What is the Iron Range?
Minnesota’s Iron Range spans roughly 150 miles from Crosby in the south to the Ely area in the northeastern part of the state. The “Iron Range” is actually three iron ore-bearing land masses comprised of the Cuyuna Range (inactive), the Mesabi Range (six active iron ore mines) and the Vermilion Range (inactive).
Historically, both underground and above ground mines operated in the region. The last underground mine closed in 1964 and is now a state park. The six operating iron ore mines are above ground. They are all taconite, or iron ore mines. Plans for a copper nickel mine in the region have been in progress for about a decade.
There’s a lot to do! If you like cycling, there’s the 175-mile paved Mesabi Trail; if you like mountain biking, there are two world-class systems. If you like motorized sports, we have the Midwest’s largest OHV playground, plus many trails to explore for OHVs Jeeps and snowmobiles (please note: not all trails are shared). We have horseback trails, awesome golf courses and plenty of lakes to paddle or fish.
What is the population?
The Mesabi Iron Range includes 11 small towns: Hibbing, Chisholm, Buhl, Mountain Iron, Virginia, Gilbert, Eveleth, Biwabik, Hoyt Lakes, Aurora and Embarrass, ranging is size from hundreds to around 16,000. All together, the population is around 40,000 – just right!
The good news is, you can buy a house for a song. If you are looking for a condo, that might be a challenge. There is a great community of realtors, though, and plenty to choose from in the $140,000 or less price range. Taxes on a $130,000 house are $1,200 to $1,900 annually.
The Iron Range cities are served well by several nationally known Internet providers and other state of the art fiber broadband providers are currently offering service and expanding into our region. The Iron Range communities have been diligently working together to improve broadband access to the very rural areas of the region by conducting feasibility studies, speed tests, and improving public access at libraries, rural townhalls, attractions, businesses, and campgrounds. We are continually seeking state and federal grant funding to expand rural fiber networks to rural homes and businesses. CTC recently secured federal ReConnect funding to bring fiber broadband Internet to over 700 households in rural Cherry Township. Paul Bunyan Communications recently received state Border to Border funding to bring fiber broadband to the Side Lake area, which is home to McCarthy Beach State Park. Furthermore, our region is served by the Northeast Fiber Network which has high capacity fiber optic backbone connecting our Iron Range cities, townships, schools, healthcare facilities, and provides public-private partnership opportunities for businesses, rural expansion projects, and connections to fiber broadband across the Iron Range!
To learn more about ongoing efforts to improve rural broadband: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNIRRRB/bulletins/27b97ef RAMS Broadband Page: https://broadband.ramsmn.org/