Cuyuna Range Campground carves out home base for RVs, campers
Aug 22, 2023
CROSBY — Cut into the woods of the Cuyuna Range, a new recreational vehicle campground opened this spring with 17 campsites.
Owners Angela and Dan Ugstad were inspired by a trip to Alaska with an RV and didn’t see anything like it in the Cuyuna lakes area. So they worked to create that opportunity north of Crosby for people to enjoy and explore the Cuyuna lakes from an RV base camp that offers wooded privacy just minutes from multiple destinations. Their goal was to provide full hookups on spacious sites with campsites separated by woods for privacy. They put the word out on tourism websites and with RV and camping groups using social media. They had more than 140 bookings before opening and before any reviews were posted.
Cuyuna Range Campground is just off Highway 6 north of Crosby at 21704 Dewing Road.
Each RV campsite — 40 feet by 60 feet — has full hookups for water, septic and electric. The individual sites, all with their own names for species of trees, are separated by thick woods from the next camper for privacy. The spaces include a picnic table, a fire pit with grill attachment, and an outdoor storage box with a 5-gallon bucket to douse the campfire. Costs are $57 per night.
“So you can really come here, enjoy nature, enjoy the woods, have your private space, but also be close enough that you can go out to eat and try all the restaurants in the area,” Angela Ugstad said. “... Go on different adventures to the mine lakes, go mountain biking, go ATVing, and kind of use our campground, use Cuyuna Range Campground as your home base, and a place to relax and kind of rejuvenate. Spend time with your family and friends. We just hope that people really enjoy it, come out, get into nature and just explore all that Cuyuna lakes area offers.”
Angela Ugstad can trace a long family history in the area.
“She’s been up here since she was a little girl,” her mom, Cecile Ferkul said as people toured the new campground in June. Angela Ugstad’s parents, Cecile and Mark Ferkul, were at the campground for its grand opening. But the family is well acquainted with the region. Their family has been vacationing in the area for more than 30 years, inheriting a cabin on Crooked Lake from Mark Ferkul’s parents. Ugstad’s grandparents built the cabin in Deerwood when she was 3 years old.
“And so we had been coming to this area pretty much every weekend for a very long time,” she said. “And then we purchased a cabin in Ironton about five, six years ago.”
Ugstad said she and her husband made a lot of weekend trips to the area for a long time and then decided they really liked the area, why not live here. In 2019, the couple decided they wanted to make the move. They were ready for a change and to leave the Twin Cities and get out of the suburbs.
“We liked the community,” Ugstad said of the Cuyuna area. “We like all the activities in the outdoor perspective and decided to move our family up here full time in the summer of ‘20. And couldn't be happier.”
So they packed up their household along with two young children and their three dogs and moved north, first living in an 860-square-foot small cabin on Lookout Lake and loving lake life before buying and rehabbing a house in Deerwood. Now they rent out the cabin and plan to build a house on their property next to the campground.
Selling their metro home during a pandemic was challenging, but Ugstad said being in the Cuyuna area at that time was a blessing with so many things to do outside. Ugstad is an actuary for a consulting firm out of the Twin Cities. Her husband, a mechanic, wanted to get into real estate and do the campground in the woods. Ugstad said the community support for their project has been awesome.
“We want to get people out in nature, enjoy the woods, enjoy the peace,” Ugstad said, noting that restful stay then combines with all the activities and things to do, see and experience nearby.
“We hope people feel this is their own little piece of the Cuyuna Range adventure.” she said.
For the Ugstads, it’s all part of their new year-round home.
So what changes when a person goes from being a seasonal weekend resident to living in the community full time?
“I think one of the great things is that we're not limited to trying to fit all of the fun activities in on the weekends,” Ugstad said. She said instead of trying to fit things in or go out to eat when everything is so busy, they have more time and can try things out when things are not as busy. “So it's kind of nice because we — people come up here for all the different activities and the adventure and everything on the weekend — and we get to enjoy that all week long and all year long as well. "Because it's not just summer, this area's really gotten a lot of different activities in the winter too. We do snowshoeing on the mountain biking trails. I know a lot of people come up and do fat tire biking and things like that. So there's really a lot of things to do year-round. And it's nice to just have them on our back door pretty much.”
Cuyuna Range Campground welcomed its first guests on June 30 in time for the Fourth of July holiday.
“My hope is that people love this space as much as we do. They find as much peace being here,” Ugstad said. “And every time I come here as we've been working on it, as soon as I get on the property, it's just kind of like a big deep breath. And you just look around. I mean, right now, you can hear the wind through the trees. Like it's just it's so relaxing and peaceful and I hope that other people have that same response and experience when they stay with us.”
Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchBizBuzz.