The city of Big Falls will celebrate the grand opening of its campground Wednesday.

From 4-6 p.m. that day, visitors can explore the new expanded and improved facilities, said city Clerk Joan Nelson.

The project at the Big Falls Campground, about 40 miles south of International Falls via Highway 71, has been in the works since 2016 and is now complete.

The campground now features 30 sites connected to the city’s sanitary sewer system.

The project came to fruition thanks to a nearly $1.3 million grant awarded in 2018 from the Minnesota Park and Trail Legacy Grant Program.

It allowed for:

  • Acquisition of 10 adjoining riverside acres, which was purchased in 2018.
  • A net increase of 11 campsites, all with 50 amp electrical hookups, as well as water at most sites.
  • Three Americans with Disabilities Act compliant camp sites.
  • Installation of an RV dump station.
  • Abandonment of the existing sanitary sewer treatment system and connection to the city’s sanitary sewer system.
  • Construction of a new restroom/shower house/visitor center building.
  • Demolition and abatement of old buildings on the land, and also well sealing.

The project helps to protect and improve the water quality of the Bigfork River, which borders one side of the campground, and eases access for people with disabilities, by adding campsites designed to meet Americans with Disabilities requirements, Nelson said.

The campground’s completion, projected for August, was delayed when areas of archaeological significance were located near the Bigfork River, causing the restructure of plans, she said.

“We did have a significant delay due to historical elements at the site location, and went through a process with the State Historical Preservation Office and an on-site archaeologist to get approval to continue the project,” she said. “The actual construction began late summer of 2020 and is now complete.”