Norway Beach Redesign Project
Thank you for your patience as we work through this process and we look forward to providing recreation opportunities through the season.
The Norway Beach Redesign Project will redevelop the area, so it can be maintained within current and future reduced fiscal realities, enabling the forest to adequately maintain the campground character and connections for generational visitors and campers.
Implementation of the Norway Beach Redesign Project is currently being phased-in over multiple years as funding becomes available.
- Norway Beach Recreation Area (NWB) is situated on 440-acres of national forest land on the east shore of Cass Lake. The campground consists of four loops, each with a proposed action for redevelopment. The campground is operated seasonally from mid-May through Labor Day weekend.
- In 2014 and 2015, the Chippewa National Forest contracted with the Forest Service Enterprise Technical Team to complete design studies for Norway Beach Recreation Area. The proposed actions would reduce the density of campsites while providing improvements and amenities at specific campground loops as well as removal of the deteriorating waste water treatment plant to be replaced with individual septic systems.
- Current issues at Norway Beach: Aging water and waste system needing repairs, building and other facility deferred maintenance, visitor use, and staffing issues. Water lines have needed to be repaired; valves, water heaters, fixtures need repairs or replacement; roofs need replacing, septic lift station and septic plant pumps needing repairs, changing visitor use and expectations; and improve efficiency of staff time. Improve volunteer safety and ability to provide quality facilities to the public.
- Some of the proposed improvements include adding electricity to the Norway loop, and creating a group camp section in the loop for larger groups and families. In addition, upgrades to all bath houses, increased parking at the boat landing and improved septic and water systems throughout the complex.
- The Chippewa National Forest completed the environmental analysis on November 1, 2017 to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations at the Norway Beach Recreation Area. Public comments were received in 2016 regarding the project, and the District Ranger signed the plan on December 5, 2017.
Updates: Oct. 7, 2021
The NBRA project is creeping along. The new septic mound systems were operational for the 2021 camping season and worked well.The USDA FS Regional Technical Services Team is working on the design plans for the new shower buildings, campsite updating, including the electric service in the Chippewa and Norway loops. The decommissioning plan for the old septic system is in the works along with developing the contract documents. Funding for the decommissioning is expected in FY2023, so work would start in the spring of 2023.
Updates: March 30, 2021
- The new septic mound systems will be completed before Memorial Day weekend. The contractor has some final landscaping and electrical finishing to do.
- The Chippewa NF is working with the R9 Technical Services Team on the lagoon septic system decommissioning plan, campground loops sites design, electric upgrade and new installation, and new shower buildings. Septic system decommissioning funding request submitted, possible work start in FY22.
- Cass Lake Campground Loop has been converted to a first come first serve walk-in campground loop with 12 lake-side tent sites, two sites are fully accessible for people with mobility issues. A parking area near the existing pay station leads to a new foot path, providing access to the sites.
- Norway, Chippewa, and Wanaki Loops have reservable sites and can accommodate Travel Trailers, RV campers, and tents. The shower/bathroom building was removed in early October.
- This redesign work in Cass Loop protects cultural sites.
- The Wanaki Boat Access has been converted to an extension of the Mi Gi Zi bike trail.
- Overflow parking will be created on the west end of the Norway Beach Loop.
- Re-Installation of the outdoor shower in day use area will also be completed.
- The septic tanks for the mound systems were installed the week of September 1, 2020 at the NBRA.
Why the changes?
Numbers at Cass Lake loop show low use in the back sites. This change keeps the high-use lake-side sites and offers a different camping experience. The other campground loops can accommodate RV campers.
Norway Beach Recreation Area is known as an important cultural heritage site, with Cass Loop one of the more culturally sensitive. This redesign protects cultural sites in the loop.
Brightening up Norway Beach - 2020 and Beyond
- After work is completed on the Norway loop, it will be open to visitors for the full camping season, at this time it is currently only available from Memorial weekend to July 5,
- Electricity to be added to each site in the Norway loop.
- In the Norway loop, a number of group camping areas will be designed, the group camping sites will accommodate two to four RVs, depending on the site.
- From 2021-2022, shower buildings will be replaced with new buildings in Norway, Chippewa and Wanaki loops.
- New septic systems will be installed at the Visitor Information Center, Norway, Chippewa, and Wanaki loops, scheduled to be completed by 2022.The old wastewater treatment plant could be decommissioned by 2025.
- A new entrance fee station will be constructed at the campground entrance. Other fee stations will be removed.
- Wanaki loop will have low use sites on the back side of the loop removed and restored to natural vegetation.