Ugly…that is the only description you hear in association with mining. But, what if I was to tell you there is another side, one of pristine turquoise waters, green lushness and tremendous sweeping beauty. Would you be a believer?
Enter one such place, Lake Ore-Be-Gone, a tongue in cheek reference to the ore being gone, located in the city of Gilbert, Minnesota, 60 miles north of the city of Duluth. A combination of three flooded mine pits that were mined in the mid-1800’s to early 1900’s. Originally owned by the city and purchased by Tall Pines Scuba of Virginia, Minn.
Lake Ore-Be-Gone is a 1600 acre site built on abandoned reclaimed mine dumps and features the state of Minnesota’s first Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, that attracts ATV’s, motorcycles and 4 wheel drive trucks from adjacent cities, neighboring states and Canada. But wait. That’s not all this beautiful area boasts. Lake Ore-Be-Gone truly does have something for everyone. Enter Sherwood Forest Campground that stands on raised ground overlooking the pristine waters of the old mining pit, where you can stay for the night or a weekend or hey, the summer.
If camping isn’t your thing that’s ok because, there’s also some top quality scuba diving in the pits with a maximum depth of 433 feet and enhanced with old mining equipment and other items, to satisfy any level of diver skill. Not a diver, how about fishing? The pit includes a public boat landing where you can try your luck at an assortment of sunfish, bluegill, trout, pike, bass, suckers and much more.
Are you still looking for something more? Lake Ore-Be-Gone is located on the Mesabi Trail, Minnesota’s premiere paved bike trail. Ok, ok just really want to relax and soak up some sun? The sand beach might be just your thing but, don’t forget your sunscreen. Hard to call this UGLY when you stand on the cliffs among the pines overlooking some of the clearest waters in the United States. Proof that RESPONSIBLE mining doesn’t destroy and can actually enhance the value of northeastern Minnesota.