Once again we lucked out to find a Corps of Engineers campground still open. The Leech Lake Recreation Area closes for camping on Oct. 31.
While the office is closed for business, there are still 78 sites, along with flush toilets and the best hot showers since Fort Peck CG in Mont.
Campers register at the honor vault where campground host Bobby Drake answers questions about the lake, fishing or the facility in general.
Born in Minnesota, Drake says he volunteers here because: “My dad taught me how to fish in Leech Lake. It brings back a lot of great memories.”
Drake, 62, of West Texas has volunteered for several years and this season he is living in a nifty 13-foot Cabin A Expedition that he says is “easily towed with his four-cylinder Ford Ranger pickup.”
Janis Owens, and her husband, Bruce, have volunteered for the Corps of Engineers campgrounds for 18 years.
“My husband worked in the office until last week,” she says.”I’ve been seeding and weeding an area of grass that was previously all weeds. Anything to get outdoors.”
The Owens plan to leave for home in about a week. While here they’ve been living in their Dutchmen trailer. Their stick-built home is in Albert Lea, Minn., about 90 miles south of Minneapolis.
Leech Lake Dam and Recreational Area is in the “heart of the Chippewa National Forest” in Federal Dam, Minn., south of US Hwy 2 (at Bena) on SR 8.
Top two photos: Bobby Drake of Texas volunteers as campground host in his 13-foot Cabin A trailer at Leech Lake, Minn. Bottom two: Janis Owens volunteers for three months each year. They camp in their 32′ Dutchmen trailer. Photos by Julianne Crane.