DNR offered to begin process to return Croft Mine Park

By Barb Grove

A few weeks ago the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offered to begin the process of returning the Croft Mine Historical Park to the people of the Cuyuna Range.
In the 1990s the Croft Park was a favorite gathering place of many local and visiting people, particularly those folks who had family or friends who had worked in the Croft Mine, an underground shaft mine from 1914-1933, producing 1,770,669 tons of ore. It is located in north Crosby and on the mountain bike trail in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
 In 1978 Governor Rudy Perpich, a Ranger, announced a program to restore the Croft Mine Park, together with a simulated mine shaft tour experience, dry house, and other historical buildings, along with picnic tables and playground. In 1989 the Croft Mine Historical Park opened to the public. Many celebrations, exhibits, class reunions and other gatherings took place as well as family picnics. Cuyuna Range communities contributed maintenance services such as city water, trash pick-up, administrative assistance and outside maintenance. In 1993 the Croft Mine Park was included in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA), Minnesota’s first such designation, and in 1998 a deed is given to the DNR.
That is a brief history of the Croft which has been sporadically open throughout the past 20 years. As a member of the CCSRA Advisory Committee, representing the Croft Mine Historical Park, I offered to voluntarily facilitate a portion of the exchange from the DNR back to the folks on the Range. This will include developing a plan for the restoration of the Croft, creating a budget for the restoration work, writing grant proposals, finding local donors, recruiting volunteers and a million other things. It can’t be done without the help of many people, and I have been overwhelmed by the community excitement at having the Croft returned to us, and offers of support.
I plan to have an update in the Courier each month so everyone will know how we are progressing. Much planning work took place before the weather turned cold. I will share our progress, describe how the Croft has held up these past 20 years, what the DNR has done to maintain the grounds and buildings, and what our plans are for the restoration.
If you have questions, suggestions, offers of support, either in time, talent, or donations, send the information to Box 253, Crosby, MN  56441.