Welcome to the Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA)

Latest News

December 20, 2021
Submitted By Bob Stancer – Posted December 20, 2021

October 24, 2021
The MNDNR has received a request for a lease from North Star Manganese,Inc. North Star is a twin city based company. Crow Wing Power formed a wholly-owned subsidiary called Cooperative Mineral Resources that bought land in Emily Minnesota in 2008. The land contains a deposit of manganese. On August 22, 2019 Cooperative Mineral Resources signed an agreement with North Star Manganese, Inc to mine the manganese deposit in Emily.
The MNDNR is seeking public comments regarding this lease.
Comments need to be received by 4:30 p.m. Saturday, October 30, 2021
Mail comments to:
Minnesota DNR
Division of Lands and Minerals
Attention: Negotiated Metallic Mineral leases
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4045
Email comments to: MMLeaseSales.dnr@state.mn.us
Past History:
In 1996, there was a proposal for in-sit injection well mining of manganese in Emily. An exploration hole was drilled and later abandoned with no further action.
In 2010, a total of 6 permits were issued by different governmental agencies that included city, state and federal agencies. The borehole mining technology was the method used to attempt to extract the manganese. Barr Engineering was involved with this attempt and provided a 51-page presentation on the borehole technology. This attempt also failed and was abandoned.
( To see the Barr presentation – go to “Borehole Mining of Manganese in Emily, MN”.)
Refer to the two attachments for more detailed information on effects the mining operation could have on the environment and also the health of humans from higher concentrations of manganese released into the water table.

Submitted By Ken Neihart – Posted October 24, 2021

Get the lead out to save the Loons!

Stop by the FLPOA booth on Saturday June 26th  at  Fifty Lakes day to drop off lead sinkers and get a lead free sinker packet.

Manufacturers and retailers of lead-free tackle | Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (state.mn.us)

Get the lead out | Minnesota DNR (state.mn.us)

Save Loons from Lead – Bing video

Submitted By Bob Stancer – Posted June 18, 2021

The FLPOA Board has decided to move the annual meeting and picnic from Saturday June 12th to Saturday Sept. 4th, 2021. The picnic will run from 11:00 to 2:00 and will be held at the Fifty Lakes pavilion.

Submitted By Bob Stancer – Posted April 12, 2021

Zebra Mussel watch as you take docks and lifts out this fall.

In early August a native clam with a zebra mussel attached was reported on Eagle Lake near the dam. Tim Plude, from the Brainerd  DNR office was notified and verified that it was a zebra mussel and that the clam was on shore not in the water. Tim checked docks and rocks in the area and took water samples for veliger mussls, the results so far have been negative. Tim has been back to the lake a second time, and a property owner on the lake has also looked for zebra mussels and none have been found.

If you find what you think is a zebra mussel, take a photo of it and document the location and send the information to Tim at his email address timothy.plude@state.mn.us . If you want to call  Tim, to report your findings, his number is 218-203-4354. Blow is the link to the MN DNR site. Also send email to flpoamn@gmail.com so the FLPOA board is aware of the finding. Board members may want to document your finding as well.


The FLPOA board thanks you for your cooperation.

FLPOA Annual Picnic Cancelled
Submitted By Bob Stancer – Posted April 21, 2020

Unfortunately, the Annual FLPOA Picnic, scheduled for Saturday, June 13th is cancelled. However, we will still hold the annual meeting conference call from 8:30am to 10:30am. All are welcome and the call in number and ID are: Phone 605-313-4118 ID 829749

Catch the Live Looncam
Submitted By Bob Stancer – Posted April 21, 2020

Tune in to see the live stream of the loon nest and activity on Pelican Lake!

Live Loon Cam

Fifty Lakes Day Date Change
Submitted By Bob Stancer – Posted April 21, 2020

Fifty Lakes Day, which is usually scheduled at the end of June, has been rescheduled to Saturday, August 22nd. Expect to see the FLPOA booth, along with other interesting vendors, live music and delicious eats and drinks. Mark your calendars now, and we’ll have more details to share as we get closer to this fun, family-friendly event!

Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Pipeline
Submitted By Ken Neihart – Posted January 8, 2020

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is considering permits that have been requested by Enbridge to replace the current Line 3 pipeline that will carry Canadian Tar Sand Oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin.

The PUC needs to approve two permits. They are a Certificate of Need Permit and a Route Permit.

The PUC is asking for the public to comment on these two permits. Public comments will be accepted until January 16, 2020. Public comments can be filed at mn.gov/puc/consumers/speak-up, referencing docket numbers 14-916 and 15-137.

Certificate of Need Permit docket number 14-916:

An example of a comment that was made by the Minnesota Department of Commerce in September of 2017, against granting the certificate of need permit was “the current pipeline system has enough capacity to meet the states long-term needs without a new line 3”.

Route Permit docket 15-137:

An example of a comment that was made by the National Academy of Science against granting the route permit was “ Diluted Bitumen (tar sand oil) should not be transported through a water rich environment”.

General Comments can be made in addition the comments on the two permits:

  1. The proposed pipeline route is located approximately 4 – 6 miles north of Fifty Lakes and is located in the power line corridor that crosses Cass County Road #155, just south of the Washburn Lake Road.
  2.  The proposed pipeline crosses Daggett Brook and would also pass through the wetlands that are north of Fifty Lakes.

Daggett Brook flows through Mitchell and Eagle Lakes and ends up in Little Pine Lake which is part of the Whitefish Chain. Any oil spill into Daggett Brook could reach both Mitchell and Eagle and end up in Little Pine.

The following four attachments contain detailed information about the proposed pipeline and will provide information to provide comments for both permits and any general comments.

  1. Friends of the Headwaters (FOH) information letter dated 1 October 2019. This attachment has some interesting comments from the attorney representing FOH.
  2. A slide presentation from the Friends of the Headwaters. Ten-fifteen slides that were used for presentations on the proposed pipeline.
  3. A letter from WAPOA to the Corps of Engineers dated 21 February 2019. Provides detailed information regarding both required permits.
  4. Reasons to fight the Enbridge Pipeline – Their history of irresponsibility.

Crow Wing County AIS Meeting January 3, 2020
Submitted By Ken Neihart – Posted January 8, 2020

Following is a brief summary of the county AIS meeting:
There were approximately 30-35 people from the following organizations, associations, etc.
  •  Corp Of Engineers (Crosslake)
  •  MN DNR
  •  CW County – 2 county commissioners and people from the Land Services Department.
  •  Many people representing many lake associations
Nicole Erickson, the CW County AIS Coordinator, made a presentation on the proposed 2020 County AIS Plan and commented on the following:
  1.  County is adding a mobile decontamination unit.
  2.  42 landings out of 135 landings in the county will be staffed from state funds.
  3.  State funds will be used for decontamination stations, Education & Awareness, Milfoil Treatment and Veliger testing. In addition 10 uninfected lakes will be tested for Spiny Waterfleas with state funds.
  4. The county will conduct two training sessions for inspectors in addition to the first required training the being of the year.
  5.  The county is hiring a weed inspector.
  6.  $8,600.00 of state funds will be sent to The Mississippi Headwaters for media presentations on AIS.
  7.  There was no new report of AIS infection of any waterbody in the county in 2019
The DNR representatives announced two grants that will be available this year (details to follow). The two grants are for:
  1.  A grant for treatment of Eurasian Milfoil. $580,000.00 will be available in this grant.
  2.  A grant that will be available to local units of government (LUG) to start a Community-Based Social Marketing Program. A total of $60,000.00 will be available in this grant.
The following items were mentioned in a comment, question and answer session:
  1.  The county is looking at maybe changing the policy of 60% to approve and form a LID. Currently there are 8 LID’s in the county.
  2. The question of the $58,864.00 salary for county staff coordination out of state funds was asked. In the 2020 plan an Environmental Services Specialist position (salary and benefits) is listed.
  3.  A comment was made that the county should be staffing more than 42 landings. ( 53 water bodies in the county are infected with zebra mussels.according to list from the MN DNR dated 1 April 2019).
  4.  Salaries and Administration should reflect the percent proposed in the 2020 Proposed Budget Pie Graft. Not the 80% that is listed for Watercraft Inspections.
  5.  LARA will pay for anyone that is interested in attending the MAISRC Detector Training.
The 2020 AIS prevention plan can be viewed and comments may be submitted on the County website at www.crowwing.us/ais. Written comments on the plan will be accepted until Saturday January 18th, 2020 at 5:00pm and may be submitted to Crow Wing County at landservices@crowwing.us or mailed to 322 Laurel Street, Suite 15 Brainerd, MN 56401, Attn: AIS Prevention Plan Comment.

2020 FLPOA Board Meeting Schedule
Submitted By Bob Stancer – Posted January 8, 2020

All are welcome. Please call in by Freeconferencecall.com Phone 605-313-4118 ID 829749 or join us in person where available.

  • Saturday March 14, 2020 (8:30–11:30 Via Conference Call)
  • TBD, 2020 (Annual Meeting Picnic at Fifty Lakes Pavilion/Picnic 11:00-2:00 & Meeting 12:30-1:30)
  • Saturday June 27, 2020 (Fifty Lakes Day, Meeting & Booth Setup 9:00-10:30, Booth Open Until 3:00)
  • Saturday October 24, 2020 (8:30-11:30 at Fifty Lakes Community Center & Conference Call)

Letter from the FLPOA President, Bob Stancer
Submitted By Bob Stancer – Posted January 1, 2020

As we close out the 2019 season with snow on the ground and more wet snow coming down and sticking to the tree branches, I can’t help think of how much enjoyment many families had at the lake this last summer. We found the crappie fishing was good in January and in July, our grandson learned how to waterski. Lake living can be so enjoyable, especially when you have AIS clean lakes like we have in Fifty Lakes.

AIS & Landing Coverage
Your board works hard with the Crow Wing County to make sure we have boat inspectors at our landings during peak boating activity. A good portion of our membership budget is spent each year to hire inspectors for the landings that the County is not covering. See results of these efforts below.

Watercraft Numbers at Four DNR Landings in Fifty Lakes
Numbers Taken from DNR Data Through September 15, 2019

Landing WC Totals Total Inspector Hours WC/Hour
Eagle 104 152 0.68
East Fox 373 300 1.25
Kego 241 212 1.14
Mitchell 280 224 1.25
Totals 998 888 1.12 Average/Hour

We also do invasive plant inspections at the public landings and in July we test each lake for Zebra mussels by dragging a fine plankton net looking for small Zebra mussel veligers. The samples are sent to RMB labs for viewing under a microscope. I am happy to say that our lakes were clean of Zebra mussel veligers again this year. We hope to keep it this way with education and inspections again in 2020. See the current list of infested waters.

The current County AIS plan for 2020 is based on boat traffic at each landing from the 2017 through the 2019 season, and as a result, East Fox will get 300 inspector hours paid by the County. So, again in 2020, FLPOA will be responsible for scheduling and paying for inspectors at Kego, Eagle, and Mitchell Lake public landings. FLPOA paid for a total of 608 inspection hours May 10th through October 5th, totaling $9,959.04 (608 hrs. x $16.38).

Below, see the latest DNR map of infested waters in our area below. This is why it is so important to have inspectors at our public boat landings.

Our current membership is 207, and the board thanks all members for paying their dues and for the additional contributions we received from many members. Without your contributions we would not be able to keep inspectors at our public boat landings.

Visit the FLPOA Website
Please visit the FLPOA Web site, and let us know if you have any material you would like to add. 

We are excited for all the things we will accomplish together in 2020.

2020 Crow Wing County AIS Prevention Plan 
Submitted by Jim Schultz – Posted January 1, 2020

You are encouraged to attend a Crow Wing County hosted 2020 Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) prevention plan presentation and gathering session on Friday January 3rd starting at 9:00 am, located at the Land Services Building, lower level meeting room #1, in Brainerd. Topics that will be discussed as a group include watercraft inspections, decontaminations, education & awareness, milfoil treatments, and early AIS detection.

The 2020 Crow Wing County AIS Prevention Plan is out for public comment for 30 days till Saturday January 18th at 5:00pm. Click here to view Crow Wing County’s Press Release briefly explaining the 2020 AIS Prevention Plan and information on how to submit comments.

Santa and His Elf Visit Fifty Lakes 
Submitted by Bob Stancer – Posted January 1, 2020

FLPOA again hosted the Santa event this year at City Hall with Santa giving each visiting child a gift. We had 16 children attend the event, and seeing their excited faces and offering the opportunity for parents to take photos with Santa, made putting on the event very worthwhile. We have plenty of gifts and decorations to do it again in 2020.

Impacts of AIS on Walleye
Provided by MAISRC and Carrie Bell

What happens to walleye when zebra mussels or spiny waterfleas invade? Learn more about a project designed by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) to better determine the impact Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) has on walleye and their food sources, by watching the video below.

Submit Comments on the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project by May 17th 
Submitted by Ken Neihart & WAPOA – May 11, 2019

The MN. DNR is accepting comments on the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project. Comments are due by 4:30 p.m. on May 17, 2019. The comments can be submitted by mail or on-line.

To submit on-line go to: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/line3/index.html
To submit by mail: Department of Natural Resources
Attn: Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Application
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN. 55155

General Information:

  1. Enbridge currently has 6 pipeline lines that cross Minnesota. Line 3 is one of thosepipelines and has been in the ground for over 50 years. This is the line Enbridge is proposing to replace.
  2. The DNR needs to grant permits/licenses for the construction of the new line. A summary of the required DNR permits/licenses can be found at mndnr.gov/line3.
  3. Some other governmental agencies that are involved in the approval process are the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Both the MPCA and ACOE will need to approve licenses and/or permits for the replacement pipeline.
  4. Enbridge has already received a Conditional Needs Permit and a Route Permit from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and these permits are being challenged by many other agencies and environmental groups.
  5. The proposed route for the replacement line 3 follows an established Enbridge pipeline corridor to Clearbrook , MN and then travels south in a completely new route that contains no other pipelines. This new route enters a pristine environment that contains numerous lakes, wetlands and forests. This new pipeline route would have a negative impact on the existing hydrology, plant communities and wildlife. It crosses many rivers, streams, swamps, bogs and many wild rice beds.
  6. In Cass County the new pipeline route would run, in a power line corridor, approximately 6 – 10 miles north of the City of Fifty Lakes and just south of the Lake Washburn Road. This pipeline route crosses Daggett Brook. Daggett Brook flows south from Lake Washburn and passes through Lake Mitchell and Eagle Lake and then into Little Pine Lake which is on the Whitefish Chain. An oil spill into Daggett Brook could find it’s way to these three lakes.


The following 4 references will provide more detailed information than what is contained in the General Information above.

  1. In the April 23, 2019 edition of the “Northland Press” there is an article titled “Friends of the Headwaters Taking the PUC to the Court of Appeals”. This article contains current information and and a summary of events and actions that have occurred with the replacement pipeline process since 2013.
  2. The Friends of the Headwaters website also contains information on the events and actions of the process since 2013.
  3. The third reference is a letter that was sent to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) From the Whitefish Property Owners Association (WAPOA) in February 2019. The author of the letter was Tom Watson. The letter provides detailed information on the following topics tourism/travel, water quality, watersheds, property values (especially seasonal properties), Enbridge’s spill record (over 800 spills in 12 years) and other topics that relate to the pipeline.
  4. MN. DNR website. Mndnr.gov/line3

Please consider taking some time to submit some comments to the DNR by May 17, 2019.

Comments should relate to the permits the DNR are responsible for but there is no reason to not make comments that reflect your opinion or feelings about not having an oil pipeline 6 – 10 miles north of Fifty Lakes. One oil spill north of the city could cause some real problems for our environment on both the land and in the water.

Some other things to think about:

  • 80% plus of the oil in the pipeline will end up in refineries in Canada, the East Coast or the Gulf Coast of the United States.
  • Is there a need for this pipeline? With the move towards a carbon-free environment and the increased development of renewable energy the need for oil should be decreasing.
  • In 2017 a consultant for the Minnesota Department of Commerce said we don’t need the replacement pipeline, there is enough crude oil in the system to satisfy the need.
  • No need for a new pipeline through a pristine and ecological sensitive environment.

Thank You for FLPOA Dues and Donations!
Submitted by Fred Strohmeier – May 11, 2019

FLPOA acts as a voice for concerns about the quality of our land and lakes through monitoring the activities of the city and county and through working with other property and lake associations in the area.  FLPOA also provides information to members on issues that are central to the DNR. With your dues and generous donations, we are able to continue these efforts. Thank you for your kind and generous support in helping us protect the land and the lakes that we love!

