The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is seeking public comments on a request from the National Loon Center Foundation for a lease to construct, operate and maintain a National Loon Center within the Corps-owned and -operated Cross Lake Recreation Area in Crosslake.
The Corps released a draft environmental assessment last week and is currently evaluating the application submitted by the foundation. The proposed 15,000-square-foot National Loon Center building would offer experiential learning for visitors to educate them about loons and wildlife conservation.
The facility would be operated year-round and include water quality and wildlife habitat exhibits; a loon and freshwater research center laboratory; and classroom and interactive technology to provide hands‐on experiential education. Other site features would include public docks and educational interpretive areas.
The building would be constructed in the park’s current day-use area. The existing comfort station would be replaced within the National Loon Center and available for public use.
A draft environmental assessment describing the proposal and the environmental impacts is available online.
Comments will be taken until April 22.
Questions on the project or comments on the EA can be directed to Steven Clark, project biologist, at 651-290-5278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written correspondence on this project may be mailed to the St. Paul District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN: Regional Planning and Environment Division North, 180 5th St. E., Suite 700, St. Paul, MN 55101.
Last fall, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources recommended to the 2019 Minnesota Legislature that it provide $4 million in funding for the proposed loon center.
If approved, the foundation estimated construction would begin in spring 2020 with a grand opening in spring 2021.
Several other national and international wildlife efforts are based in Minnesota: the International Wolf Center and the North American Bear Center, Ely; the National Eagle Center, Winona; and the International Owl Center, Houston.
For more information about the loon center and the foundation, visit the National Loon Center Foundation’s website.