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Return of Detroit Mt.?

Artist's rendering1 / 2
This is a ski-slope view of what the proposed recreational lodge at Detroit Mountain would look like when finished. A complete set of drawings of the proposed renovations to the ski area will be on display at a fundraising kickoff event set for July 11 at Zorbaz. ARTIST’S RENDERING2 / 2

Despite the setback of being turned down for a Department of Natural Resources Parks & Trails Grant early this year, proponents of the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area (DRMA) project are on the verge of a significant announcement.

On Thursday, July 11, DMRA organizers will be hosting a public event at Zorbaz in Detroit Lakes to officially launch a public fundraising campaign for the project.

At that meeting, DRMA Vice President Mark Fritz will be giving an update on the project’s progress this year.

The DMRA group formed in 2010 as a group of businessmen and women in the area interested in reopening the ski hill, which operated from 1958-2004 under private ownership.

But the group also envisioned more than just downhill skiing: A feasibility study for the property included cross-country skiing, snowboarding, tubing, a terrain park, camping, biking and hiking opportunities.

“It is our vision to have a four-season recreation area on Detroit Mountain,” Fritz said.

The non-profit organization has moved ahead with the purchase of the 200-acre Detroit Mountain ski area site, and launched a silent fundraising campaign as a first step towards raising money for development of the regional park.

Part of the reason why the fundraising project began as a “silent” campaign was to determine how much support there was from around the region, Fritz noted.

“This isn’t just a Detroit Lakes thing, it’s a regional attraction,” he continued. “We’ve been very happy with the support and enthusiasm we’ve received. Now, it’s time to open this up to a wider audience.

“To get this project done the way we want is going to require the public’s support,” Fritz added.

Several goals have already been accomplished this year, including the selection of an architectural firm to design a four-season recreational lodge with amenities including a cafeteria, Wi-Fi access, equipment rentals and more.

On July 11, Fritz said, the DMRA plans to “go public with where we’re at now, and what the general community can do to help make this dream become a reality.”

The campaign launch will begin inside Zorbaz at 6 p.m. on July 11, with Fritz’s presentation set to take place at 6:30 p.m.

There will also be artist’s renderings, project brochures, videos and other information provided about the project.

The presentation will be followed by live music starting at approximately 7 p.m.

For more information on the project, visit, or take a look at the “Bring Back Detroit Mountain” page on Facebook.

The Becker County Board on Tuesday approved a conditional use permit for The Mountain Recreation Area, contingent on the group working with Erie Township to resolve any issues with increased traffic on 170th Street and Otto Zeck Road.

The approval also includes a zone change from residential and commercial to agricultural for the entire site.

Had the conditional use permit been denied, the DRMA project would have lost $1.3 million in federal tax credits from the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corp.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454