Phragmites in Minnesota
Submitted by Carrie Bell & MAISRC – May 11, 2019

Invasive Phragmites (Phragmites australis subsp. australis) is a non-native wetland grass that can degrade fish and wildlife habitat, native plant diversity, and impede access to lakes and riverways. Over the past two years, researchers at the University of Minnesota have been investigating the distribution of invasive Phragmites in the state. The MNPhrag project has documented 389 populations statewide through targeted staff surveillance and reports by community members and agency staff. Invasive Phragmites is most common in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, Chisago and Wright counties, and around the city of Duluth, and most populations appear to be of manageable size. These findings suggest there is a window of opportunity to reverse invasive Phragmites spread in Minnesota by mobilizing a strategic, coordinated response across the landscape.

Researchers from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are hosting a webinar to present on and discuss the status of invasive Phragmites in Minnesota, as well as strategies for response. There will also be time for questions.

When: Wednesday, May 22 | 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Registration: Free! Click here to sign up 

Researchers recently developed an assessment of capacity and possible strategies to support such an effort. The assessment will be available here on our website after May 15th. We look forward to hearing your questions and comments during the discussion! The webinar will be recorded and available for later viewing. Register here!

Save the Date for the Annual FLPOA Picnic & Meeting on May 25th
Submitted by Bob Stancer – May 11, 2019

Please join us for the FLPOA Picnic & Annual Meeting on Saturday May 25, 2019, from 11:00am to 2:00pm, rain or shine. The picnic will be held at the Fifty Lakes Pavilion, and we are grilling, serving some delicious sides, and water and lemonade. Everyone attending is able to purchase adult beverages at the Fifty Lakes Bar if they so desire. We have FLPOA T-Shirts for sale, as well as information about current FLPOA events and activities. This is a family-friendly event, and please bring new friends and neighbors along to learn about FLPOA and to share in this fun community gathering.

Volunteers are needed to help pick up supplies, set-up before the picnic, or take-down after the picnic. If you can lend a hand, please send an email to flpoamn@gmail.com.

We hope to see you there!

Become an AIS Detector
Submitted by Carrie Bell & MAISRC – May 11, 2019

As the threat of AIS continues to grow across Minnesota, there is a need for an organized statewide surveillance network of trained volunteers ready to make a difference. In partnership with University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) is working to fill that need through the AIS Detectors program. This program provides participants with high-quality training, developed and reviewed by AIS experts. Participants learn principles of basic aquatic ecology, AIS identification, impacts, and biology, Minnesota rules and regulations, preventing the spread of AIS, and reporting. Upon completing the training, participants are equipped to volunteer around the state and make a difference in the areas of citizen science, outreach and education, stewardship, and support of AIS programs. Training is offered each spring so that material is fresh for new volunteers as the summer season begins. Registration is now open, so click on the link below to learn more and to join a training session.


Spring Burning Restrictions Begin in Minnesota
Submitted by Bob Stancer – April 30, 2019

Warm temperatures and dry conditions mean increased wildfire risk, so the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restrict open burning in the following counties effective as of April 23rd: Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Douglas, Grant, Hennepin, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Pope, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, Washington, and Wright. The state will not issue burning permits for brush or yard waste in these counties until restrictions are lifted. Check the current status of restrictions in Minnesota and your county here.

“Escaped debris burns are the number one cause of wildfires, so that’s why we issue these restrictions,” said Casey McCoy, DNR fire prevention supervisor. “They really work—we’ve reduced wildfires by nearly a third since we started spring burning restrictions in 2001.”

McCoy encourages residents to use alternatives to burning, such as composting, chipping, or taking brush to a collection site. For information on how to compost yard debris, visit the DNR’s guide to composting yard debris. People who burn debris will be held financially responsible if their fire escapes and burns other property.

Burning restrictions will be adjusted, including extension of restrictions to additional counties, as conditions change. For information and daily updates on current fire risk and open burning restrictions, visit the Minnesota DNR website.

FLPOA Picnic & Annual Meeting on May 25th
Submitted by Bob Stancer – April 9, 2019

Please join us for the FLPOA Picnic & Annual Meeting on Saturday May 25, 2019, from 11:00am to 2:00pm, rain or shine. The picnic will be held at the Fifty Lakes Pavilion, and we are grilling, serving some delicious sides, and water and lemonade. Everyone attending is able to purchase adult beverages at the Fifty Lakes Bar if they so desire. We have FLPOA T-Shirts for sale, as well as information about current FLPOA events and activities.

Volunteers are needed to help pick up supplies, set-up before the picnic, or take-down after the picnic. If you can lend a hand, please send an email to flpoamn@gmail.com.

We hope to see you there!

Invitation to the 5th Annual AIS Roundtable
Submitted by Ken Neihart & WAPOA – April 9, 2019

Do you want the Latest on Non-Native AIS, How AIS Might Be Affecting Your Lake and Sport Fish, or about watercraft water transporting veligers?  

The Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) will host the fifth annual AIS Roundtable program Saturday, May 4 from 8:00AM to noon.  We want to “kick-off” the season “at the lake” with this educational and informational program.

We invite our members, area lake association members, local government officials, neighbors, students and all interested persons to attend this “no-fee” event.

We are pleased to have a program featuring Dr. Nick Phelps, Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Minnesota AIS Research Center (MAISRC), who will provide an annual report on AIS research accomplishments and plans.  MAISRC research is the long-term key to controlling and preventing non-native AIS in our lakes.  He will also report on the initial research started two years ago on the impacts of zebra mussels and spiny waterfleas on walleye and sport fish.

We are also pleased to have Wesley Glisson, senior researcher at MAISRC, to provide valuable information about starry stonewort and hybrid milfoil, newer AIS plant species found in Hubbard, Stearns and Beltrami Counties.  Lake Koronis’ experience with the impacts of starry stonewort has had publicity in recent years.  Wes will be addressing the research in the Dr. Dan Larkin Lab at MAISRC on these aquatic plant matters.

Adam Doll, the DNR Watercraft Inspection Coordinator, will present his recently completed Master’s Degree thesis on the effect of residual water in watercraft for transporting zebra mussel veligers and new initiatives with the boating industry on watercraft design.

Other program items include a report on watercraft inspection program and plans, Crow Wing County AIS Plan, Starry Trek, AIS Detector or AIS Tracker programs, and important volunteer opportunities with MAISRC and DNR. For more than fifty (50) years, WAPOA has served an important mission of strong advocacy for actions to sustain and improve quality surface and ground water in the Whitefish Area and the Pine River Watershed.

If you are interested in non-native AIS plans, impacts of AIS on walleyes, or learning more about starry stonewort and hybrid milfoil, you should attend this event. The 2019 AIS Roundtable will be held Saturday morning, May 4 from 8:45AM to noon, at the Ideal Community Center, 35458 Butternut Point Rd, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472.  The coffee will be ready by 8:00AM, along with some treats, and time for meeting and greeting other attendees. The program will commence at 8:45AM.

March 9th FLPOA Meeting Agenda & Minutes
Submitted by Ken Neihart – April 9, 2019

A FLPOA conference-call meeting was held on Saturday, March 9th at 8:30am. Please click below to view the agenda and meeting minutes. The next meeting is Saturday, May 25th for the Annual All Member Picnic, so save the date!

FLPOA Meeting Agenda March 9, 2019
FLPOA Meeting Minutes March 9, 2019

2019 Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program Newsletter
Submitted by Bob Stancer – April 9, 2019

This newsletter summarizes the aquatic invasive species (AIS) programs and activities that the FLPOA is participating in through 2019.

View the 2019 AIS Newsletter

Preventing the Spread of the Spiny Waterflea
Submitted by Carrie Bell & Created by MAISRC – April 9, 2019

How do spiny waterflea stick to different types of angling gear? Researchers at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) are working to find out.  The goal is to educate anglers on which gear they need to clean the most. Watch the video or learn more at: https://www.maisrc.umn.edu/swf-spread

Pine River One Watershed One Plan (1W1P) Request for Comments
Submitted by Ken Neihart – April 9, 2019

According to Jake Frie, Crow Wing County Environmental Services Supervisor, “The One Watershed One Plan (1W1P) is a new state-wide program. The main goal is to align water planning along watershed boundaries and enhance the existing county water plans. A watershed is an area of land where all of the water drains off and collects into the same place.” Facts about the Pine River Watershed:
• Supplies 15 million people with clean drinking water (St. Cloud to Illinois)
• Includes over 500 lakes
• Primary towns include: Backus, Pine River, Breezy Point, and Crosslake
• Includes parts of Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, and Hubbard Counties

For more information and to see maps for the Pine River One Watershed One Plan visit: www.crowwing.us/1w1p. Written comments on the plan will be accepted until Monday, May 6, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Comments can be e-mailed to landservices@crowwing.us or mailed to:  322 Laurel Street Suite 15, Brainerd, MN 56401.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Santa will be in his workshop and his Elves will invite families to take their own, personal pictures with Santa, so bring your camera!  And, all children will receive a ticket for a door prize drawing held on December 22nd, at 6:00pm. (Need not be present to win.)

Where: Fifty Lakes City Parking Lot
When: Friday, December 14th & Saturday, December 15th
Friday, December 21st & Saturday, December 22nd
Time:  4pm to 6pm

Sponsored By: Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA), Fifty Lakes Bar and Bottle Shop, Ace Hardware Crosslake, Bill Mitchell, Reed’s Market Crosslake, Ace Hardware Emily, Frandsen Bank, Blackridge Bank, Dollar General, Dairy Queen, Moonlight Bay, Moonlight Square, Judy’s House of Gifts, Pine Peaks, Whitefish Lodge, Ole Olson, Brenda Brittan, Lake Country Foods, Sweets N Such, Crosslake Drug, Emily Meats, Lake Country Crafts & Cones, and Raph Construction.

Santa and his workshop!

Inside Santa’s Workshop

Santa’s Workshop FLPOA Helpers!

MAISRC Showcase
Submitted by Bob Stancer – November 1, 2018

For the past five years, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) has held a showcase in early September on the University of St. Paul Campus, to present information on various projects they are working on. I attended the past three years, and have found the information very interesting. The cost to attend is around $40 and includes beverages and eats during the morning registration time and a very good buffet lunch. The past two years, they also have held a social hour with wine, beer and snacks as a number of graduate students show the projects they are working on. This year there were about 200 attendees.

Click here to take a look at the 2018 breakout sessions to see how they are organized and how they repeat throughout the day so you are able to attend all sessions if you so desire. Presentations from the sessions are also available for you see by clicking here.

The MAISRC Showcase is announced around August 1st, and is held in early September. I encourage anyone interested to attend in 2019.

October 20th FLPOA Meeting Agenda & Minutes
Submitted by Ken Neihart & Bob Stancer – November 1, 2018

A well attended FLPOA meeting was held on Saturday, October 20th at the Fifty Lakes Community Room. Please click below to view the agenda and meeting minutes. The next scheduled meeting is March 2, 2019, and everyone is welcome!

FLPOA Meeting Agenda October 20, 2018
FLPOA Meeting Minutes October 20, 2018

Fifty Lakes Engages County Over Logging 
Submitted by Mike Prouty – November 1, 2018

Tax deferred land represents over 40 percent of the entire area of the City of Fifty Lakes. Logging is an accepted fact of life in Minnesota’s north country. It is not only economically important, but it can also lead to healthier forests.

However, harvesting timberland within the city of Fifty Lakes, which is overseen by the Crow Wing County land services department, can have a direct bearing on the quality of life in our area. The number and extent of timber sales, harvest unit location, haul routes, and how well other resources are protected, such as scenic quality, recreation values, and water quality protection is critical.

So, it’s a big deal that Fifty Lakes property owners have noticed an increase in Crow Wing logging activity in the area this past year. Concerns over the extent of logging, logging practices, and lack of communication with the County prompted the Fifty Lakes City Council to reinstate a Forestry Committee this past year.

Forestry committee members include Les Degner (Chair), Mike Prouty, Fred Strohmeier, and Tom Steffens. With Forestry Committee input, the Fifty Lakes Mayor sent a letter in early summer to the Crow Wing County Land Services Director expressing the city’s concern over timber harvesting in our area.

The letter prompted an August field visit by Gary Griffin, Crown Wing County Land Services Director and Ryan Simonson, Crow Wing County Environmental Services Supervisor. Griffin and Simonson met with the Fifty Lakes Forestry Committee members and Fifty Lakes council member, Mark Bradley, to review and discuss harvest units of a sale along the Kego Lake Road. During that visit, no changes in the harvest units were agreed to by County Officials to protect visual quality along the Kego Lake Road, nor to address Kego Lake property owners’ concerns. However, the county personnel did agree to present and discuss County timber harvest plans at a future Fifty Lakes Council meeting. The sale had been sold before the field visit, and soon after, cutting commenced.

The meeting that was agreed to during that field visit between the Fifty Lakes City Council and Griffin and Simonson took place October 9th. It was open to the public and it was a standing room only crowd. Attendees were very engaged, but respectful. After a County presentation of its future timber sale program, Les Degner confronted Griffin and Simonson about logging practices on the Kego Lake Road that he believed violated County and State Guidelines. Degner indicated the City would take steps to have an unbiased professional review of practices like slash disposal and leave tree selection. Mike Prouty emphasized the need for the County to involve the City of Fifty Lakes in future timber sales long before they are auctioned and sold. Prouty stated that the County should be open to the possibility of making changes in sale design and layout based on comments from Fifty Lakes staff. Mark Murphy, a property owner from Eagle Lake, expressed concerns about a proposed timber sale north of Eagle Lake. He also questioned whether the County is adjusting their timber sales in an area northwest of Mitchell Lake in recognition of the impact of timber harvesting on water quality.

Both the City of Fifty Lakes and Crow Wing county have agreed to continue to meet to help improve trust and understanding related to its timber harvesting program. We’ll keep you up to date as work continues on this issue.

2018 Watercraft Inspection Summary for Fifty Lakes
Submitted by Ken Neihart – November 1, 2018

Data was collected from the Minnesota DNR website for AIS Inspections conducted in 2018, and the summary includes the days of the week and the number of watercraft that used that landing each day. It also includes the number of days an AIS inspector was at each landing.

Click here to view the 2018 Watercraft Inspection Summary

What is Starry Stonewart?
Submitted by Bob Stancer – November 1, 2018

Starry Stonewort is Minnesota’s newest aquatic invader. Hear from researchers at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) about what’s known, what’s unknown, and what we’re doing about it.

Friends and Members of FLPOA
Submitted by Bill Leadens – November 1, 2018

This summer, Ken Neihart, Bob Stancer and I spent a little time meeting many of you on East and West Fox Lakes.  It was absolutely wonderful seeing so many contributions in money and deed that our members participate in.

We had a wonderful time meeting with Karen Langer of East Fox Lake, who introduced Ken and me to their family guest house. Both Ken and I were so impressed with Karen and her husband, Mike’s, cabin built in 1925, that Karen allowed me to take a couple of pictures to share.  The Langers are a wonderful example of the caring and amazing people who live here. This simple, rustic and beautiful cabin still stands today because of their love and respect for the past, in my estimation.  Some say it might be the oldest cabin still standing on East Fox. We also had the pleasure of meeting Karen’s neighbors Tom, Dennis and Connie, people who couldn’t be more kind and interesting to chat with.  We look forward to meeting more new friends and FLPOA members next summer!

The Langer’s rustic guest house built in 1925.

AIS Detector Volunteer Project 
Submitted by Bob Stancer – November 1, 2018

I worked at the Spring Park boat ramp with Chris Anderson testing the effectiveness of the CD3 decontamination station installed at this site. We used an 18’ aluminum fishing boat with livewell and bilge area.

We launched the boat then Chris used a measured amount of water, from the lake, and dumped it into the livewell and the bilge area. He put 7.5L (2 gallons) into the livewell and 15L (4 gallons into the bilge area). We then put the boat on the trailer and pulled it out of the water far enough to pull the plugs on the bilge and livewell and to capture and measure the water that drained out. We then pulled the boat up to the CD3 unit, and using the vacuum, we removed as much water as we could. Once this was done, we backed the boat back down to the ramp, so it was at an angle, and then Chris used a syringe pump to draw out and measure the residual water. In most of the tests he measured about 260 to 280 ML (around 8 to 10oz) of water from the bilge area and nothing from the livewell.

This testing was being done to determine the effectiveness of the vacuum removal of water and what improvements could be made to the CD3 station.

  • The 2 minute run time of the vacuum is too short. We needed at least 6 minutes to get most of the water out, and unless you have 2 people, you have to get out of the boat and push the button to get another 2 minutes of run time.
  • The hose and nozzle are too large to get into the confined area of the bilge. Need to add an adapter or change the hose and nozzle to a smaller size.

