that evoked nature and water and really was right in the middle of loon habitat and built in a very sustainable and respectful way,” explained Kilian.
The vision for a loon center started around two years ago and recently, lawmakers approved $4 million in funding with the requirement that organizers raise the remaining $6 million and open the center’s doors by the year 2022.
“The next step is really where the hard work starts. We have the initial $4 million that has a clock on that funding through the state of Minnesota and we need to raise a minimum of $6 million more to bring this idea into reality,” Kilian added.
Organizers hope that with the National Loon Center, visitors will take home tips to protect our environment and area lakes so that the loon will continue to be a symbol of Minnesota for years to come.
“People have this affinity and this emotion when they see a loon and hear a loon and the summer memory that it conjures up. Part of the loon center experience is to tap into that, get people to feel it, relax, and say, ‘What can I do?’” said Heggerston. “’How can I help?’”
The National Loon Center will be releasing a new, updated website and launching their capital campaign for fundraising on July 20th of this year.