University of Minnesota
UMore Park

Vermillion Highlands: A Research, Recreation and Wildlife Management Area

About Vermillion Highlands

Vermillion Highlands is a 2,822-acre research, recreation and wildlife management area adjacent to the southern border of UMore Park. The property is jointly managed by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with Dakota County and Empire Township.

In May 2006 the Governor of Minnesota signed into law legislation that set aside the 2,822 acres to be a natural area in perpetuity. As part of the legislation, at the State's option, all or part of the property will be deeded by the University to the State in 2032, in conjunction with the State’s support for the University’s new Gopher football stadium on the Minneapolis campus. The legislation also provided for the University's rights to use the land for permitted University uses in perpetuity.

The Vermillion Highlands joint management team is currently focusing on long-term planning that maximizes partner strengths in research, education, trails and recreation, and wildlife management and hunting on the property. Vermillion Highlands will be maintained as a natural area for public access in perpetuity.

October 2013: The Rosemount City Council approved the AUAR (Alternative Urban Areawide Review) based on the 2008 Concept Master Plan.

February 2015: The Board of Regents approved market-based development of  the 5,000-acre UMore Park property expected to occur in stages spread across several decades. Opportunities to incorporate the vision of the 2008 Concept Master Plan developed will be considered when UMore Park land parcels are sold for development if there is private market demand for such elements and such concepts serve to protect and/or enhance the development value of the remaining site.

View the concept master plan for Vermillion Highlands.



In 1947 and 1948 the property that is now Vermillion Highlands was part of the 12,000 acres deeded to the University of Minnesota by the United States federal government at a 100% public benefit allowance. The property was, in part, the site of the Gopher Ordnance Works which supported the war effort. Over the years, the University has conducted various forms of research on the property.