While we were at the ramp, the DNR was there with their decontamination station, and we found out that marinas that have invested money into their own decontamination equipment, do not need to be cleaned by the DNR station. They report to the station and get entered into the system and then get a receipt that shows they have an agreement with the DNR to transport the boat to their facility for cleaning.

Boat at CD3 Station CD3 Station

Boat in Water


Zebra mussels and muck on boat transom from being in lake all summer.

Fifty Lakes Trophic State Index
Submitted by Fred Strohmeier – November 1, 2018

The Trophic State Index (TSI) number combines measurements of water clearness (visibility) with a secchi disc, amount of phosphorus, and chlorophyll-a. The TSI number closely correlates with the amount of algae growing in the water.

A higher TSI (unfavorable) means more algae in the water. Water with a high TSI may be unsuitable for swimming, clogged with plants, and supportive of rough fish. For every 1 point increase in the TSI, there is a 10% increase in algae in the water. Currently, the cleanest lakes in Fifty Lakes have a TSI of 36 to 39, while lakes at the other end of the scale have a 48 to 50+ rating.

Lake Name Observations Secchi Average TSI
Eagle (East) 9 9 49
Eagle (Main) 9 9.7 47.1
Eagle (West) 9 10.6 46.4
East Fox 6 16.1 40
West Fox 9 15.8 39.2
Kego 10 9.4 47.9
Mitchell 8 8.1 48.3
Butterfield 9 14.3 47

See the 2017 Average TSI Map for the Fifty Lakes area.

2018-2019 FLPOA Meeting Schedule
Submitted by Bob Stancer – September 1, 2018

Please join us for FLPOA Board meetings. Everyone is welcome!

• Saturday October 20, 2018 – Fall Meeting 8:30am-11:30am
• Saturday March 2, 2019 – Winter Meeting 8:30am-11:30am
• Saturday May 25, 2019 – Spring Family Picnic & Meeting
11:00am-2:00pm (Annual Board Meeting 12:30pm-1:30pm)

• Saturday June 29, 2019 – Fifty Lakes Day Booth 11:00am-3:00pm &
Meeting 9:00am-10:30am
• Saturday October 26, 2019 – Fall Meeting 8:30am-11:30am

All meetings are held at the Fifty Lakes Community Center if available, with the exception of the May 25th picnic meeting, held at the Fifty Lakes Pavilion, and the June 29th meeting, held at our at Fifty Lakes Day booth.

Purple Loosestrife Pulled from Mitchell Lake
Submitted by Ken Neihart and Dianne Bell – September 1, 2018

Over the last few weeks, Purple Loosestrife has been blooming on Mitchell Lake. So, in an effort to eradicate the invasive plant, it was time to harvest. The plant population is down from last year, so great thanks go to the volunteers who removed plants last season. You made a difference!

This year, Dan Wright of Mitchell Lake, was kind enough to distribute Purple Loosestrife pamphlets to property owners that have the plant growing on their shoreline. And, more Mitchell Lake property owners rolled up their sleeves, and got to work pulling the plant. Thanks to Jakob and Luke Eenigenburg and their friend, Axel, for working on a patch of Purple Loosestrife at the public access!

Pictured Above: Top Left Jakob Eenigenburg, Top Right Luke Eenigenburg, Bottom Left Pulled Purple Loosestrife plant, Bottom Right, friend, Axel.

If you spot Purple Loosestrife here are tips to remove and dispose of it:

  1. Remove the entire plant, including the roots.
  2. If you cannot remove the entire plant with the roots, the next best thing is to remove the flowers before they go to seed. (Each mature plant can produce a million plus seeds.)
  3. Collected plants and/or flowers should be burned, or if the flowers have gone to seed, the plants should be placed in the garbage.

Please share this information with your neighbors and don’t be shy about stepping in to help remove this plant.

Are We Winning the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Battle?
Submitted by Bob Stancer – September 1, 2018

Money, time, and effort are all focused on the war against AIS, but does it make a difference? See the MPR News article by Dan Gunderson titled, “$10M question: Are counties’ efforts to fight aquatic invasives working?“, and tell us what you think. Send us an email with your thoughts at flpoamn@gmail.com.

Retired in Fifty Lakes, but Willing to Make Friends Anywhere
Submitted by Bill Leadens – September 1, 2018

There is no doubt that the folks in Fifty Lakes, Minnesota live full and unique lives. Ride along with Fifty Lakes resident, Bill Leadens, as he travels to Alaska!

Infested Waters List
Story Idea Submitted by Bob Stancer – September 1, 2018

How many Minnesota lakes and rivers are listed as infested with Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)?  Less than 7% of Minnesota’s more than 11,000 lakes are on the infested waters list. Less than 3% of Minnesota lakes are listed as infested with zebra mussels. As of January 2018, we have confirmed zebra mussels in 150 lakes and wetlands. We have listed 155 bodies of water as infested with zebra mussels because they are closely connected to a waterway where zebra mussels have been found.

Which bodies of water are included on the infested waters list?
You can view an interactive map of most infested waters  on the EDDMapS Midwest website.

What can I do to help?
You can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. Take three steps every time you leave a lake or river – whether or not it’s infested:

  • Clean all aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other invasive species from boats, trailers, and water-related equipment.
  • Drain water from your boat, ballast tanks, motor, live well and bait container. Remove drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting equipment.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. To keep live bait, drain the water and refill the bait container with bottled or tap water.

Do I Need a Permit?
Submitted by Bob Stancer – September 1, 2018

Owning a cabin or home in this wonderful north country can sometimes require updates. So, when it is time to change or add something to your property, how do you know who to contact regarding activities that require permits?

Basically any property modifications that are not in the water are regulated by the City of Fifty Lakes.  Click to view the City of Fifty Lakes Land Use Ordinance. You can also view permit and license forms at the City of Fifty Lakes Government web site.

Any activity in the water falls under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Please click here to see information regarding aquatic plant management.  And, for all other water/shoreland related permits, click here.


Subpart 1. Actions not requiring an APM or commercial harvest permit. A person may conduct the activities listed in items A to H without an APM or commercial harvest permit, subject to restrictions in part 6280.0350, subpart 3. A person conducting activities under item C, E, F, or H must be an owner, lessee, or easement holder of land adjacent to the water where the activity is occurring or an agent of the owner, lessee, or easement holder:

A. cutting or pulling aquatic plants for the purpose of constructing shooting or observation blinds in amounts sufficient for those purposes;
B. harvesting aquatic plants or plant parts for personal use only;
C. except as provided for automated aquatic plant control devices in subpart 2, item D. mechanical control of submersed aquatic plants to maintain a site for swimming or boat docking not to extend along more than 50 feet or one-half the length of the owner’s total shoreline, whichever is less, and not to exceed 2,500 square feet plus the area needed to extend a channel no wider than 15 feet to open water, provided the channel is included in the maximum shoreline feet allowed;
E. mechanical control of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria);
F. skimming duckweed or filamentous algae off the surface of a water body;
G. mechanical or pesticide control of aquatic plants done as part of public road or utility crossing right-of-way maintenance by authorized government units or utility companies; and
H. mechanical control of floating-leaf aquatic plants to obtain a channel extending to open water, provided that:

  1. the channel is no more than 15 feet wide and takes the most direct route to open water;
  2. the channel is maintained by cutting or pulling; and
  3. the channel remains in the same location from year to year.

For shoreline erosion control and or restoration, a good resource is Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District at https://crowwingswcd.org/ or 218-828-6197.

Update on Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Route Activity

Submitted by Ken Neihart – August 1, 2018

In June 2018 the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the following:

• A condition of need permit to Enbridge by a 5 to 0 vote.

• Approved the applicants preferred route by a 3 to 2 vote.

Three or four groups that opposed the pipeline are considering legal action in the form of law suits, which challenge the pipeline approval process as well as some of the documents that were developed for the approval process.

Enbridge also needs to obtain approximately 30 permits from various governmental agencies to cross roads and water bodies along the applicants preferred route.

According to a Star Tribute article from July 28th, an archeological survey is also underway for the Line 3 pipeline route. It is the largest of its kind in Minnesota.

View the Star Tribune Article

Water Sample Testing in Fifty Lakes

Submitted by Bob Stancer – August 1, 2018

Water samples are collected and then delivered to the WAPOA Water Testing Director, Fred Strohmeier, for recording. Then, the samples are sent to RMB Labs for analysis. Samples are taken once each month May-September, and then Secchi Disc, Chlorophyll-a, and Phosphorus readings are averaged to get the TSI (Trophic State Index). Results are used to create the colored water quality map you see below.

Left: Bob Stancer taking water clarity reading with a Secchi disc. Right: Ken Neihart recording test data.

Left: Water sample collecting tool. Right: Bill Leadens taking a water sample.

FLPOA Meeting Minutes 

Submitted by Ken Neihart – August 1, 2018

In addition to hosting an information tent at the Fifty Lakes Day celebration on June 30th, FLPOA Board Members also held a meeting.

View FLPOA Meeting Minutes from June 30, 2018

Attend the 2018 AIS Research and Management Showcase

Submitted by Bob Stancer – August 1, 2018

Join the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) at the St. Paul University of Minnesota campus on Wednesday, September 12th, from 8am to 5pm, for a selection of talks about the latest MAISRC research on starry stonewort, zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, invasive carp, and much more. Interact with faculty over lunch, get an inside-peek into our newly renovated lab, hear from MAISRC’s newest researchers who are launching projects this summer, and enjoy a poster session reception. This is the best opportunity to learn all about MAISRC’s research and the latest in AIS management recommendations. Admission is only $40, and you can learn more information and register here.

Crow Wing County Produces New Video
Story Idea Submitted by Dan Wright – August 1, 2018

Crow Wing County created wonderful instructional materials on how to protect the lakes and the land that we love. View the latest video by clicking below. Or, click here to learn how you can make a difference and how Crow Wing County is working to help.


FLPOA at Fifty Lakes Day June 30th

Located at the Fifty Lakes City Hall parking lot and pavilion, visit the FLPOA booth and other crafters and vendors on Saturday, June 30th, from 11am to 11pm, as we celebrate the City of Fifty Lakes! We will have FLPOA T-Shirts for sale, as well as information about AIS and the current boat inspection program run by Crow Wing County.

If you would like to lend a hand setting up the booth, we will be in the parking lot at 9:00am, and we are holding a short board meeting from 9:30am to 10:30am before the festivities begin. Everyone is welcome to attend, and we hope to see you there!

View the Meeting Agenda

Crow Wing County Lakes and Rivers Alliance (LARA) Newsletter

Submitted by Bob Stancer

Please take a look a look at the June edition of the Crow Wing County LARA newsletter to find more great information about activities and programs happening around us.

June Crow Wing County LARA June, 2018 Newsletter

FLPOA Family Picnic & Annual Meeting 

Submitted by Bill Leadens

On behalf of all of the FLPOA Board Members, we just want to say we had a great time as we hosted our Membership and Free Public Picnic on Memorial Day weekend! With the help of our Spouses, I think all of us could not be more pleased. Natural Casing Hot Dogs (from Tracy at Emily Meats) hot and slightly charred off the Weber, The Freshest Buns from Reeds, appropriate Condiments, and especially Jane Reierson’s donation of her families Bake Bean Recipe all washed down with the best Lemonade The Stancers could find, make me proud to be associated with this hard working group of volunteers.

We were able to use the City of Fifty Lakes Pavilion for free. The Muni invited everyone over for restroom and “other drink” services. Our new FLPOA cotton T-shirts arrived just in time for sale at our picnic. Finally, with such great food and facilities for the picnic, we board members conducted our monthly Board Meeting which of course was open to all members.

Lastly, just a personal note. As a FLPOA Board member, I sometimes watch in wonder as I see the other Board Members and other volunteers bring so much of their professional and personal life skills to bare as they oversee the many issues you, as donating members, intrust to them. It is my absolute pleasure to have such terrific neighbors here in the great little town of Fifty Lakes, Minnesota.

View Minutes from the Annual FLPOA 2018 Meeting

FLPOA Picnic & Annual Meeting on May 26th
Please join us for the FLPOA Picnic & Annual Meeting on Saturday May 26, 2018, from 11:00am to 2:00pm, rain or shine. The picnic will be held at the Fifty Lakes Pavilion, and we are serving hot dogs, potato chips, beans, cookies, bottled water and lemonade. Everyone attending is able to purchase adult beverages at the Fifty Lakes Bar if they so desire. We have FLPOA T-Shirts for sale, as well as information about AIS and the current boat inspection program run by Crow Wing County. We hope to see you there!

View the Meeting Agenda

Ask About Volunteer Opportunities at the Picnic

The association is looking for volunteers to help with the activities and programs listed below. Please ask us about these opportunities at the FLPOA picnic, or send us an email at flpoamn@gmail.com.

  1. Volunteer to be an AIS volunteer inspector at the public landings in the city.
  2. Volunteer to help remove purple loosestrife on Mitchell Lake.
  3. Consider a shoreline restoration project on your shoreline. (Check Out WAPOA’s Shoreline Restoration Competition.)
  4. Fisheries – read DNR studies for the lakes in the city and share information with association members.
  5. Join the Fifty lakes timber committee.
  6. Join the water quality testing crew on your lake.
  7. Volunteer to help with the AIS surveys or veliger testing on your lake.

Thanks for helping us protect the land and the lakes that we love!

Shoreline Restoration Contest
By Brian W. Olson
Have you been thinking about restoring all or a portion of your shoreline back to a natural state or creating a shoreland buffer to help improve our water quality? WAPOA (Whitefish Area Property Owners Association) encourages interested lakeshore owners on the 39 lakes (238 miles of shoreline) that WAPOA conducts water quality testing, who are interested in improving our water quality and shoreline wildlife habitat, to participate in the 9th Annual WAPOA Shoreland Restoration Contest.  This contest can provide you with expert advice, together with WAPOA contest funding, to help you complete your restoration project.  Contestants will compete for up to a potential awards totaling $25,000, which will be awarded to qualified projects at WAPOA’s discretion.

For details about contest meeting dates and qualification, please click here.

FLPOA 2018 Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program
Submitted by Bob Stancer – May 3, 2018

Click on the link below to learn about the FLPOA 2018 aquatic invasive species (AIS) programs and activities.

2018_FLPOA Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program

We Made It!
Submitted by Ken Neihart – May 1, 2018

Thank you for the positive response to the AIS and Membership Letters the FLPOA sent in March to all the property owners in the city. With this support the FPLOA is able to fund 500 hours for AIS watercraft inspectors at three watercraft landings that lost their funding this year. Eagle Lake, Kego Lake and Mitchell Lake are the three landings where these 500 hours will be used.

The East Fox Lake landing will have funding that is provided from state funds that are sent to Crow Wing County to administer. East Fox Lake was classified as a high-risk landing and Eagle Lake, Kego Lake and Mitchell Lake were either moderate or low risk landings. The classification was based mainly on watercraft or boat traffic at the landings over the past two years.

The FLPOA would like to thank all who made a donation for the AIS inspections!

FLPOA March Meeting Minutes
Submitted by Ken Neihart – May 1, 2018

View the March FLPOA Board meeting minutes by clicking on the link below.

FLPOA Meeting Minutes March 10, 2018

Join Us for the First Annual FLPOA Picnic
Submitted by Bob Stancer – May 1, 2018

Mark your calendar for the first Annual FLPOA Picnic on Saturday May 26, 2018, from 11:00am to 2:00pm, rain or shine. The picnic will be held at the Fifty Lakes Pavilion, and we will be serving hot dogs, potato chips, beans, cookies, bottled water and lemonade. Everyone attending will be able to purchase adult beverages at the Fifty Lakes Bar if they so desire. We will have FLPOA T-Shirts for sale, as well as information about AIS and the current boat inspection program run by Crow Wing County. We hope to see you there!

Enbridge Line 3 in the News
Submitted by Bob Stancer – May 1, 2018

Click below to view the Star Tribune article about Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly’s decision on the Enbridge Line 3 replacement.

View Star Tribune Article

FLPOA Membership Thank You
Submitted by Ken Neihart – May 1, 2018

The FLPOA Board would like to thank the 140 plus members who have renewed or are new members so far this year.  This is great! If you have a chance, please talk to your neighbors in the next couple of weeks and ask them to join. You can also share benefit information about FLPOA membership with this web page. https://minnesotawaters.org/fiftylakespropertyowners/membership/. Or, please click here to become a member or to renew your membership.

Thanks again to the 140 members who have already joined!

Minnesota Lake Associations: Who they are and what they do
Submitted By Ken Neihart – May 1, 2018

In 2017 Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota conducted a study of lake associations in Minnesota. The Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates and The Office of Undergraduate Research at Concordia College funded the study. This was a cross-disciplinary research project between psychology and biology to create a new understanding of lake associations in Minnesota. The following is a short summery and background of the study.

