Itasca County Land Department
Park System
1177 LaPrairie Ave. Grand Rapids MN 55744

County Parks  
The Itasca County Park System manages four county parks and one natural area for resident and visitor enjoyment.
BASS LAKE COUNTY PARK : Bass Lake County Park and Campground is a pristine park surrounding beautiful Bass Lake and encompasses 663 acres of red and white pine, spruce, aspen, and cedar forest.  It is located off of Minnesota State Aid Highway 1, eleven miles east of Effie or eleven miles west of Togo , Minnesota .  The property was purchased by Itasca County in 1984 from the Boise Cascade Corporation with the help of a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.  Campground fees are comparable with other public campgrounds.  Camping visitations are limited to fourteen days per camp unit.  
Park facilities include:  
CAMPSITES: There are 29 sites in the park with five as tent sites only.  All sites feature the amenities of a picnic table, fire grate, and tent pad and/or camper slot.  All sites provide a lakeshore access.  
PICNIC AREA: The picnic area is a triangular shaped site measuring approximately 350’ by 170’.  This area was damaged by the 1989 windstorm that left two large pines near the center of the site standing.  We have renovated the site by providing a level grassy area.  
TRAILS: Bass Lake Park is interlaced with many trails within its 663-acre boundary.  Park System personnel minimally maintain the trails.  At the present time, most of the trails are open to multiple uses that include hikers, bikers, equestrian use, and Off Highway Vehicles of less than 1000 pounds.  There is also a hiker only trail located around the south half of Bass Lake , which allows for complete circle hikes of the lake.  
BEACH: Bass Lake has one constructed and maintained beach, which is located at the southeastern end of the campground complex.  Park personnel constructed this beach in 1988.  There are presently several user developed swim areas throughout the campground.  This beach is a swim at your own risk facility as there are no beaches operated by the County that are protected by lifeguards.  
OTHER: Other facilities at Bass Lake Park include – 4 drinking wells, trash cans throughout the park, and 9 outdoor privies (3 of which are 1000 gallon vault type ADA approved outhouses).  
GUNN PARK: Gunn Park is a highly developed model community park located north of Grand Rapids along Highway 38, the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway.  It is located on the shores of Prairie Lake in Arbo Township .  This park was developed and managed by the Blandin Paper Company in the 1960’s.  Itasca Little League, who retained ownership of the baseball fields, donated the park property to Itasca County in 2003.  Gunn Park encompasses 50 acres of red and white pine, spruce, and aspen forest.

Park facilities include:  
PAVILION: Gunn Park has a beautiful stone and wood pavilion that can be reserved for large group activities.  It is an open-air facility with a built in fireplace and numerous picnic tables.  For reservations call 218-326-0032.  
PICNIC AREA: The Park is equipped with several picnic tables providing a large day use area for families and individuals.  A small set of playground equipment is also located near the picnic area and pavilion.  Large pine trees, benches, and flowerbeds frame the scenic setting.  
FISHING PIER: A fishing pier is located in the park providing users with a facility for fishing in the lake.  
BALLFIELDS: Several baseball and softball fields are located in this park.  The Little League organization has ownership and management of these facilities.  A cooperative agreement has been  worked out between the Park System and Little League, for use of one of the ball fields by the public.  
OTHER: Other facilities located in Gunn Park include modern flush toilets and a large parking area.  The Blandin Paper Company included several experimental plots of evergreen trees in the park during the 1960’s.  These plots of trees will need to be inventoried and evaluated as a part of the park planning process.
The Itasca County Fairgrounds Park: is located in Section 16 of T55 north, R25 west in the City of Grand Rapids.
The Park is 82.7 acres in size and is owned by Itasca County.  The park consists of several large barns, multiple buildings, and food courts, a Caretakers house, the Mesabi Trailhead Building, horse arenas, a large campground and a gravel race track.  The County Fairgrounds was established in 1907 to provide grounds for the Itasca County Fair.  This property is currently managed by the Itasca County Agricultural Association through the Itasca County Fair Board and the Itasca County Land Department as a county park.  The Itasca County Board officially established the County Fairgrounds as a county park in March, 2008.
Activities at Fairgrounds Park
Over the past 100 years the Fairgrounds Park has been host to many different types of events and activities, from music concerts and plays to church fellowship gatherings.  The following is an abbreviated list of some of the events that are currently active at the Fairgrounds Park. 
Itasca County Fair 
The Itasca County Fair is usually held on the third weekend of August.  This event brings in a large number of visitors during the 5-day event.  The fair features horse shows, music, carnival rides, demo derbies, stock-car races, exhibits, agricultural and livestock shows and competitions.  For more information
Car Show/Swap Meet
The Car Show/Swap Meet is generally held on the last weekend in July.  The Itasca Vintage Car Club held this event from 1972 to 2013.  This has been a very popular event in Itasca County with many visitors from around the world.  In 2014, when the Car Club decided to not host this event the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce volunteered to continue the event.
Horse Activities
There are several horse clubs in the area that come to the Fairgrounds Park every year to do horse shows and training.  A large 270 X 100 foot outdoor arena complete with bleachers and an announcer’s booth is available at the park.
North Star Expo
The expo has been active for many years providing a place for loggers, vendors, and timber companies to explore new equipment and ideas designed for the logging industry.  When the event is held in Itasca County the Expo sets up on the county fairgrounds in late September.
Race Events
Throughout the summer many race car events and derbies are held at the Itasca County Raceway on the north end of the fairgrounds.  These events draw in many race enthusiasts from Itasca County and several neighboring counties.
