Big Sand Lake Association - Hubbard County, Park Rapids, MN - original logo design by Marcia Bergland

Big Sand Lake Association

committed to the preservation of Big Sand Lake

Big Sand Lake  •  Current News & Events

Happy Memorial Day! Be safe, and remember to clean, drain, and dry!

05/21/2018 - Hubbard County Cola

As was mentioned at the most recent HC COLA meeting and posted on our Facebook page, Phil Smith from Fishhook Lake & River Association is organizing a training session with the MN DNR for AIS Volunteer Training to be held in our Park Rapids area if we have enough interest.

The MN DNR Instructor has two potential dates to check for availability/interest. The training usually takes just a couple of hours. Please email me and indicate your interest and for each date if you are available or not.

1) Wed 5/23    2) Wed 5/30

Thank you! Sharon Natzel, HC COLA President

05/21/2018 - 2018 Watercraft Inspection Funding Update

Our most recent newsletter for Spring, 2018 has been sent out.  To read a copy, please click on the above tab under newsletters.  One of the most important things Big Sand Lake Association is doing is to try and prevent AIS from entering our lake and surrounding lakes.  In that regard, for 2018 there was a goal set to raise $9,724 for Special Projects, specifically watercraft inspections.  The most recent newsletter lists everyone that made a donation for the online winter fundraising for this program.  We would like to add a special thank you to Nerissa and Michael Marzolf, who made the most recent donation to the Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund for the 2018 Watercraft Inspection Program!  Their gift put us over the finish line, and our inspection costs are fully covered this year!


Anyone still wanting to participate in our efforts to "preserve, protect and enhance Big Sand Lake and its environs" is encouraged to make a donation to our main Charitable Fund.  Or, you can designate your donation for watercraft inspection for 2019!
Northwest Minnesota Foundation | Northwest Minnesota Foundation


Thank you!
Ann Chris Hilger
Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund Co-Chairs

05/21/2018 - Minnesota Lakes and Rivers

We encourage everyone to follow Minnesota Lakes and Rivers to see what they are doing to help save the valuable natural assets of Minnesota.   Some recent successes they have had are the DNR Approved Wright County Enhanced AIS Inspection and Decontamination Pilot Program.
This is a very big deal for AIS efforts in Minnesota. Last week the MN DNR signed the permits necessary for Wright County to pilot their Wright Regional Enhanced Watercraft Inspection Program. 
This approval was a long time coming. Last year, due to delays in the DNR permitting process, Wright County was able to pilot the program for less than three weeks in late October. Now, with a full open water season, they will be able to fully pilot the program and gather enough data to improve AIS programs in Minnesota.
After being designated as starry stonewort infested, the Greater Lake Sylvia Association stepped up to not only manage the infestation, but to develop a regional inspection program to reduce the chance of spreading starry stonewort to other lakes. They set out to require 100% inspection and if necessary, cleaning of boats that enter lakes in the program. In the process they have created a pilot program that could greatly increase AIS prevention efforts in Minnesota while dramatically lowering the costs of trying to cover all of Minnesota's more than 3,000 public accesses and thousands of private and commercial access sites.
There was intense opposition to the program with articles in hunting and fishing magazines, on social media, and at the DNR Roundtable in January.

  • Met with angling groups to share the details of the Wright County program, dispel misinformation and encourage their participation in preventing AIS spread,
  • Worked to get positive news stories in the press about the Wright County plan and lake associations in general,
  • Together with MN COLA, worked to convince the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council to make "AIS Innovation" funds available to the Initiative Foundation - ultimately part of the Wright County Program is paid for with these monies,
  • Originally pushed, and then protected the County AIS Prevention Aid which helps pay for local aquatic invasive species efforts across Minnesota, including the Wright County pilot program,
  • Educated Legislators and the Governor's office to encourage their support of the Wright County Pilot,
  • Featured the Wright County Pilot at the Aquatic Invaders Summit,
  • Engaged all of you to write emails and letters to elected officials and the MN DNR, generating over 5000 direct constituent correspondences.

Last week the DNR approved the permits for a full open water season to pilot the project, learn from it, and improve it. This is the type of program that is in use in the western States that has proved to be more effective than Minnesota's current policy of intermittent and insufficient inspection. 
MLR is entirely dependent on your contributions to continue - if you value the lakes and rivers, please contribute today. Please visit their website and consider a donation to help fund their many valuable projects.   We also encourage you to follow them on Facebook, we share some of their postings on our own Facebook page as well.

05/21/2018 - Big Sand Lake Summer Events

Make sure to follow our Calendar page to keep updated on current and upcoming events, which we will also post on Facebook. Board Members have an upcoming meeting on May 26 at 8:30 a.m.


Big Sand was declared completely ice free at 8:27 p.m. on Friday, May 4th. The winner of this year's ice out contest with a guess of May 3rd is Pat Ryan. Congratulations Pat! Coming in second, was Ann Hilger with a guess of May 6, at 12:40 p.m. Guesses this year ranged from May 3rd to May 17 with most guesses between May 10th and the 17th.


For an early preview of the 2018 BSLA Spring Newsletter, click on the "Newsletters" tab at the top of this page. Newsletters are being mailed out in the next few days. Forwarding service has been requested to help cover Big Sanders who may be between their winter and summer addresses. If you do not receive your copy, please let us know by contacting

04/05/2018 - Hubbard County Board Passes New Buffer Zone Ordinance

The state Legislature passed the law requiring the buffers along lakes, rivers, streams and ditches in 2015 and updated it in 2016.

The law defines a buffer as an establishment of perennial vegetation up to 50 feet along any public waters and up to 16.5 feet along any public ditches. All buffers are to be installed on public waters by Nov. 1, 2017 and on public ditches by Nov.1, 2018.

Hubbard Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) can assist landowners in complying with the Minnesota Buffer Initiative, which requires the implementation of buffers and/or alternative, water-quality practices.

Lakeshore property owners need not worry about the buffer law if they are in compliance with county/local shoreline ordinances and the DNR statewide regulations.

Click here for more info...

03/07/2018 - University of Minnesota AIS Detectors Program

Want to get involved in the march against AIS in Minnesota? Volunteer to join the University of Minnesota AIS Detectors Program. As the threat of AIS continues to grow across Minnesota, there is a need for an organized statewide surveillance network of trained volunteers eager to make a difference. In partnership with University of Minnesota Extension, we are filling that need with the AIS Detectors program. This program provides participants with high-quality training, developed and reviewed by AIS experts. Participants will 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. We offer training each spring so that material is fresh for new volunteers as the summer season begins. You can find the list of workshop dates and locations for 2018 in the FAQs below. Registration will open in March 2018.


More information is available at the link below:

Charitable Lake Fund

Learn More About the Big Sand Charitable Lake Fund

View Details Here

Social Media

Share photos and
Follow us on Facebook


View Us on

website by CloudDigital