  • A survey was sent to 453 lake associations in Minnesota. 55% of the surveys were completed and returned.
  • The most important findings were the amount of money that was donated to the associations and the amount time that was donated to the associations by volunteers. Volunteers donated over $6.25 million dollars and over 1.2 million volunteer hours.
  • The top three concerns reported were aquatic invasive species (AIS), water quality and runoff from both agriculture and non-agriculture sources.
  • Key areas that were identified as areas that associations worked on the most were AIS, water quality, runoff and lake usage.
  • Top three challenges or issues that were identified were inadequate member participation, not being heard or taken serious by the DNR and aging population of lakeshore property owners.
  • Most lake associations were formed between 1960 and 1970 to preserve and protect the lakes.
  • Most lake associations have a membership between 100 and 400 members.

To see the complete report of the study, go to the home page of either: www.mnlakesandrivers.org or www.concordiacollege.edu/

Volunteer Opportunities
Submitted by Ken Neihart – May 1, 2018

The association would appreciate volunteers and help in the following:

  1. Most important thing to help and protect our lakes would be a donation to buy AIS inspector hours at our four public landings. (Donate Here.)
  2. Volunteer to be an AIS volunteer inspector at the public landings in the city.
  3. Volunteer to help remove purple loosestrife on Mitchell Lake.
  4. Consider a shoreline restoration project on your shoreline.
  5. Fisheries – read DNR studies for the lakes in the city and share information with association members.
  6. Join the Fifty lakes timber committee.
  7. Join the water quality testing crew on your lake.
  8. Volunteer to help with the AIS surveys or veliger testing on your lake.

If you can lend a hand, or would like more information, please email us at flpoamn@gmail.com.

Thanks for your support!

2018 Crow Wing County Aquatic Invasive Species Program – Posted December 24, 2017   Submitted by Bob Stancer and Ken Neihart

Below is a letter submitted to the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners regarding the proposed 2018 Crow Wing County AIS Plan. Please review the letter, and we strongly encourage you to send your own comments to all the County Commissioners (https://crowwing.us/65/County-Board) or to our County Commissioner, Doug Houge, by January 12, 2018. (doug.houge@crowwing.us)

December 21, 2017

Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners Historical Courthouse
Suite 13
326 Laurel St.
Brainerd, MN 56401

Regarding: Proposed 2018 Crow Wing County AIS Plan

Dear Board of Commissioners:

The Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA) would like to offer comments, suggestions and recommendations regarding the 2018 Crow Wing County Aquatic Invasive Species Plan.

The University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) has identified Crow Wing County as one of three areas in Minnesota as a “hot bed” for zebra mussels (ZM). Dr. Mike McCartney, a research scientist at the MAISRC, has been analyzing DNA from zebra mussels to determine the travel patterns of the mussels from one lake to another. He has discovered that more often, the spread of the mussels usually occurs from one small local lake to another small local lake.

The FLPOA Board is asking the county to reconsider the allocation of hours to the five lakes and four public watercraft landings in the City of Fifty Lakes. The 2018 CW County AIS Protection Plan allocates 300 hours to only one of the four landings in the city. The East Fox Lake landing would receive 300 hours and the other three landings would receive zero hours. The past two-years the city landings have received a total of 800 hours to cover the four landings. The landings on Eagle, Kego and Mitchell Lakes are the landings that haven’t been allocated any hours.

To date none of the five lakes in the city are infected with any AIS. But, DNR designated AIS infected lakes surround the entire City of Fifty Lakes:

  • 2 to 3 miles north of the city both Washburn and Roosevelt Lakes are infected with Eurasian
    Water Milfoil (EM).
  • 4 to 5 miles east of the city Emily and Ruth Lakes are infected with EM. Ruth Lake is also listed as being infected with zebra mussels (ZM).
  • 2 to 3 miles south and west of the city the entire Whitefish Chain of Lakes are infected with ZM.

This is one reason the FLPOA is requesting Crow Wing County to reconsider the allocation of AIS inspection hours to Fifty Lakes and add additional hours to cover the Eagle, Kego and Mitchell Lake landings. The MAISRC has said that landing inspections are one of the most important things that can be done to prevent the spread ofAIS.

Another reason the association is requesting addition hours is the role of an inspector at a landing. The association understands that role to be prevention, enforcement and education. Education is probably the most important. The inspector has an opportunity to work one-on-one with the watercraft owner to explain and demonstrate the expectations of the AIS prevention program.

The following are some recommendations and suggestions:

  1. The FLPOA recommends one other component be added to the risk analysis evaluation. That is to consider the non-infected lakes in the county. These lakes are the targets for the spread of AIS and need to be part of the analysis. Many non-infected lakes in the county receive zero hours or no inspector support in the 2018 plan. Subdivision 3 of the 2017 Minnesota Statute 477A.19 titled AIS Prevention Aid states “A county receiving a distribution under this section must use the proceeds solely to prevent the introduction or limit the spread of AIS at all access sites in the county”. The FLPOA recognizes the fact that this would be an impossible task to have inspector support at all the landings in the county. But, the need for inspector support at as many landings in the county is supported by the MAISRC center identifying Crow Wing County as a “hot bed” for ZM and the research findings by Dr. McCartney regarding the movement of ZM between lakes.
  2. The association suggests the county explore the “Centralized Inspection Program” in Wright County. This is a pilot program and may be another method to prevent the spread of AIS. This program is not as labor intense and doesn’t require AIS inspectors at all the landing sites.
  3. The association suggests the county form an AIS advisory board from lakeshore owners and citizens in the county. An advisory board and lake associations could establish an excellent AIS communication network and the cost would be minimal. Most associations in the county communicate with their members using newsletters, meetings and the web. The FLOPA currently has 187 paid members in the association. The Whitefish Property Owners Association (WAPOA) has over 1000 members. This is an example of the communication network that is available.

Thank you for your consideration,

Bob Stancer
President, Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA)

Cc. Senator, Carrie Rudd
Representative, Josh Heintzman
Representative, Dale Lucck
US Representative, Rick Nolan
Governor, Mark Dayton
Tim Houle, Crow Wing County
Jacob Frie, Crow Wing County
Jeff Forester, MN Lakes and River Advocates
Nick Phelps, Ph.D, MN AIS Research Center

Note from the President of the FLPOA – Posted December 24, 2017
By Bob Stancer

We have had some cold and some not so cold weather the past couple of months, but as I write this note the temperature outside is 15 degrees and the ground is white and hard, so I think winter has arrived.

Here are some of the action items addressed in 2017.

  • Enbridge line 3 replacement: On December 7th the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, by a vote of 4 to 1, deemed “inadequate” the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Enbridge’s proposed new Line 3 pipeline. The PUC told the Commerce Department to rework 3 parts of the EIS and to do so within 60 days. Look for more to come in 2018 on this subject.
  • AIS plant surveys conducted by Professional Lake Management in July (board decided to have 1 inspection done at each of the 4 public launches this year instead of two) total cost of $400. No new AIS plants discovered. Purple Loosestrife was found on Mitchell Lake in 2016 and a special thanks to the Mitchell Lake volunteers that removed a number of plants along the shore in 2017.
  • AIS boat inspections done by trained DNR inspectors resulted in 800 hours of inspections between May and September. The 2018 plan has only 300 hours for the East Fox launch and no inspection hours for Kego, Eagle, and Mitchell lakes. We submitted our concerns and comments to Crow Wing County along with WAPOA and other lake groups on December 21st.
  • Zebra Mussel Veliger Testing was done by FLPOA members in July on Fox Lakes, Eagle Lake, Kego Lake and Mitchell Lake. This testing was done by slowly dragging or lowering plankton net into the water and colleting a couple ounces of water for laboratory microscope testing. Good news again this year none were found.  http://www.crowwing.us/1004/Aquatic-Invasive-Species-AIS
  • Crow Wing County logging on County owned land in Fifty Lakes: Logging was done on County Land along Kego Lake Road. If you have not driven this road in a while take the drive and you will see they left a number of large Oak trees as part of their management plan. As we understand it they will till up the ground under the tree to help acorns establish new Oak trees and the fast growing Aspen trees will be cut as they grow.
  • We did our Spring mailing again this year and will plan on doing it again in 2018, we mailed over 750 letters to Fifty Lakes property owners.
  • Membership: As of our November board meeting we have 187 paid up members.
  • We are moving our annual meeting to Saturday May 26, 2018 and it will include a picnic at the Fifty Lake pavilion from 11:00 until 2:00. More information will be shared as we work out more details in first quarter of 2018.

Be safe and enjoy the Holidays with your friends and families.

Bob Stancer
President, Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association

FLPOA Donations – Posted December 24, 2017

If you are looking for a tax deduction as the end of the year approaches, please consider making a donation to the FLPOA. All FLPOA donations are tax deductible, and they help the organization continue to administer the programs that protect our precious land and lakes.

Please donate to the FLPOA by clicking here.

Night Shadows on Snow – Posted December 24, 2017
By Bill Leadens

A short reflection for a winters eve…….
He had seen as many nights as he had days.  Some days he wished he had never witnessed.  Some nights he wished had never happened.  However, like everyone he ever knew, he wished for another.

Inside the cabin only the fire light from a small window of an old wood stove reflected off a single pair of old eyes.   As old as he was, he was still mesmerized by the fact that the small window pane of that wood stove was made of something called, Mica.  Thin as a sheet of paper and light as a breath, he had seen it withstand his hottest fires.   It never burned away, melted or distorted.   The Mica window pane remained as clear as lightly stained water.   Inside the old stove the fire was as hot as fires always are, yet, although he never tried, he was certain he did not want to touch it.   The radiant heat from the stove warmed the man as it always had.  However, he knew when he got out of his chair, he would find it much cooler in the corners of the cabin and especially in the bedroom.   That was always the case this time of year.   If he checked the thermometer on the tree outside it would read 22 below.

He stood up slowly in the dark and fire glow, and made his way to a frost covered window.   He remembered a time when he wasn’t alone.  Together they stood side by side feeling the warmth of each other and watched the sorcery of winter together as he now watched alone.  He guessed winter doesn’t care who watches a full moon on a star filled night.   Doesn’t care how many dreams are shared as moon light dances on diamonds floating on virgin snow fields.   Simply does not care which soul concentrates on the night shadows for a glimpse of something ….beautiful.

His eyes were fully adjusted to the dark.  The moon was so bright it illuminated his upper body as he stood inches from the cabin window looking out allowing a passerby to easily see him.  Of course, there was no passerby.

A full moon only happens once a month but the waxing and waning on each side of a full moon adds many nights that he could almost read the Sears and Roebucks catalog even though the kerosene lantern was “two hours cold.”  Since his earliest memory he never tired of watching the simple enchantment of a cold winters’ night unfolding over a deep snow covered landscape.  Like tonight, and every night like tonight, why did he slightly strain to see into the darkness of the tree line as the moon light gave way to the forest and its blackness.  What a contrast as “Mise en scene” rearranged itself as he changed his glance to the bright flat uniform plane of the lake.

Countless snow flakes under countless stars, sparkled from his private moon defining the topography of small grades, drifts and the unknown buried a foot under the white blanket.   He could make out the tree line horizon on the far side of the lake which made for a perfect delineation between the lake shoreline and the forest beyond.  He guessed it was these backdrops that could help a memory and soothe a heart.   But, an old mans memory is as fragile as his heart sometimes.   “Both can be bring one to his knees,” he knew, but only once did anyone catch him crying over it.  No one would catch him tonight either.  Alone or not, “he” would know.   Instead,  only the moon saw an old man’s defiant smile as he wished for one more winters day and Night Shadows on Snow.

Happy Holidays from the FLPOA – Posted December 24, 2017

Thanks for your support during the last year, and we wish you, your family and your friends, a joyous Holiday Season!

The Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association Board
Jon Arnoldy, Michael Bury, Carrie Bell, Bill Leadens,
Ken Neihart, Mike Prouty, Bob Stancer, and Fred Strohmeier

Update: Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project – Posted November 9, 2017 – Submitted by Ken Neihart

Please click on the link below to view the timeline of events for key decisions, route permit information and certificate of need details. Final comments from the public are due on Wednesday, November 22nd, by 4:30pm.

Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Final Comments Information

November Meeting Minutes – Posted November 9, 2017 – Submitted by Ken Neihart

Click on the link below to view the FLPOA meeting minutes from November 4, 2017.

View FLPOA Meeting Minutes – November 4, 2017

Join us for the Annual FLPOA Meeting August 12th – Posted August 8, 2017 – Submitted by Bob Stancer

The FLPOA Annual Meeting is scheduled for Saturday August 12, 2017 at 8:30 am. The meeting will be held at The Fifty Lakes Foundation Building. Beth Hippert from Crow Wing SWCD is the guest speaker, and she will focus on strategies that protect water quality, habitat, and stabilize shorelines. Social time is set from 8:30am to 9:00am, meeting from 9:00am to 10:00am, guest speaker from 10:00am to 11:00am, and we will adjourn by 11:30am. All are welcome!

View Meeting Agenda

Update: Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project – Posted August 8, 2017 – Submitted by Ken Neihart & Edited by Dianne Bell         

July 10, 2017, marked the close of the public comment period for residents of Minnesota to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) regarding the proposed Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline replacement.   The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and MN Department of Commerce will issue a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on August 10, 2017. The PUC will conduct additional public hearings this fall (September – November), and the final decision on the two permits required for this project — consent permit and the route permit — is scheduled for April, 2018.

Background: Enbridge is seeking to replace its aging Line 3 pipeline, which was built in the 1960s, to transport heavy Canadian crude in a new 36 inch pipeline from the oil sands region of Alberta to refineries in the U.S. It crosses about a 340-mile swath of northern Minnesota from near the northwest corner of the state to its pipeline hub in Superior, Wisconsin. Line 3 is part of the company’s larger pipeline system that carries nearly 3 million gallons of oil a day from Canada, across northern Minnesota.

Why You Should Care: Proposed Pipeline Route – One of the key issues for Fifty Lakes residents is the preferred route that Enbridge wants. FLPOA objects to Enbridge’s preferred route because it deviates from the existing one and runs through a water-rich environment that would directly impact all Fifty Lakes property owners.

Local Response: Both Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA) and Whitefish Owners Property Association (WAPOA) have publicly come out against the proposed Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement project as it stands, and have publicly commented to the Minnesota Department of Commerce regarding deficiencies in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. (Read WAPOA’s letter to the Environmental Review Manager, MN Department of Commerce).

Of first and foremost concern is the proximity of the proposed new route to valuable water and wild rice resources. According to Tom Watson, Director, Land Use and Government Relations for WAPOA, 900,000 barrels per day of heavy Canadian crude oil passing through 30-35 miles of the northern part of the Pine River Watershed (that is us; all of us) by a company with a “documented history” of 1.6 spills per week over 11 years and 300 barrels spilled per week and 85% being exported; is that something we want in this area of northern Minnesota?

Enbridge’s preferred route would run from 4 to 6 miles north of Fifty Lakes. (see proposed map below:

Map08082017It would cross Daggett Brook, run through a water-rich environment and run in a utility corridor that contains high-tension power lines. An oil spill north of Fifty Lakes could threaten our lakes, streams and water table. Unfortunately, an oil leak or spill is a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

The Dangers of Oil and Gas Pipelines: Oil pipelines are inherently susceptible to leaks and spills. Here’s a compelling video compiling recent analysis and data on oil and gas pipeline safety in the United States, showing a troubled history of spills, contamination, injuries and death. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rxqUXqPzog

Jobs?: The argument of new construction jobs generated by this pipeline falls flat when compared to the consequences. A few temporary construction jobs would be gained (which, by the way, would go primarily to contractors from Oklahoma and Arkansas, not locals!), however, at the expense of potential environmental devastation from oils leaks and spills that would impact us for decades. Compare this to the $700 million annually provided by travel and tourism in 4 Counties (Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard Counties) which is threatened by this proposed pipeline.

As a commenter to Friends of the Headwaters mentioned, “In lake country, a barrel of water is worth more than a barrel of oil”. (See the Friends of the Headwaters website for some good information on the proposed Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement project: http://www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org/index.html)

Comments to the Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce: There have been many comments to the PUC regarding the DEIS. Most of the responses have been against the preferred route and cite many shortcomings and items that are missing from the DEIS.

– Additional Objections: In addition to the new proposed route, there are four objections to this proposed pipeline outlined in a signed letter by over thirty members of the joint Minnesota House of Representatives and Minnesota State Senate, who have requested that the Minnesota Department of Commerce significantly revise the DEIS: (for the comprehensive letter to the Minnesota PUC click here https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling/edockets/searchDocuments.do?method=showPoup&documentId={70FF7F5D-0000-C71C-9816-9FA4327B1D13}&documentTitle=20177-134250-01)

  • Failure to appropriately quantify oil spill exposure
  • Tribal considerations and Line 3 abandonment
  • Stronger consideration of climate impacts
  • A more comprehensive analysis of a no-build alternative

Additional Concerns: Because Line 3 is old, it requires increasingly extensive maintenance. It’s become corroded and cracked in places, requiring 950 excavations in the past ten years. Since 1990, there have been 15 failures of Line 3 that each released more than 50 barrels of oil, according to the DEIS.

