Most winters there are about 5,000 ice fishing houses scattered across Lake Mille Lacs Lake. While most ice fishermen responsibly take their debris with them when they leave the ice, others discard blocks of wood used to prop up houses and other garbage. These items eventually wash up on shore, affecting animals, birds and the people who live around the lake.
In an effort to keep Mille Lacs clean, two area resorts have joined forces. Appeldoorn's Sunset Bay and McQuoids Inn, both near Isle, have agreed to host dumpsters for ice fishing waste at their resorts. The dumpsters are available for visitors accessing the lake at their locations. Resort staff will monitor the areas on the lake where their rental houses are placed and keep those areas clear of debris.
This effort is part of a larger lake clean up project undertaken by the Mille Lacs Lake Watershed Management Group and the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council. A Conservation Partners Grant from the DNR was awarded to the watershed group, with funding provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The grant supports the dumpsters at the resorts and will also support a lakeshore cleanup project after ice out.
Working together, this partnership hopes to keep ice fishing waste from entering the lake and to clean up waste that washes ashore in spring. Contact the Mille Lacs Lake Watershed Management Group at (218) 927-6565 for more information.
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