Gull Lake Dam - Army Corps of Engineers

The Gull Lake Dam is located on the Gull River about 1/2 mile below the outlet of Gull Lake. It was put into service in 1912, the last of the Headwaters reservoir dams constructed. A timber dam preceded the current structure. The designers were Colonel Francis R. Shunk and George Freeman. This team also designed Lock and Dam No. 1 built on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul in 1917.

The control structure is built of reinforced concrete supported on timber piling. There is a log sluice and a 5-foot fishway in addition to five sluiceways. The fishway is no longer useable and has been closed off.

The seven-room dam tender's house, completed in 1912, is of concrete and beam construction. The exterior is finished with concrete panels. It is a good example of the then popular "Craftsman" style of architecture. One characteristic of the style is its "honest," straightforward treatment of materials. Brick, stucco, and frame Craftsman style houses were built in many Minnesota cities and towns between about 1905 and 1920. The exposed rafter ends at the eves, grouped windows, and simple board trim are notable details associated with this style. The dam tender's house is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The prehistoric archaeology of the Gull Lake dam site is of particular significance. There are twelve complete and several partial burial mounds, representative of the Woodland Culture that established permanent villages in this area about 800 B.C. - A.D. 200 and A.D. 600 - 900. Archaeologists have studied the burial site, and an interpretive display provides information for visitors. The burial mounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Click here for details on how the Gull Lake Dam is operated throughout the year.

Click here for the Army Corps of Engineers Gull Lake Dam website.

Army Corps of Engineers safety videos

Video 1: The opening public service announcement about water safety talks about the importance of being smart while enjoying all of the water-related activities available to everyone during the summer. So go on and have some fun out on the water, but please remember to do it safely and wear a life jacket.

Video 2: Lock staff at the St. Paul District's Lock and Dam 5, near Minnesota City, Minn., recently had to quickly respond to a canoeist that was taking on water near the dam.

Wear It! A reminder of the importance of wearing your life jackets.

Gull Lake Recreation Area - Campground

The campground is open year round and space can be reserved by calling 1-877-444-6777 or on-line at The fee for camping is $26.00/night during the summer and $13.00/night during the off-season.   We also honor the America the Beautiful Card which gives the card holder a 50% discount.

The Corps web page for the St Paul District is: 

Lake Level Information

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a complete set of statistics on the Gull Lake reservoir.  The current lake level can be viewed at:

Type in "Gull Lake" and click on "Go"  

You'll see 3 locations as follows:

Gull Lake near Brainerd

Gull Lake Dam

Gull Lake Dam-Tailwater

The reading at "Gull Lake near Brainerd" is the recommended value to use.  Once selected, you can also view a graph of recent readings by selecting "Time Series"

When you first connect to the Gull Lake Dam page, you can click on "Overview" in the top right navigation to see all three readings.  Clicking on the circle with the percentage in it will lead you to an interesting graphic and lots of detailed data on the Gull Lake Dam measurement point.

#RecreateResponsibly to Protect Yourself, Others, and the Outdoors

During this public health crisis, spending time in outdoor spaces has become even more important for many Americans. Yet these unusual circumstances mean that all of us, from seasoned outdoor enthusiasts to families heading out to their local park for the first time, could use a little guidance about how to stay safe. The Recreate Responsibly guidelines offer a starting point for getting outside to keep yourself healthy and to maintain access to our parks, trails, and beaches.

Click here for details.

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