– No “Abandonment Plan” for Pipeline Removal and Disposal: In addition, there is no plan for eradication or removal of the old pipeline once the new one is installed.   There are no state rules addressing abandonment.   The group Minnesotans for Pipeline Cleanup (http://www.pipelinecleanupmn.org) challenge Enbridge for having no “abandonment plan” for the old and decaying pipeline, other than leaving it in the ground to deteriorate and contaminate the water as it decays. Property owners would not be compensated for damage to their property or water.

– Indigenous Community Concerns: Critics say potential spills would threaten a region rich in lakes, rivers and wild rice waters. The environmental study also notes that it crosses a disputed section of the White Earth Indian reservation, as well as ceded territory that tribal members value for wild rice, hunting and fishing.

In fact, the DEIS fails to appropriately quantify oil spill exposure.

Failure to analyze alternate paths: The report analyzed four alternate paths for the pipeline to take across northern Minnesota to end in Superior. One of those routes loops south of Mille Lacs Lake. Another would be moved north of the current corridor, while two options would keep the new pipeline in roughly the same path as the old one.

The draft environmental review weighs the costs and benefits of several different alternatives to Enbridge’s proposed project, including using the existing Line 3, transporting oil by train or truck, or creating an entirely new pipeline route that bypasses northern Minnesota and instead flows south to Illinois.

The options all offer different costs and benefits. Trucks and trains are more likely to have smaller spills. Pipelines are less likely to have spills in the first place, but when they occur, they tend to be much larger.

Summary: The threat of oils spills and permanent contamination to our pristine and sensitive waterways and ecosystem in the Pine River Watershed is very real with the proposed Enbridge Pipeline 3 Replacement Project. The Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA) and the Whitefish Property Owners Association (WAPOA) have grave concerns about Enbridge’s current proposal as it stands. The potential devastation to our lakes and waterways that threatens the second-largest travel and tourism economy in Minnesota is not acceptable. We urge all FLPOA and WAPOA members to stay informed on this very important topic and to make your voices heard.

A DNR Conversation about Fifty Lakes Fisheries – Posted August 8, 2017 – Written By Mike Prouty

“You have some beautiful lakes in Fifty Lakes,” said Mike Knapp, Assistant Director of Fisheries at the MN DNR Brainerd office.

Sometimes no news is good news. An interview with Knapp was remarkable for it’s lack of any crises or red flags regarding the fish resources in Fifty Lakes. “Remember, my focus in on fish,” said Knapp. I’m not qualified to discuss aquatic invasive plants or animals.”

According to Knapp, our lakes are collectively known for abundant populations of panfish, walleye, and northern pike. “Even the rough fish in your lakes, such as dogfish and suckers, play a role in the health of lakes,” said Knapp. While the public and resource managers are rightfully concerned about aquatic invasive plants and organisms, we don’t have invasive fish species such as Asian Carp, to worry about in Fifty Lakes.

On average, the DNR assesses fish populations in Minnesota lakes every 6 to 8 years. To measure a lake’s fish population, the DNR uses either electro-shocking or fish traps (nets or baskets). This survey information that is collected in the summer, is then analyzed the following winter. By the following spring, this survey information can be found on the “Lakefinder: MN DNR” website. Once the long-term trend of a lake’s fish population is known by several rounds of survey data, the DNR has several management options. The DNR may initiate management activities such as changing bag limits or instituting fish stocking programs.

Knapp pointed out that because of the number of lakes in our area, fishing pressure is dispersed and so fish populations in any one lake are not adversely affected by fishing. “I think knowledgeable anglers can still catch nice sized walleye and panfish in the Fifty Lakes area,” said Mike. Mike pointed out that some fish populations, like crappie are very cyclical. As different age classes of fish mature, can rise and fall.

When asked what one thing lake owners could do to protect and improve fish populations in Fifty Lakes, he identified the need to protect and maintain lakeshore aquatic vegetation. For example, keeping our shorelines in natural vegetation with rushes and down logs is a god thing. In addition, try to avoid putting in lawns that extend down to the water’s edge. Mike acknowledged that many people, including himself, like to have swim beaches for their families, and he recognizes this is a legitimate use of lakes. But, he cautioned that, collectively, cabin owners need to be careful not to change the nature of the lake habitat.

Taken individually, the activity of one cabin owner won’t have much affect on a lake, but collectively all cabin owners can affect the ability of a lake to support healthy fish populations. “People who live along a lake have an incredible impact on fish habitat,” said Mike. He pointed out that cabin owners need to be aware of state regulations that govern shoreline manipulation. These regulations can be found on the MN DNR website. To see a list of lakeside regulations, click on the following link. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/index.html

Stories from the Northwoods: The Fish House  – Posted August 8, 2017 – Written by Bill Leadens          

A Storm was coming….

He had been fishing for some time now…..inside his fish house. It was the coldest season of the year.

Winter in the year 1925.

It was late afternoon under a cold and darkening grey Minnesota sky. With his ice spud, it had taken him 5 minutes to chop the hole precisely locating it on the lake. After he had chopped the hole, he pulled the little house over that hole and lined it up with the hole already cut into the floor of his fish house. He knew this fishing spot by drawing an imaginary line with his eye from the eagles nest in the large white pine on the north side of the lake to the dead birch hanging over the lake on the southeast side. This was his base line. Then, in deep snow, he walked 330 steps from the south most lake edge following this line to the point at which he now sat staring at a small floating cork bobber. If little snow, but good traction on the ice, he stepped off 306 steps. All ending up in the same spot. He knew the counts because he had to drag the old fish house every foot. He did this twice every winter, once to set out the fish house and once back to shore before ice out, not counting his many treks to actually fish.

Putting up with that labor was essential. A Minnesota winter has killed more than one unprotected person while fishing on large AND small lakes. Add darkness, winds out of a nightmare and never ending curtains of horizontal snow, the equation is set for a fisherman to get lost, freeze to death or fall through the ice – not necessarily in that order. The walk to and from the fish house, once set, was something he never took for granted.

If a fish house was positioned from the start of the season, just right and over good structure below, it would stay there all winter. He never had to move his twice once set. He always caught fish right where he was and he would smile with that thought.

It was January. The baby would be born in a few months. He wondered if it would be a boy or a girl. It made no difference to him but there is a lot of work to do on the farm so either would eventually do what is required. All the same, he had a boys name in mind if it was a boy and he knew she had in mind a girls name if it was a girl.

The cork bobber never really sat motionless even though there hadn’t been a single wave since freeze up. This time of year the small variations of moving ice from the continual thickening and growing of the lakes’ ice caused the water level in the open hole to rise and fall as if the lake under him was alive and breathing.

Sometimes a fisherman can see far into the future and sometimes he can’t just by watching the bobber. Sometimes for an ice fisherman the bobber isn’t just something connected to a string which in turn is connected to a hook lost in the depths of a lake. To him it I was actually a window into a moment of time he is free to wonder in. Thats where he was right now. A traveler on a knifes’ edge of time.

To be sure, he was quite aware of the wind building outside the fish house walls. He was comforted by the fact he had built it from the ground up with the emphasis on weight reduction. From the sawmill, he ordered air dried pine 2 by 2’s and spaced them 2 feet on center between the top plate and bottom plate, also of 2 x 2’s, to create the walls of a 4 foot by 6 foot rectangle. Small wood gusset brackets strengthened the frame. The roof was a “slant roof.” 7 feet high on one side slanting to 6 foot 3 inches the entire long length on the opposite side. Plywood was expensive and it wouldn’t be until 1928 the industry would standardize into 4 foot by 8 foot sheets. He bought two sheets from the sawmill. One sheet came out to be 5’ by 5’ which he cut just right for the floor so he had no waste and nothing left over. The other sheet was 4’X6’ which the sawmill only had one of and would work perfectly for the roof. He had used smaller lengths of flat and round pieces of steel from an abandoned rail road freight car to fashion the fish house base with skids he bolted to the plywood floor. Black heavy tar paper covered the entire exterior. Thin cut slab wood given free to him by the sawmill for buying the plywood, was nailed on for the walls in a standard ship-lap form. He made a narrow “in swinging door” and installed two small windows – material all from the rail road car, sealing up the fish house.

The fish start biting in January at about 4 pm on this Minnesota lake…. about the time it starts getting dark. He had two old coal oil lanterns with new wicks. One lantern actually did a pretty good job of lighting up the fish house and also giving him a little warmth, at least enough so he could take his gloves off when necessary. Only when it was extremely cold, like tonight, did he light the second lantern…. coal oil, also known as kerosene, after all, was not free.

Scattered within the “breaths” of the lake, loud sharp cracking sounds shot across the surface. He could hear a start of a new crack begin far off in the distance with a crescendoing “rip” as it passed closely by the fish house, sometimes right under his feet. The water in the hole could rise as much 2 inches as the Ice settled down to its new expanded condition. He studied the bobber after being momentarily startled by the last fracturing explosion of the ice below. The bobber stabilized.

He was glad he and his wife lived far away from Minneapolis. His best friend died 6 months ago of smallpox there. They had ice fished together many times over the years on this very spot and in this very fish house. Hard times for his friend before the smallpox took him. He had been trying to get a job at the flour mill in Minneapolis and had moved into a nearby cheap boarding house sharing everything with “who knows how many.” The papers where saying many more are dying all around Minnesota but most of the deaths were in Minneapolis for some reason. Yes, sometimes a fisherman can see into the future and sometimes he can’t. In this case, he couldn’t and that before the new baby was a year old 500 Minnesotans would die from the this thing called smallpox.

“Wow, that was some gust!” He said aloud. His attention was drawn away from the bobber to outside. Through the window facing east, he could see it was snowing hard. As the last light of the day was fading the snow fell sideways from left to right carried on the northwest wind.

37 years earlier, he, himself, was just a baby and blissfully unaware of what was going on outside of his window then. His parents had settled near a small town west of Brainerd. It was there his family experienced his first Storm.

He knew his parents called it the “Children’s Blizzard.” Others called it the “Great Blizzard.” In 1888 hundreds of people died in the storm as it traveled out of Colorado and through Minnesota. Many more died from the resulting amputations from frostbite and infection complications afterwards. It was in January back then that most of the deaths came from children trying to get home from school.

History would report that in the late 1800’s, North America was experiencing a “little Ice age.” The entire earth cooled as a result of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia. Still effecting the climate years later in December of 1887, 40 inches of snow had fallen in Minnesota. Then, in early January, a disastrous ice storm hit. A week after the ice storm of January 5, 1888, the weather warmed to a couple of beautiful sunny days. It was a Thursday, January 12, 1888, he played in a crib as a baby instead of walking to school as a student on an “unusually warm and sunny day.” However, many children did walk to school that day, for the last time.

It was a good idea to have a second lantern in the fish house. He had often heard and was always reminded during any given project or event, the old adage was right, “if you only have one of something, it is not enough.” In this case, the extra light and warmth added to the feeling of security as he jiggled his line and bobber which in turn twitched the hook and worm 30 feet below. He had lots of worms that he had transferred from the compost pile at the edge of the garden to the warmth of the cellar earlier in the fall. Crappies were his favorite and it would be easy to filet out the bones for the new baby.

From outside the fish house, a passerby would see a yellow glow of light through both frost covered windows. Except, that light had only one witness tonight and he was huddled inside a fish house over a bobber. He was holding a two foot long pole, alone, on the middle of a remote Minnesota lake, under a now jet black night.

“Time never really stands still,” he guessed. “But it comes close sometimes while ice fishing,” he thought. He wondered if he could actually MAKE time stop here, now, with no one watching. Whats to stop him from making one small impossible miracle? Nothing. He laughed a hesitating exhaling smile as he reconsidered the possibility. It occurred to him that STOPPING time was more likely then going BACK in time. Going BACK in time has to be impossible because once the crappie is hooked, well, its hooked. But, the FUTURE…. thats different. The Future is just a “Breath away” from NOW. Which seems pretty darn close by to “RIGHT NOW.” That is probably why he liked Ice fishing because he was so close to seeing into the future. “I am working on it,” he thought.

The crappie is the second most valued fish in any Minnesota lake, he figured. For eating, only perhaps the walleye is valued more or equally. “The crappie can bite so lightly,” he thought. He could only compare it to a wisp of wind passing by a tree trunk…unnoticed. However, a good ice fisherman knows how to balance the right bobber on the right line set up for the best telltale signal the crappie is interested far below in the blackness of the water. Certainly there are times the bobber disappears in a second and a slight hook set with steady line retrieval puts “one in the bucket.” But there are times, he knew, more than not, that the infamous ‘Paper Mouths” already have the hook in their mouths without even the slightest indication at the bobber! Sometimes he saw the bobber actually “rise” turning the bobber on its side in a sort of slow motion experiment in impossible engineering.

He didn’t know there was already a 3 foot snow drift outside his door. But it would make no difference. Years of experience with ice fishing taught him to always face the door of his fish house towards the closest shoreline and never fish in an “out swinging” door fish house. “Both lessons could save your life,” he would say. With the door facing the direction OFF the ice it would give a person a referenced starting point in dark or bad weather. The “in swing” door ensured you would never get trapped inside from a variety of exterior calamities ….. like the snow drift building just outside and in front of the door. “An inadvertently knocked over lantern inside a fish house can be an instant death sentence if you can’t escape quickly,” he knew.

He had a pocket watch but never carried it onto the ice. It was a gift from his father many years ago before he died. He didn’t want to loose it in the snow or drop it through a hole. Then again, he never felt he needed to know the exact time while fishing because going home would not happen until he had at least a half a dozen fish. “One thing had not much to do with the other,” he often said.

The wind was so strong now, he realized that if he hadn’t piled snow up all round the base of the fish house when he first set it out, he and the house would be flying across the ice sheet instead of locked tightly where it now stood.

Sometimes an ice fisherman can see into the future and sometimes he can’t. He figured it might be the same for women, but he was a man and couldn’t be sure about what a women can see. A man sees what other men see. He would leave it up to a women to think about the other. The point is he wasn’t perfect at looking into the future. “Things would be different” he thought to himself, “if he had more time to watch the bobber.” If he was better at concentrating on the bobber, he would have warned his neighbor in 15 years not to go duck hunting on that warm November day in 1940. It would be known at the Armistice Day Blizzard. His neighbor would be one of 49 Minnesotans to die on a day when temperatures would go from the middle 60’s in the afternoon to 9 degree’s that night. 50 mile per hour winds and 27 inches of snow would trap his neighbor after his duck boat sank in 5 foot waves. He would die on a small spit of land in the middle of the Mississippi. No witness lived to repeat his neighbors last words.

The fish house was now responding to the ever increasing tempest of wind and snow doing its best to awake a traveler. “It must be 8 o’clock,” he finally said aloud. He counted 9 large crappies in the bucket. He had a vague memory of each one caught. He would be bringing home dinner for two nights and maybe a little left over for a lunch time fish sandwich for the baby via mom. It was time to leave the safety of the time capsule known also as the fish house.

It was time to go home.

He stood and blew out the second lantern. That one would stay in the fish house. He rolled up his line. He repositioned his beaver fur hat on his head and tied the earflaps tight down over his ears and under his chin. The doors’ long wooden handle accommodated nicely his thick fur lined deer skin mittens he was now putting on. He stuck his right arm through the handle of the metal bucket of crappies until the wire handle rested on his forearm and lifted the prize while grabbing the old lighted lantern at the same time with the same right hand. He opened the door to the Storm with his left hand. Saying nothing, he stepped out and through the snowbank while closing the door. Walking straight ahead and into the blackness, he started to count each step.

Inside the now empty and dark old fish house and in front of a hole in its floor, sat a single common milking stool. On it, positioned just right, rested a simple cork bobber.

A Storm was coming.

  1. Wikipedia-History of Plywood.
  2. MNopedia-Smallpox epidemic of 1924–25 by Paul Nelson
  3. Wikipedia-The Great Blizzard of 1888
  4. Wikipedia-1940 Armistice Day Blizzard

Purple Loosestrife on Mitchell Lake – Posted on August 8, 2017 – Written by Ken Neihart
It is about that time of the year for purple loosestrife to bloom. This is the time to remove the flower and capture the seeds before they fall to the ground. Last year some Mitchell Lake property owners did just that! Seeds have been known to remain viable in the soil for many years.