4H Events
Fairgrounds Park is the perfect facility to support many 4-H activities.  Horse Project members use the arena for workshops and meetings throughout the summer.  The Dog project meets weekly at the fairgrounds from May through August for 4-H Dog Training classes.  The Dairy Barn is home to the agility course, and various green spaces become the obedience classrooms.  Dog training culminates in a Fun Show 2 weeks prior to the County Fair. The Gazebo provides the perfect stage for the annual August 4-H Demonstration Event, and the 4-H Food Booth picnic area is home to many 4-H activities from May through September.  The Trailhead Building has been a frequent home for 4-H Project Fun Day in the spring, Freezin Fun in the winter, 4-H Adventures in the summer, and various special events and overnight retreats during the year. 
Trail Events
Several bike, snowmobile, dogsled, and walking events have begun and finished at the Itasca County Fairgrounds Park for more than 25 years.  The Fairgrounds Park is the trailhead for the Mesabi Bike Trail, the Itasca Bike Trail, and the Taconite Snowmobile Trail.  The Mesabi Bike Trail and Taconite Snowmobile Trail are well-known tourist’s attractions.  The Itasca Bike Trail is part of Itasca County’s Regional Parks and Trails area, connects the Fairgrounds Park to Gunn Park.
Student Events
School activities have been held at the Fairgrounds Park over the past 60 years.  The park is located between the Robert J. Elkington Middle School and the Grand Rapids Senior High School and Murphy Elementary is just a few blocks away.  Because of the close proximity of the park to these schools, students use the park for in-school and after-school activities.
Itasca Water Legacy Partnership
The Youth Water Summit has been held at the Fairgrounds Park for 5th grade students from District 318, Deer River, St. Joseph's Catholic school, and Bigfork.  Approximately 360 students rotate through 40 water science presenters to learn more about the environment and animal life in and around water.  Funds are provided by local community grant sources and 50 to 60 adult volunteers help with the project.
Music Events
The Fairgrounds Park has been home to many music events such as the Bluegrass Festival and the Blues Festival.  The park is well suited for gatherings that need large open spaces, parking and camping for vendors and visitors.  Currently there is a small Gazebo on the grounds for smaller local events.
Safety Training
The Minnesota DNR and several local ATV and Snowmobile Clubs host ATV and snowmobile safety programs at the Fairgrounds Park.  These safety programs graduate many children each year, providing instruction in the safe operation of recreational vehicles.  The Trailhead Building at the park is available for use as a training facility.  The open space on the grounds works well for the field practice portion of safety training.
Campground:  The campground at the Fairgrounds Park is approximately 7 acres in size and it can hold more than 200 camper units during event activities.  All of the sites are located amongst towering red and white pine trees.   Most of the sites are semi-primitive with few amenities.  Approximately 80 sites can be connected to electric services.  None of the sites have septic hookup at this time however there is a public RV dump station west of the campground area.  The campground offers a washhouse with full shower and laundry services available.  The amenities include picnic tables and fire rings when requested. The fire rings are portable wheel rims and are available as requested.  Firewood is available for purchase.  Several sites are provided with power hookup for 30 and 50 amp services.   The campground is mostly used by event campers such as the Bluegrass Festival, the Car Show/Swap Meet, the County Fair, and other local community activities.  The rules are similar to other campgrounds in the area.  Campers are to choose a site, setup, and pay upon arrival.  Fees are dropped in a self-pay box and picked up daily by the staff.  No reservations are available and no golf carts or ATV’s are allowed in the campground or on the park grounds. 
More information on the Campground can be found at
Fairgrounds Park Master Plan:  The 2015 to 2025 Fairgrounds Park Master Plan was completed in the fall of 2015 and you can find a copy of the plan Here.
FURLONG FAMILY MEMORIAL PARK :  The Furlong Family in the memory of John Furlong donated this property to Itasca County in 2001.  It is an 8-acre small park and carry-in access located on Loon Lake south of Marble on County Road 69 in unorganized township 55N 23W.  The park includes a parking area and a carry-in access (Class 3) to Loon Lake.  The natural features of this park include a beautiful stand of Norway Pine and a low wetland.  
BOY SCOUT TRIANGLE:  The Boy Scout Triangle, is a small park  located in southeast Grand Rapids along County Road 3.  The park contains a small number of trees and a few benches, and a picnic table.  This park is across the street from Oakland Park near the Mississippi River. 
DRUMBEATER ISLAND NATURAL AREADrumbeater Island Natural Area is a 17-acre island located in Pokegama Lake , south of Grand Rapids .  It’s acquisition was funded through the cooperative efforts of the Greater Pokegama Lake Association, Blandin Paper Company, Itasca County , and the State of Minnesota .  In 2001 Itasca County acquired the island from the Blandin Paper Company with the assistance of a State of Minnesota-Department of Natural Resources Natural and Scenic Area Grant, a Blandin Paper Company donation of a portion of the island, and a donation from the Greater Pokegama Lake Association.
The County Park and Recreation System manages the island as a Natural Area to properly protect the natural and/or scenic resources in perpetuity.  There are no developed recreation facilities on the island.  Drumbeater Island has important natural and scenic qualities including a maturing old growth forest and possible cultural resources.  It also provides an important habitat for wildlife and undeveloped lakeshore for fish on an already very developed lake.  Funding for this project was provided in part by the State of Minnesota by Chapter 404, Sec. 7, subd. 26 of the 1998 Capital Improvements Bill, better known as the Omnibus Bonding Bill.”