Apr 19, 2023 | By: Justin Othoudt

Northwoods Experience: Lake Bemidji State Park Celebrating 100th Anniversary

April 1923 was a momentous time for the Bemidji community, as the state legislature officially named Lake Bemidji State Park as the 9th state park in Minnesota. Now, 100 years later, the park will be celebrating its century-long operation.

“It’s not every year you get to celebrate a centennial,” said Lake Bemidji State Park Manager Pete Harrison. “100 years, that’s a big deal.”

“It’s officially on April 21st, but April 22nd, we’re going to have a big celebration,” explained Lake Bemidji State Park Naturalist Christa Drake.

On Saturday, the park will be hosting a number of activities for park goers to enjoy, all completely free to the public.

“We’re gonna have a park clean-up from 10 to noon in honor of Earth Day,” said Drake. “And then from two to four is cake and ice cream and live music.”

Drake also explained that the day will be a “Free Park Day,” meaning visitors will not need a park permit to enjoy the festivities.

While the centennial is meant to celebrate 100 years of operation, it’s also meant to honor the work that went into establishing Minnesota’s 9th state park.

“We’re gonna give a little backstory of how the park came to be,” explained Harrison. “All the effort that was put into it from those folks that were the visionaries that really this saw this as a potential for a great place for people to have.”

It’s possible that those who pushed for the establishment of the park might be proud to see what it’s become a whole century down the hiking trail.

“It’s very exciting and the fact that there were so many people that were fighting for it back in the 1920s, it feels great that they finally were able to get a bill passed through the legislature to establish the park,” said Drake.

Lake Bemidji State Park will also be holding a secondary celebration on June 10th of this year, this time in the form of a community picnic which will also be free to the public. More information on the park’s history can be found on the DNR website.

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