Flower removal/seed collection is the first management tool for purple loosestrife and is the most environmentally safe method. If this method doesn’t work some additional methods are available. The use of herbicides, beetles or a combination of all these option would be the next step.

Our goal is to remove purple loosestrife from Mitchell Lake. It probably will take a few years, and we may have to use some different removal methods, but purple loosestrife can be controlled.

Please email me to volunteer for this important project. (Ken Neihart – kjneihart@aol.com)  Or, stop by for a visit when the FLPOA holds it’s annual meeting on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 8:30am at the Fifty Lakes Foundation Building. I will have a map of Mitchell to locate where purple loosestrife is located on the lake.

Update and Comment Period for the Enbridge Line 3 Project  – Posted July 1, 2017 – Submitted  & Written by Ken Neihart &  Janet Hill
If approved, the Line 3 project is slated to come through Aitkin County. Please click here to learn about the latest developments.

The Minnesota Dept. of Commerce (DOC) is legally obligated to respond to every comment submitted by Monday, July 10th. The more substantive questions we submit, the better. 
Click here to learn how the best way to mail, email or FAX your comments.

June FLPOA Board Meeting Mimutes  – Posted July 1, 2017

Click here to review the June 24th Meeting Minutes.

Bell Family Gift at Fifty Lakes Day – Posted July 1, 2017 – Submitted by Dianne Bell

Reverend Karl Bell

Reverend Karl E. Bell

Long-time Mitchell Lake resident and FLPOA member, Reverend Karl E. Bell, passed away on April 27th after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. On June 24th, at Fifty Lakes Day, the Bell family was pleased to present the FLPOA with a donation in Karl’s memory totaling $1,000, designated for improving the water quality of Mitchell Lake, where he lived.

The Bell family has a long legacy in Fifty Lakes, having been on Mitchell Lake for over 70 years. After spending many summers at Christian’s Resort on Mitchell Lake in the 1930’s and 1940’s, Karl’s parents, Dr. Clifford & Louise Bell, purchased lakeshore property on the eastern shore of Mitchell Lake in October, 1945.

Karl was an Episcopal priest for over fifty years, serving parishes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, Venezuela and Germany, which meant that the family frequently moved. But throughout all the global moves, the family cabin was “home” and a constant fixture for Karl and his family.

Upon retirement from the active ministry in 2003, Karl moved back to Fifty Lakes, and the family ‘cabin’ became his permanent home.  He made many improvements to it over the years and truly loved being ‘at the lake’, listening to the loons call, enjoying sunsets from the deck, and visiting with neighbors in the Fifty Lakes community.

An active FLPOA member, Karl closely followed developments pertaining to Mitchell Lake and the surrounding Fifty Lakes area.  For several years before his death, he became more and more concerned about the declining lake water quality, particularly that of his own, Mitchell Lake.

The property has now passed down to the third generation of the Bell family, Karl’s children, Dianne and Andrew Bell, and their families. Like their grandparents and father before them, they are committed to continuing their family’s legacy of being good stewards of the land and water.

To that end, upon Karl’s death they decided that it would be a fitting tribute to direct memorial donations to the Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association, with the specific aim of contributing towards improving the water quality of Mitchell Lake.

Preliminary discussions have already begun with an environmental consulting group specializing in a variety of water management issues, including water quality assessments and lake & watershed management plans.

Because $1,000 is already earmarked from Karl Bell’s memorial toward improving Mitchell Lake’s water quality, FLPOA would like to engage an environmental consultant to begin the process of improving Mitchell Lake’s water quality. We look forward to beginning this initiative yet this summer.

If you are a property owner on Mitchell Lake, please consider donating towards this initiative. Mitchell Lake’s water quality has declined in the past few years, and efforts are underway to help reverse this. Please remember that donations are tax deductible and can be made on-line here.

FLPOA Annual Meeting Right Around the Corner – Posted July 1, 2017 – Submitted by Bob Stancer
The FLPOA Annual Meeting is scheduled for Saturday August 12, 2017 at 8:30 am. The meeting will be held at The Fifty Lakes Foundation Building. Beth Hippert from Crow Wing SWCD is the guest speaker, and she will focus on strategies that protect water quality, habitat, and stabilize shorelines. Social time is set from 8:30am to 9:00am, meeting from 9:00am to 10:00am, guest speaker from 10:00am to 11:00am, and we will adjourn by 11:30am. All are welcome!

Dues Renewed! – Posted June 22, 2017
In May, FLPOA members and all property owners in Fifty Lakes received a mailing from FLPOA that included AIS and membership information. We are excited to share that nearly 100 folks renewed their dues or joined FLPOA! We are so grateful for your support.

The 2017 membership year started June 12017 and will end May 31, 2018. With this in mind, we ask that you check and see if your membership is current. All FLPOA donations and membership dues are only $20, are tax deductible, and they help the organization continue to administer the programs that protect our precious land and lakes. Please donate, renew your membership or become a FLPOA member by clicking here. (If you pay using PayPal please consider paying $21 to cover the PayPal transaction cost of $.80.) 

FLPOA at Fifty Lakes Day Celebration – Posted May 22, 2017

Join us on Saturday, June 24th, beginning at 10am, in the Fifty Lakes Bar parking lot/pavilion for the the Fifty Lakes Day Celebration. FLPOA will have a booth to share the latest updates about the Enbridge pipeline, water quality and AIS. The association will also host a “Musical Petting Zoo” booth. Stop by and play a musical instrument you’ve always wanted to try! All proceeds from the Musical Petting Zoo booth will be donated to FLPOA.

FLPOA Donations & Member Dues for 2017 – Posted May 22, 2017
In May, FLPOA members and all property owners in Fifty Lakes will receive a mailing that includes AIS and membership information. The 2017 membership year starts June 1, 2017 and will end May 31, 2018. Please check to see if your membership is current. All FLPOA donations and membership dues are only $20, are tax deductible, and they help the organization continue to administer the programs that protect our precious land and lakes. Please donate, renew your membership or become a FLPOA member by clicking here. (If you pay using PayPal please consider paying $21 to cover the PayPal transaction cost of $.80.) 

Meeting Reminders – Posted May 22, 2017
The next FLPOA meeting is set for Saturday, June 24th, after booth set-up at the Fifty Lakes Day booth.

The FLPOA Annual Meeting is scheduled for Saturday August 12, 2017 at 8:30 am. The meeting will be held at The Fifty Lakes Foundation Building.

Enbridge Pipeline Update – Posted May 22, 2017
Submitted by Ken Neihart and Written by Melodee Monicken of Friends of the Headwaters

In 2014, with your support, Friends of the Headwaters took the contention that an Environmental Impact Statement was necessary for oil pipelines to the MN Court of Appeals.  In 2015, the court ruled unanimously in our favor. Then in 2016, Enbridge cited the EIS’ regulatory delays as an explanation for placing the Sandpiper pipeline on “indefinite” hiatus.

It’s been a long haul, but nothing is over; we’re still trying to keep Enbridge’s relocated Line 3 pipeline away from the Mississippi Headwaters and Minnesota’s iconic lake country. During the last year, we’ve been working to ensure that Line3’s hard-won EIS is honest, rigorous, and comprehensive.  And today—finally–the Department of Commerce released their draft EIS, the first Environmental Impact Statement ever done on an oil pipeline in Minnesota.https://mn.gov/commerce/energyfacilities/resource.html?Id=34695

Friends of the Headwaters anticipates a busy spring as the draft is thousands of pages and a couple feet high. We’re already working on our commentary, examining the draft for omissions, gaps, and the sort of unwarranted conclusions reported in today’s Star Tribune Newspaper (May 15, 2017). We want to see competent and independent analyses from credentialed, experienced scientists. Learn more about Enbridge Pipeline Plans here: http://www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org/index.html

Three Requests for Your Help

1. Please Note the DOC’s June Meeting Dates on Your Crowded Summer Calendar:
The DOC’s public information meetings will take place between June 6 and June 22. Written comments can be submitted until July 10, 2017. (More specifics below.) Friends of the Headwaters is a small, all-volunteer group. We don’t have salaried organizers; we rely on YOU. It’s important that you show up, that you comment on the EIS and share your concerns about Enbridge’s expanded Line 3, a pipeline that would carry 760,000 gallons of the dirtiest fuel on the planet.  Every day. Through prime Minnesota water resources.

2. Please Prepare Substantive Commentary:
If you want some help developing your arguments or gathering evidence for your commentary on Line 3, please let us know.  We can provide some guidance during our June commentary prep sessions. (Dates/venues to be announced.)  What we find in this draft and how we comment will make a difference.  “Substantive commentary” should be addressed/answered in the final EIS.

3. Please Write to the Governor, Legislators, and the Commissioners of the MPCA and DNR:
Please support the governor’s veto of the Energy Omnibus Bill.  This bill (SF1937) would permit pipelines to bypass the Certificate of Need.  It would allow the pipeline approval process to ignore the standards of the EIS and avoid investigation of alternate routes. IF (big if) Enbridge can demonstrate a real need for a relocated Line 3, the company should demonstrate why the applicant’s preferred route is superior to other options.

• Please let the governor know that you support his veto of any bill that would eliminate the Certificate of Need for oil pipelines. Let him know that you have his back, that you want a rigorous EIS to examine Line 3, that it’s imperative to investigate other viable routes—especially if he hopes to have a legacy of clean water.
Governor Dayton
Telephone: 651-201-3400
Toll Free: 800-657-3717  https://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/

• Please call and/or e-mail your state representatives and state senators. Tell them that you want a certificate of need for pipelines, that you care about clean water, that you expect them to protect Minnesota’s wetlands, surface water, and groundwater from oil, diluted bitumen, and “drilling fluids.”http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/hmem.asp

• Please contact the commissioners of Minnesota’s lead environmental agencies. Ask them to protect our water and defend an independent and competent EIS on Line 3. Ask them to provide strong support for Governor Dayton’s veto of any bill that threatens environmental protections. Please ask them to support the certificate of need as an essential part of any oil pipeline application for PUC approval.
John Linc Stine
Commissioner Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Rd, St Paul, MN 55155
(800) 657-3864
Phone: 651-757-2014
Fax: 651-296-6334

Tom Landwehr
Commissioner MN Department of Natural Resources
DNR Central Office
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4040
(651) 296-6157
(888) 646-6367 commissioner.dnr@state.mn.us

Comment Period: Written comments will be accepted through Monday, July 10, 2017. Comments may be emailed, mailed, or faxed:

  •  Email address: Pipeline.Comments@state.mn.us
  • U.S. Mail: Jamie MacAlister, Environmental Review Manager Minnesota Department of Commerce 85 7th Place East, Suite 500 St. Paul, MN 55101-2198
  • Fax: 651-539-0109

Important: Please include the docket numbers CN-14-916 and PPL-15-137 on all comments. Comments will be made available to the public via the MPUC’s electronic docketing system (eDockets) and the Department of Commerce’s website, except in limited circumstances consistent with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. Personally identifying information is not edited or deleted from submissions.

Public Information Meetings
Each public information meeting will provide an opportunity to learn about the information contained in the EIS and provide oral or written comments into record. A court reporter will record all oral comments; comment forms will be available for persons who wish to provide written comments. Each meeting will provide the same opportunity to obtain information and the opportunity to comment. Dates and locations for Department of Commerce Commentary on Line 3 Draft EIS:

 June 6, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Rice Lake Community Center
13830 Community Loop
Bagley, MN 56621

 June 6, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
IRA Civic Center
1401 NW 3rd Ave
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

 June 7, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Park Rapids High School Cafetorium
401 Huntsinger Ave
Park Rapids, MN 56470

 June 7, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Palace Casino Hotel
16599 69th Ave NW
Cass Lake, MN 56633

 June 8, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Downtown Fair Building
107 W 7th Ave
Floodwood, MN 55736

 June 8, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Central Lakes College Classroom
501 West College Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401

Friday June 9, 2017
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Maslowski Wellness & Research Center
17 5th Street Southwest
Wadena, MN 56482

 June 12, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Grand Casino Hinckley
777 Lady Luck Drive
Hinckley, MN 55037

 June 12, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
East Lake Community Center
36666 State Hwy 65
McGregor, MN 56718

June 13, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Fond du Lac Community College
2101 14th Street
Cloquet, MN 55720

June 13, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Intercontinental Hotel Saint Paul
11 E. Kellogg Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55101

 June 14, 2017
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Staples Community Center
122 6th Street NE
Staples, MN 56479

 June 14, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Initiative Foundation
405 1st Street Southeast
Little Falls, MN 56345

 June 15, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Henry’s Catering and Banquet Hall
6774 MN-25
Foley, MN 56329

June 15, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Phoenix Hotel & Banquet Center
210 MN-23
Milaca, MN 56353

June 16, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
The Grand Event Center
2025 Rowland Rd
Mora, MN 55051

June 20, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Marshall County Central Schools
310 West Minnesota Avenue
Newfolden, MN 56738

June 20, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Hallock City Hall
163 3rd Street SE
Hallock, MN 56728

 June 21, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Ralph Engelstad Arena, Imperial Room
525 Brooks Avenue
Thief River Falls, MN 56701

June 21, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Plummer Senior Citizen Center
185 Minnesota Street
Plummer, MN 56748

 June 22, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Gully Community Center
120 Main Street
Gully, MN 56646

 June 22, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Sanford Center and
George W. Nielson Convention Center
1111 Event Center Drive NE
Bemidji, MN 56601

Join Us for the April 8th FLPOA Board Meeting – Posted April 1, 2017
The next FLPOA board meeting will be held on Saturday, April 8th at 8:30am. We’ll meet at the Fifty Lakes Community Room in the Fire Station, and everyone is welcome to attend.  We hope to see you there! View Meeting Agenda..

Additionally, if you have any questions, comments, or would like to volunteer to help with the FLPOA, please drop us an email any time. Email the folks at the FLPOA.

WAPOA Offers Discounted Trees to Property Owners – Posted April 1, 2017 Submitted by Ken Neihart

Plant a tree and protect the lakes!  You can purchase 12” – 18” inch seedlings, consisting of Red Pine, Birch, White Pine, Jack Pine, Red Maple, High Bush Cranberry, Black Chokeberry and Serviceberry for only 25 cents each through WAPOA’s second annual tree sale.  WAPOA (Whitefish Area Property Owners Association) is providing trees again at a significant discount in an effort to protect water quality on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes.

We are able to provide the trees at a discounted rate to property owners through WAPOA subsidies and a state of MN cost sharing opportunity.  It is well documented that lands with good tree cover protect the lakes by slowing down run-off, allowing the water to soak into the ground and reduce lake pollution from chemicals such as roadway salt and oils.  Trees and shrubs also slow down run-off containing soil, plant materials, fertilizers, and pesticides.

The discounted trees are available in limited quantities, 50 per property owner.  The only restriction is that the trees are to be planted on lands surrounding or draining into the Whitefish Chain.   You can also purchase tree protection cages prices at $12.50 per package of 25 cages.  This year we will also have seed mixes of native flowers and grasses for shore land plantings.

Tree orders can be placed now through April 21, 2017 (or while supplies last) by contacting Jeff Laurel at email address jlaurel@tds.net, or by phone at (952) 217-9429. To order or discuss seed mixes appropriate for your situation, contact Brian Olson at email address brian@terraincorp.net or call (612) 309-1784.

Pick-up trees and seeds at Ideal Town Hall on Friday, May 12th, 1pm – 4 pm or at the Crosslake Community Center on Saturday, May 13th, 9am – 1pm.  It is recommended that the trees be planted within a few days of pick-up, for best growing success.

Stories from the North Woods: The Drive Up North – Posted April 1, 2017 By Bill Leadens

At night, if you lay just right in the back seat of the old station wagon you can see the stars. Thats what he was looking at now. To the blond haired seven year old the stars held a wonderment unmatched in his mind. He was eating a tunafish sandwich with olives as the family motored northbound under a magical dome of shimmering light. It was Friday and like many other Fridays he was eating his mothers pre-made sandwiches of tuna fish earmarked for the drive up north. Till his dying day, he would always love tunafish sandwiches with green olives.

His brothers were somewhere in the car too, but, as long as they didn’t touch him on any part of his body he was fine. Besides, he was happy because after a week of school, he was heading “up north.”

He studied the randomness of the stars from the darkness of the wagon. His thoughts turned to the school playground from earlier in the week. He remembered his first kiss better than who it was that gave it to him. During recess she had chased him all the way to the old growth tree line boarding the playground in the then very rural suburb of Minneapolis. She had caught up to him and pinned him up against a large red oak tree. One of her arms locked straight out with her palm tight against the thick bark on his right side and her other arm the same on his left side. While face to face, she said, “ You can’t say my name right.” With that, she leaned forward and kissed him on his lips and then she ran away. He had “wet kisses” before from family that sometimes made him shiver so he would quickly wipe his mouth after greetings and goodbyes. But, from what ever her name was, for some reason he would never forget this kiss against the old tree. It did bother him a little bit, though, he couldn’t pronounce her name right, “what ever it was.” Of course he still wiped his mouth off afterwards on his sleeve.

