36750 Main Park Drive Park Rapids MN 56470 Northwest
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Photo: Randen Pederson/FlickrCC
Established in 1891, Itasca is Minnesota’s oldest state park and arguably the second oldest state park in the nation. Famous as the location of the Mississippi headwaters, but originally created to protect the magnificent, old-growth pine trees from logging. Jacob Brower was instrumental in the park’s establishment and went on to say, “No one will ever fully realize how necessarily strenuous were the exertions which finally resulted in establishing Itasca State Park, April 20 1891… For no measure was ever more unreasonably harassed and opposed.”
Today, we are indebted to Brower’s and others’ efforts to create this park, which is a landmark and source of state pride. One of the largest state parks, it offers incredible opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing and camping.