Court Orders Campground Closed

February 28, 2014 by   - () 1 Comment

After years of legal tussle, the state of Minnesota won a decisive courtroom battle that’s expected to shut down a popular Goodhue County campground, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reported.

A judge on Feb. 3 approved a permanent injunction request made by the Minnesota Department of Health that effectively shuts down the 300-acre Hidden Valley campground. It has operated the last two camping seasons without the proper licenses after state and local officials identified numerous health and environmental concerns at the campground, which has been in operation since 1967.

Attempts to contact Hidden Valley owner Cory Axelson for comment were not successful. The campground’s phone number has apparently been disconnected, and he did not respond to an e-mail from the Post-Bulletin. Julie Nagorski, Axelson’s attorney, also did not return phone calls.

Hidden Valley has been under intense scrutiny for years because of frequent police calls, a nonfunctional septic system and other issues.

Last spring, Axelson was fined $10,000 by the state for operating without a license. Three months later, state officials found more than 100 occupied campsites during an inspection, according to Ehlinger’s lawsuit; a campground needs a license to host more than five campsites.

In 2011, an inspection by the Minnesota Department of Health found nine health violations, prompting the Goodhue County Board to revoke Hidden Valley’s conditional-use permit at the 200-site campground.

Losing the conditional-use permit has serious consequences in attempting to get it back. Hidden Valley was created six years before Minnesota adopted the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1973, allowing it to avoid those restrictions through grandfathering. To obtain a new permit, Axelson would have to adjust the campround’s layout to comply with the setbacks established in the Scenic Rivers legislation.

For the full story, click here.


One Response to “Court Orders Campground Closed”

  1. barbara Holton on March 1st, 2014 6:18 am

    Don’t believe everything you read. I believe there are two sides to every story and I have heard this one before. Unless you have the funds to fight the battle you will lose because the law has nothing to do with what’s fair and right it’s who has the most money to dig up the most dirt to nit pick and harass hard-working small businesses that are trying to survive and compete with big businesses that they allow to operate with no consequence to there inefficiencies. If closing down small campgrounds is your goal then you are succeeding because after you have dragged them through the court system and spent all their money they have no choice but to sell their land and move on. Too bad you can’t help instead of destroy.