“No way” could he find the cabin on his own but he did know “about” where It was. “ Under the North Star,” he knew. He was old enough to point it out to any that asked. He couldn’t see the North Star from where he was laying in the back seat but knew if he was driving the car he could find it in no time. The North Star never changed positions but the “Big Dipper” did, so, sometimes it took him a minute. Finding the Big Dipper was the secret to finding the North Star. He loved living in Minnesota even though he had never lived anywhere else and when he got older he would understand why Minnesota was the North Star State.

He could feel the bumps in the road as the family drove. Nothing severe enough to pay attention to nor was the rattling of cars interior enough to distract him from his thoughts. Going to “the lake” was an “adventure!” He never bothered to put it into words but if he thought about it long enough he would have taken a second before he would just say, “because, it is fun!” If pressed he would say something about the lush but “spooky forests” and dirt trails, the smells of so much life, candy from the nearby resort (pink Snaps tasted like soap), neighbors and nearby family always welcoming him, other kids to play and explore together with, and everywhere water to play and swim in.

What was really scary was being in the boat during the “white caps.” The green outboard that said, “Johnson” on the side, could go just fast enough so the water spray would get the people in the back of the boat soaking wet while bouncing on White Caps! He remembered another old silver motor called the “coffee Grinder.” That one took a rope that you had to carry separately and “wind around the top just right and then pull real hard.” Sometimes He saw that done many times before it would start. He figured he was strong enough to do it himself but was never asked so he couldn’t prove it.

He liked sitting in the front most seat of the old Lone Star boat because he could get a “wild ride,” stay dry and have the seat all to himself. It took skill to get in and out of the boat. “The floor of the boat isn’t flat!” “You just don’t jump in like you think or you will fall either inside the boat or worse yet fall outside and into the water.” “Who knows what, if that happened,” he thought. Especially if you were “far out in the middle of the lake.” “You would never touch bottom if you fell into the lake there,” he would say.

He would admit that sometimes he would fall asleep during the drive up north. “Anybody could,” he thought. “It’s a long way to the lake.” But, he was quick to add he always woke up when they “hit the gravel.” Before you get to the cabin, you have to go down a long gravel road. Somewhere he heard about “10 miles.” He didn’t mind that part of the drive but it sure did “make the car bounce and rattle and dust came into the car too!” Eventually he came to the “really scary” part of the trip. Going down the giant hill before driving onto the “Island.” Even at seven years old he knew that the Island was called Battle Island because it involved a war between Indians long before he was born. He could never imagine, however, the generations of Indian History witnessed right there on Big Sandy Lake.

Every part of every trip held something new for him and at the same time after each trip he felt more and more comfortable and understood things only experience taught. All this experience, little doubt, gave him surprising insight into the world. No, he didn’t know where he came from and he didn’t care about the future. What he did know was that he found himself in the middle of a great adventure and so much of it revolved around the cabin at the lake. Going there, like today, was part of that adventure and it was for a time of planning.

Something deep inside told him that he was at a magical age. The sounds, sights, and tastes of life surrounded his every moment. Whether he was standing in his driveway at home near a town called Osseo looking across the endless expanse of potato fields with the morning sun warming his face, or here heading to the lake, he loved living. He would tell you so with his eyes.

He was getting sleepy here in the back seat with the lulling sound of the engine and minor rocking of the wagon. Soon he would be on the gravel and then the big hill going onto the Island. He would get up early tomorrow and run down to the lake. Then he would run over to the Island Cove Resort and see the old man that sold minnows – not to buy any – just to look at them. He had a quarter from his allowance and would use that for a box of Snaps. Sometimes he had to wait for the resort store to open because he always seemed to be there too early. He was comfortable as his eye’s closed in the darkness of the car.

Suddenly, He woke up – just as planned. The old wagon just “hit the gravel” and he heard it. In the darkness, he sat up. He placed his hands on the seat ahead and prepared himself for the hill somewhere soon.

The World lay in front of that windshield of the old station wagon and far beyond its headlights. Many a reader would bet that He would see that world in the years to come, and, when wounded, come back to the sanctuary of the Cabin and The Drive Up North. They would be right.

HELP WANTED: Seasonal Watercraft Inspectors – Posted April 1, 2017
If you are semi-retired, retired, or a college student, this is the perfect opportunity for you! Help protect the lakes with this fun summer employment. Apply on-line at ercstaffing.com or call Tyler at 218-824-9675.

AIS Spotted in Daggett Brook – Posted April 1, 2017 Submitted by Carrie Bell

This bull shark was recently spotted making its way down Daggett Brook! (April Fools!) Bull sharks generally grow to about 7.5 feet long and weigh up to 285 pounds. While bull sharks are commonly found along coastlines, bays, and harbors, they also frequent a most uncommon shark habitat—freshwater rivers. Bull sharks have traveled up the Mississippi River as far north as Illinois. Though the predators may come in close proximity to humans, statistics suggest that swimmers, surfers, and divers have little to fear from bull sharks. The United States averages just 16 shark attacks each year and slightly fewer than one shark-attack fatality every two years. Meanwhile, lightning kills more than 41 people each year in the coastal U.S. states alone.

DNR Firewise Program Helps Reduce Fire Risks – Posted April 1, 2017
By Dan Carroll, DNR northwest region Firewise specialist, Park Rapids, MN

Seven out of 10 structures destroyed by wildfire are ignited by the embers that land on the property and start small fires that find a suitable fuel bed (woodpile under deck, pine needles in gutters, tall grass in yard) that ignites a portion of a home or cabin.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Firewise program provides tips to rural homeowners to reduce the risks of wildfires to their homes and cabins. Property owners who reduce the likelihood that an ember finds a suitable fuel bed, can significantly reduce the likelihood that their home or cabin will ignite.

The Firewise program identifies four factors homeowners can control that affect whether a home will survive a wildfire – access, site, structure and burning practices.

Access affects how easily firefighters and emergency vehicles can find and access a home. Without good access and escape routes, firefighters will not endanger themselves to save a home.

Defensible zone
Creating a 100-foot “defensible zone” around your home or cabin, especially the 30 feet surrounding it, is critical to its chance of surviving a wildfire.

Anything flammable, including firewood piles and accumulated leaf and needle fall around foundations and decks should be removed.

Firewood or other combustible materials should not be stored in the zone. Decks within 5 feet of the ground should be enclosed with metal screening or sheeting. The area under decks, unless completely enclosed with metal screening, should not be used for storage.

A 10-foot minimum space should be maintained between evergreen tree crowns, and the tree crowns and home. This prevents fire from jumping tree to tree and tree to home.

Grass, leaves and branches provide a ladder for fuel to climb from ground to tree crown. These fuels can be eliminated by mowing tall grass, trimming shrubs and pruning the lower tree branches up 6 to 10 feet, or one-third of the tree height. Lawns should be kept green and mowed short to prevent fire from carrying to other areas.

Reducing fuels in the wooded area within the 100-foot zone and beyond will reduce the intensity of an approaching wildfire. Trees should be thinned/removed to increase their spacing, underbrush reduced and remaining trees pruned up 6 to 10 feet or one-third of the tree height. This will reduce the fuels and lessen the wildfire intensity.

Home modifications that further reduce wildfire risk include re-siding with brick, stone, stucco or steel, replacing shake roofing with class A shingles or steel, and enclosing foundations, decks and overhangs with steel, masonry or less expensive flame-resistant sheeting.

Burning Practices
The number one cause of wildfires in Minnesota is escaped debris burning fires. If you burn leaves and debris, consider alternatives like composting. Recreational fires should be located in a fire-safe pit or container and completely extinguished before left unattended.

For more information, visit mndnr.gov/firewise.

FLPOA Looks Ahead to 2017 – Posted January 1, 2017 – Submitted by Bob Stancer

We accomplished so much in 2016, and we are ready to focus on the great projects and programs we have slated for 2017! Some of the plans include:

  • Use all 800 hours of boat inspection hours as allocated by Crow Wing County.
  • Apply for IUP for AIS signs with property owners from previous years (interchange the two Burma Shave messages)
  • Continue the water testing with WAPOA and MPCA.
  • Continue with the WAPOA Professional Lake Mgt. (PLM) aquatic plant inspection at each of the 4 public boat launches. (We may be able to do this with FLPOA members that have been trained as AIS Detectors by the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.)
  • Have a late spring membership drive to get all memberships paid and attract new members.
  • Participate in Zebra Mussel Veliger Testing
  • Follow and inform members of the Embridge line 3 pipeline proposal. (Currently planned to follow the original Sandpiper route.)
  • Assist in organizing volunteers to continue the removal of Purple Loosestrife from Mitchell Lake.
  • Increase awareness of DNR fisheries activity in our lakes.
  • Increase awareness of Crow Wing Forestry management and timber harvesting activity.

Thanks to your donations and dues, we continue to work on all these important tasks. We are grateful to have you as members of FLPOA, and we are excited about the things we can accomplish together in 2017.

The Life of a Watercraft Inspector – Posted January 1, 2017 – Submitted by Mike Prouty

The Fifty Lake area has four public boat landings: on Mitchell, Eagle, Fox, and Kego Lakes.  If you use these lakes during the boating season, you’re likely to meet a watercraft inspector on the boat ramp.

I wondered what it was like to be a watercraft inspector, and sit on a boat ramp for 10 hours a day, so I spoke with watercraft inspector Dale Hahn.  I met Dale on the Eagle Lake ramp last summer.  A big man, with a wrestler’s body and as deep a voice as I’ve ever heard, Dale has an impressive presence.  His dog Paisley, (a Wheaton terrier/poodle mix) keeps him company on the ramp, and has learned to stay in her cage as soon as she sees a car coming.  “Paisley loves spending the day with me on a ramp, and I think she misses it in the off season!” said Dale.

Dale is a retired project manager from Willmar Electric who oversaw huge electrical installations around the United States.  He enjoys fishing in his retirement, but most importantly he likes taking an active approach to helping keep the lakes in Fifty Lakes area clean.  “I saw a need to help people understand how they can protect the lakes we all enjoy,” said Dale.  “I love being a watercraft inspector.  I have a passion for my job, and I like to think I’m making a difference.  I’ve been doing this since the program began and it’s very rewarding to begin to see a different attitude on the part of the public.”

Dale is a people-person.  “My daughters will tell you that I love talking to people,” said Dale.  “And almost all my contacts on the boat ramp are very positive.  I feel especially gratified when I see fathers teaching their kids how to make sure the boat and trailer are clean, by disposing of weeds, cleaning the boat and trailer, and correctly disposing of live bait and trash.  Of course there are always those few who aren’t happy, but hopefully over time they’ll come around too.”

Dale, who has both level 1 and level 2 training, sees two major challenges to stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species: boat live wells containing water from possibly infested lakes and standing water in the bottom of watercraft. “When I started, there was some push back from fisherman about not being able to enter a lake with livewell water from another lake,” said Dale.  “But I think the message is slowing sinking in, that keeping water that potentially contains aquatic invasive species out of our lakes is important.”  Dale goes the extra mile, and brings several five gallon buckets full of clean water.  Giving a first-time angler who is not familiar with the problem an option of switching out his dirty water with clean water earns some goodwill.  “I think the best long term solution to the problem of livewell water is aerated bait buckets,” said Dale.  (After talking with Dale, I now own an aerated minnow bucket!)  Jet skis are also a potential source of spreading invasive species.  “Many jet ski owners are reluctant to start up their skis on the boat landing because they think it will harm their motors,” said Dale.  But it really doesn’t and we need them to purge the water inside their jet skis.”

Inspectors like Dale Hahn are on the front line in the struggle to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.  The Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association, working with Crow Wing County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, supports the Watercraft Inspector program.  The program will continue on the four public boat landings again next year.

Water Clarity – Posted January 1, 2017 – Submitted by Ken Neihart

How did the 2016 secchi disk readings compare to the reading from years gone by? Take a look at the table to see where your lake falls. Many volunteers collected the secchi disk readings from the lakes over the past 30 or so years. The volunteers are part of the Whitefish Property Owners Associations (WAPOA) Water Quality Program and/or the MPCA Citizen’s Monitoring Program. If anyone is interested in helping with the water testing, please contact a FLPOA Board member.

Stories From the North Woods – Posted January 1, 2017 – Submitted by Bill Leadens

Note: The Whiskey Jack is an original short story written for the novelty and pleasure of the Fifty Lakes Property Association Members and others.  We invite any and all of our neighbors and citizens  to feel free to explore simple thoughts and personal experiences and share with everyone.  Our common links to a common time and place give us all a reason to celebrate.  This small addendum  is a reoccurring space to share any memory or story relating to Minnesota and our great North Country.  Please share your thoughts and stories by clicking here

The bed sat about 18 inches from the inside wall of the old cabin.  He always made his bed and he needed the space to walk…. except this morning.

There was one bedroom in the log cabin.  The rest of the cabin was open.  On the far side, arranged furniture defined the living room with two windows forming the corner.  A visitor could see the lake 50 feet away from the east most facing of these two windows.  The window above the kitchen table did open but differently from some of the others.  That window was hinged on top and a stick was used to hold it open about 10 inches.  The old man could keep it open in the rain.  He liked that.   The table was covered with a red and white checkered vinyl like cloth so a good housekeeper could easily wipe crumbs clean.  The old man loved Limburger Cheese (no doubt from the German side of the family) on toast with coffee in the morning…..   only not this morning.  The smaller windows above the kitchen counter opened like the larger kitchen window – hinged on top.  The hand pump on the counter had to be primed so a pitcher of water always rested at the end of the counter.  A red 55 gallon fuel oil drum outside had a gravity feed line to the heater which was centered along the inside of the north wall.   A six foot wire hung in an arc but mostly parallel to the heater four feet below.

The old man in the bed didn’t take up much space and there would have been room next to him in that quilt covered double if need be.  The old mattress would show an indentation if he stood up.   His dog had a similar but smaller indentation in its rug lined bed on the bedroom floor.   The old man thought of Skippy a lot over the last 50 some years.   But, of course, Skippy and Skippy’s bed had been gone for a very long time.

Anyway, he wasn’t thinking of Skipper right now.  He was thinking about something on his bedroom window sill.  “What is that,?”  he thought.   He didn’t even have to lift his head off the pillow as he answered himself without moving his lips,  “Oh, its you.”

The  double hung window was open.  The lead counter weights inside the window frame itself had long ago broken away from the cordage but the window still would stay open by itself.  The window screen  kept the bird from flying right into the bedroom.  “That’s too bad,” the old man thought.

Except for a familiar feeling that some call loneliness , he had no pain.  The lake breeze blew in across his covered body.  “The feeling one gets from a lake breeze,” the old man would say to any that listened, “is like no other breeze in the world…. especially if it carries the cry of a Loon.”

The Whiskey Jack had been on that window sill before.  The old man had seen him many times over a lifetime.  His lifetime.   “My lifetime,” he thought.   Different today somehow.   ….”Whiskey Jack”…”what a neat name for a bird,” he thought.  He had heard somewhere that the Cree Indians thought the bird to be a “benign spirit.”  A “fun-loving” and “Cheerful bird”   maybe even given to “magic.”  The Cree called this little guy “Wihsakecahkw.”  This old man would have shaken his head on another day if he felt better because he knew so little about the Indian that lived along his lake shore long before the old cabin stood.   Of course, too,  he would have shaken his head about knowing so little about his Swedish Great Grandmother from Sweden lifetimes ago.  As a young women, he knew she came to Minnesota on a Steamer working in housekeeping to pay her way.   He did know that most Finlanders spoke the Swedish language.   At least he thought he knew that but it never made much sense to him as to why that would be.

The old man would have shaken his head many times before today.  “It is such a shame that  so much history was never written,” he would say.  “So much history only pasted from person to person”.   “One broken link in every chain ended every story.”  With opened eyes, the old man changed the subject and looked hard at the Whiskey Jack.

“How are you today, little guy?”  the old man moved his lips for the question with a small voice only the Whiskey Jack heard.  “I have never heard a bird speak,” he thought, “but that has never stopped me from talking to one.”   As a small boy, the old mans’ mother took him to the doctor and asked why her young son didn’t talk.   The doctor told her that her son,  “would speak when he is ready.”  The old man smiled as he laid quietly under the beige and red quilt remembering that story from his mother.   The doctor was right, the old man had talked plenty over the years.   “That was a long time ago”  he remembered.  “Maybe that is the way it is with the Whiskey Jack”, he thought.  “ I would like to ask the doctor about the Whiskey Jack and not speaking,” he thought again.   But, no one had seen the doctor for a very long time.    The old man shook is head one time slightly,  but an observer would have noticed.

The old man hoped that if he had company right now …maybe that Cree Indian that lost the old flint spear head his neighbor just found in a pile of dirt or maybe his Great Grandmother who could speak of family in another time and place .   If they did drop by,  he hoped they would wait for him to answer the door before moving on.   “Yes,”  he would answer the door if he heard a knock.    “Please let me know if you see someone coming up the lane,”  he whispered to the Whiskey Jack.    It would give him more time to get ready,  he thought.

“Where did everyone go?”, asked the old man to his friend on the sill.  To the old man it seemed like just a minute ago the cabin was full of people…….or maybe it was more than a minute.   “I don’t know,” said the Whiskey Jack.    The old man knew the Whiskey Jack “really did know”  where everyone went but for some reason refused to say.   The old man laid still and wondered why the Whiskey Jack didn’t tell him the truth.

Some time went by in the cabin on this mild summer day but, still the Whiskey Jack sat there on the window ledge.   “Its getting dark, what are you still doing here?” mumbled the old man but he wasn’t sure he was heard.   “You told me to keep an eye on your lane”,  “Oh, ……so I did,” he said, …”how long will you keep watch?”
“Not long now, ” said the Whiskey Jack,  “there is someone walking up your lane now.”

The old man closed his eyes was suddenly too busy to thank the Whiskey Jack or even smile.  He had to get ready and answer the door.

Somewhere in the north woods of Minnesota on a mild summer day, an old man readied himself without a stir.   A Grey Jay -also known as a Whiskey Jack- flew from the window sill of an old log cabin located about 50 feet from the most beautiful lake you ever saw.   In the breeze floated the distant cry of a common Loon.   An old man used to live there.

Wisakedjak (Wìsakedjàk in Algonquin, Wīhsakecāhkw in Cree and Wiisagejaak in Oji-cree) is the Crane Manitou found in northern Algonquian and Dene storytelling, similar to the trickster god Nanabozho in Ojibwa aadizookaanan (sacred stories) and Inktonme in Assiniboine myth. He is generally portrayed as being responsible for a great flood which destroyed the world originally made by the Creator, as well as the one who created the current world with magic, either on his own or with powers given to him by the Creator for that specific purpose. His name is subject to many variant forms, including Weesack-kachack, Wisagatcak, Wis-kay-tchach, Wissaketchak, Woesack-ootchacht, Vasaagihdzak, Weesageechak, and undoubtedly others. The Cree people believe the wīhsakecāhkw is a benign spirit, fun-loving and cheerful.[1] The bird is seen in Cree stories as an example of good manners and good company.[2] It was sometimes Anglicized as whiskey jack, which became an alternate name for the gray jay.

Purple Loosestrife Spotted on Mitchell Lake – Posted October 31, 2016

On August 31st, Jeanne Mevissen alerted the FLPOA to a possible sighting of Purple Loosestrife on Mitchell Lake. The sighting was confirmed, and in September, several Mitchell Lake property owners gathered together to begin removal of the seeds, flowers and plants. Thanks to Jeanne and the Mitchell Lake property owners for taking action, and to Ken Neihart for his speedy work to confirm the Purple Loosestrife.

Purple Loosestrife invades marshes and lakeshores, replacing cattails and other wetland plants. The plant can form dense, impenetrable stands, which are unsuitable as cover, food, or nesting sites for a wide range of native wetland animals including ducks, geese, rails, bitterns, muskrats, frogs, toads, and turtles. Many rare and endangered wetland plants and animals are also at risk. Click here to learn more about Purple Loosestrife, and click here to view a short training module on how to identify Purple Loosestrife.

Stories From the North Woods – Posted October 31, 2016

We all have a favorite story about a treasured time spent at the cabin or on the lake. And, as the cooler, darker days of Autumn arrive, it seems the perfect time to write about these memories. If you would like share a short story or poem about your experiences, we would like to hear from you! Please email your story or poem to flpoamn@gmail.com. We’ll post it on the web site, and send it out in the next FLPOA email update.

Cross Lake Zebra Mussels – Posted October 31, 2016

Below are a couple photos, submitted by Bob Stancer, of the log landing lifts taken out of Cross Lake around October 20th. Note the large number of zebra mussels.


FLPOA Board Meeting Minutes – Posted October 31, 2016

View the FLPOA Board Meeting Minutes by clicking on the link below.

FLPOA Board Meeting Minutes – October 8, 2016

FLPOA Board Meeting – Posted October 5, 2016

Please join us for an FLPOA Board Meeting on Saturday, October 8th, at 8:30am. The meeting will be held in the Fifty Lakes Community Center located at the Fire Station. Please see the agenda below, and everyone is welcome!

FLPOA Board Meeting Agenda – October 8, 2016

FLPOA ALERT No Wake Request  Posted on July 15, 2016

Sheriff Todd Dahl is asking for the public’s help and cooperation when venturing out on our area lakes.

Due to the recent heavy rain, our lakes and rivers are again at very high levels. Reports of docks under water and shore erosion have been reported to the sheriff’s office. Extensive wave action in these areas can cause a great deal of damage.

Please use caution when boating and be mindful of the boat waves washing into shore. A special request to Wake Boats to operate far from shores when pulling wake boarders. We also ask that you share this information with your family, visitors, friends and neighbors to help protect our shorelines from erosion.

Thanks for your continued care of the lakes and land that we love!

FLPOA Meeting Minutes  Posted on July 12, 2016

Please click on the link below to view the June 25, 2016 FLPOA Meeting Minutes.                   FLPOA Meeting Minutes June 25, 2016

Renew Your Dues  Posted on June 29, 2016

If you have not yet paid your 2016 membership dues of $20 please do so. (As of June 25, 2016, we only had 36 paid members.) We need your financial support to continue water quality testing, public launch boat inspections, lake plant surveys, invasive plant screening, zebra mussel veliger testing, and other programs. We also have recurring expenses such as insurance, memberships, and contributions to other groups such as Crow Wing County Lakes and Rivers Advocates, Friends of the Head Waters, White Fish Property Owners WAPOA, Lakes and Rivers Alliance,  Conservation Minnesota, and web site hosting. (If you pay using PayPal please consider paying $21 to cover the PayPal transaction cost of $.80.)

Click Here to Become a FLPOA Member or to Renew Your Dues.

FLPOA Annual Meeting – Posted June 29, 2016

The annual meeting will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2016, at the Foundation Building, and everyone is welcome. We will gather at 8:30am for coffee and treats and will start the board meeting at 9:00am. We plan to have a guest speaker between 10:00am and 10:30am with meeting adjourned by 11:30am. Please mark your calendar and try to attend this meeting. Last year our paid membership was at 175, and we had about 20 people at the meeting. Additionally, the current board consists of 7 members, of which 5 members have terms that expire in 2016. The president has a term limit of 2 years. (See current board member list here.) Please consider becoming a board member.

We look forward to seeing you all in August, and thanks for your continued support!

FLPOA Meeting MinutesPosted June 29, 2016                                                                                 Click here to view the May 14, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Enbridge Pipeline UpdatePosted December 21, 2015
Enbridge required to provide Environmental Impact Statement for Sandpiper Pipeline

The Minnesota Supreme Court has denied the Enbridge/PUC petitions for further review of the September Court of Appeals decision. This means that the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

The unanimous September 15th, Court of Appeals ruling in favor of FOH/MCEA contentions will stand: A comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement is necessary before proceeding with the pipeline approval process. This means that the plans for the Sandpiper pipeline cannot move forward until the Environmental Impact Statement is completed.

Thanks for everyone’s support in our ongoing effort to protect our land and lakes!

FLPOA Meeting MinutesPosted December 21, 2015
Click here to view the meeting minutes.

Friends of the HeadwatersPosted September 21, 2015
Creating some “northern Light” on the Enbridge pipeline proposals                                                         By Melodee Monicken, for Friends of the Headwaters 

What’s happening with Friends of the Headwaters?  Well, as most of you know, Friends of the Headwaters is a small, northern MN environmental group, a scrappy David taking on the daunting Canadian Goliath, Enbridge.  So last winter Friends of the Headwaters (FOH) and the MN Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) initiated an appeal regarding the necessity for an Environmental Impact Statement (an EIS) on the Enbridge Sandpiper. Yesterday, the MN Court of Appeals ruled that the PUC must provide an EIS before granting a Certificate of Need to Enbridge.

In Monday’s unanimous decision, the Court concluded that “MEPA requires an environmental impact statement to be completed before a final decision is made to grant or deny a certificate of need.” As the Minneapolis Star Tribune pointed out: “The Friends of the Headwaters argued that conducting certificate of need proceedings before completing an environmental impact statement violated the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act. The appeals court agreed.”

This is a big deal with important ramifications for MN law. And it’s a victory for FOH and the MCEA.  But nothing is “over.”  Friends of the Headwaters anticipates a strong response from Enbridge and their powerful allies. We will need your continued support going forward.

What can I do to help Friends of the Headwaters? This victory for Friends of the Headwaters/MCEA in the Court of Appeals will feel even better if our work on this case results in the comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement FOH has been requesting for the last two years.  Like you, Friends of the Headwaters believes that, if oil pipelines are needed, they should be located away from Minnesota’s most pristine water resources.   We will all need to be vigilant about not settling for an “environmental review” that fails to provide qualitative analysis and risk assessment.

You can also help us by sharing our updates, visiting our website, sharing our posts on social media, liking our Facebook page, attending our fundraisers, and donating money for FOH legal expenses.

Website: www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org

Donations: http://www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org/donate.html

Address: Friends of the Headwaters, P.O. Box 583, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/savemississippiheadwaters

We hope you will write to the governor, legislators, and newspapers announcing your emphatic support for the Court of Appeals’ decision. (Addresses included below.)

And you can weigh in with your citizen objections to the proposed Enbridge route by September 30.  (This schedule might change. Because of the Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of FOH, the schedule is unsettled. I’ll keep you posted.) Following are the addresses for the Governor, the Agency Commissioners, and the PUC:

Governor Mark Dayton, Office of the Governor & Lt Governor, 116 Veterans Service Building 20 W 12th Street, St. Paul, MN 55155 Email: Send your questions and comments to Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/ Telephone: 651-201-3400 Toll Free: 800-657-3717

John Stine, Commissioner, MPCA • MPCA 520 Lafayette Road N St. Paul, MN 55155-4194 651-296-6300, 800-657-3864, TTY: 651-282-5332 Phone: 651-757-2014 Fax: 651-296-6334

Thomas J Landwehr, Commissioner, DNR  • Department of Natural Resources – 500 Lafayette Road St. Paul, MN 55155-4040 (651) 296-6157 (888) 646-6367 info.dnr@state.mn.us

If I donate money to Friends of the Headwaters, where does it go? If you donate money to Friends of the Headwaters, we can assure you that your support is funding legal strategies to protect Minnesota’s water resources. We have no paid staff, and we don’t tap donor support to participate in far-flung marches or energy seminars. Everything you donate to Friends of the Headwaters is used to finance legal and procedural initiatives around the Enbridge pipeline proposals.

Make Donations Here: http://www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org/donate.html

What’s next? FOH president Richard Smith’s reaction to Monday’s ruling:  “During the last two years, Friends of the Headwaters made the environmental argument, the science argument, the legal argument, and the economic argument. The PUC overlooked the merits of our case. So we are grateful that the Court heard us.”

Indeed, we are grateful to have been heard. But we also know that the Court of Appeals ruling opens up many complex procedural and legal opportunities. We’re just everyday people who believe that MN lake country and the Mississippi Headwaters deserve protection for future generations so we’ll be researching experts, talking to other opposition groups, creating maps and graphics, raising funds, gathering data to buttress our arguments, and consulting with legal/procedural strategists.

Thank you for your energy, time, talent, resources, and continued support.

A Win for the EnvironmentPosted September 17, 2015
The Sandpiper Certificate of Need has been invalidated by the Minnesota Court of Appeals

Last June, the Public Utilities Commission granted a Certificate of Need (CON) to Enbridge Energy. However, environmental organization, Friends of the Headwaters, appealed the Enbridge Sandpiper Pipeline CON to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, requesting an Environmental Impact Statement be completed before approving the Sandpiper CON.

On September 14th, The Minnesota Court of Appeals decision was to “reverse and remand for respondent Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to reconsider whether to issue a certificate of need after an environmental impact statement has been completed”.  In other words, the court found the Public Utilities Commission “erred” in giving the certificate to Enbridge due to the lack of a full Environmental Impact Statement. The official appeals court ruling can be read here.

This is a giant step toward the continued protection of the land and the lakes that we love!

For more information see the following links:

Star Tribune Stories
• http://www.startribune.com/groups-want-minnesota-regulators-to-reconsider-sandpiper-pipeline-route/322855291/
• http://www.startribune.com/court-says-regulators-need-environmental-review-of-sandpiper-pipeline-project/327541511/

• http://www.minnpost.com/earth-journal/2015/09/why-sandpiper-pipeline-went-aground-appeals-court

Friends of the Headwaters
• http://friendsoftheheadwaters.org/latest-news-and-information.html

WAPOA to Host Pipeline Information Meeting on August 5th

You likely have heard of the Sandpiper Pipeline. Have you heard about Line 3, Line 67 and other proposed pipelines? Join Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) members and Friends of the Headwaters President, Richard Smith, at the Fifty Lakes Foundation Building on Wednesday, August 5th at 2:00pm to learn more.

Click to Learn More About this Event

Annual FLPOA Board Meeting Scheduled for August 8th

The Annual Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA) meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2015, at 8:30am. The meeting will be held at the Fifty Lakes Foundation Building, and Jeff Forester, Chairman of Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Alliance, is speaking. Everyone is welcome!

Click to See Meeting Agenda

WAPOA Lakes Vegetation Assessment

An aquatic vegetation survey was conducted on Whitefish Lake and its respective bays including six off chain access sites on Monday July 6th 2015. In total, 29 access sites were surveyed utilizing visual observations and the use of a double edged rake when water clarity was inadequate. Each area was surveyed with a 100 x 100 area. Surveyors recorded all aquatic plants found in the stated area. A document with all field notes is also attached to this report. This report is designed to give a general overview of all areas that were surveyed and which aquatic species were found at each location. This survey did not result in the finding of any new Aquatic Invasive Species.

Lake Vegetation Survey – July 6, 2015

Mitchell Lake CLP Report

Curly Leaf Pondweed (CLP) was reported in Mitchell Lake in July, 2014. Attached, please find an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) report for Mitchell Lake provided by the Minnesota DNR.

Mitchell Lake Curly Leaf Pondweed DNR Report May 2015

If you have comments or questions, please let us know by emailing flpoamn@gmail.com. We are always happy to hear from you!

Spring Edition of The Ripple

We hope you enjoy the spring edition of The Ripple. If you have story ideas, comments or general suggestions, please let us know by emailing flpoamn@gmail.com. We are always happy to hear from you!


Renew Your Dues – Online!

In an effort to make support and donations more accessible for members, FLPOA decided to make a change to the membership cycle. Memberships now run from June 1st to May 31st. This new timeline coincides much better with member availability. Any membership dues paid in 2015 will be good through May 31, 2016.  FLPOA is also excited to announce that members can now renew memberships or make donations online from the FLPOA web site.

Click Here to Become a FLPOA Member or to Renew Your Dues.

Crow Wing County Proposed AIS Plan for 2015

The mission of the Crow Wing County AIS Plan is to provide leadership in preventing the introduction and limiting the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in Crow Wing County by coordinating inspection, decontamination, targeted treatment, and education efforts. Learn more about this effort by reviewing the Crow Wing County AIS Plan Packet of information.

Click to View the Crow Wing County AIS Plan Packet.

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) ALERT – Curly-Leaf Pondweed (CLP) Detected in Mitchell Lake

Please click on the links below to become familiar with CLP and to learn how to detect it. If you find evidence of CLP, contact a FLPOA Board Member by clicking here.  If CLP is found early, it can be stopped. Thank you for helping to protect our lakes!

Minnesota DNR Curly-Leaf Pondweed Information

Curly-Leaf Pondweed Fact Sheet

Curly-Leaf Pondweed Training Module

Oil Pipeline Proposed Under Daggett Creek

There is a very real threat to the environment in the Fifty Lakes Area, which requires your immediate attention, the proposed Sandpiper crude oil pipeline. Many of us, particularly those who are seasonal Fifty Lakes residents, may not even be aware of the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline which would run under Daggett Creek, a mile or two north of Mitchell Lake. Learn More