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

Lake News Archives

Archived News from the Big Sand Lake area.

04/16/2024 - Ice Out

The ice went out on Big Sand on Friday, April 12, 2024 at 9:00 p.m. Congratulations to Chuck Perkins who submitted the correct guess!

View Big Sand Lake ice out history.

03/11/2024 - Spring Newsletter

CLICK HERE to read our Spring Newsletter.

03/11/2024 - Ice Out 2024

Ice out is going to be happening soon! What date do you think the ice will be off the lake? For those of you into research, check out our previous ICE OUT DATES.

To participate in the fun, please send your guess to include both date and time to Don Kilander at The deadline we will accept for submission will be 72 hours prior to the actual ice out. Those who select the winning date and time will have the honor to be recognized both on the website and at the Annual Meeting. Good Luck to all!

03/11/2024 - Upcoming Campaign for Membership and Charitable Lake Fund

Stay tuned for our upcoming Spring Membership and Charitable Lake Fund Campaign! We are excited to be able to continue our path in providing funding hours for inspections at the lake access in an effort to thwart AIS from entering our beloved Big Sand Lake.

02/20/2024 - BSLA Approved Board Meeting Minutes September 30, 2023

CLICK HERE to view the Board meeting minutes.

11/01/2023 - Fall 2023 Newsletter

To view a copy of the Fall 2023 BSLA Newsletter, please CLICK HERE.

01/05/2023 - Reminder, Be Ice Wise

Don't Let Thin Ice Crack Your Fun! Take a moment to review the ice thickness chart below. It could save you from a dangerous plunge.

Ice Safety

Click here or click on the chart for a larger view.

10/23/2023 - 2023 Big Sand Lake AIS Detection Vegetative Survey

Click here to view Survey

10/11/2023 - Hubbard County COLA AIS Committee Report

AIS watercraft Inspection program – Aaron reported 19216 watercraft inspections have been completed, with an average of 1.35 inspections per hour at Hubbard County public access locations. Approximately 300 hours of scheduled inspections remain to be completed per the 2023 program schedule. 144 decontaminations have been completed this season compared to 83 last year. The decon station is now closed for the season. No new instances of AIS being found during watercraft inspections were noted since last month. The DNR portable decon station has been intermittently operating at the Long Lake South access this fall and will be there through October.

Sharon reported that the cost of renting the current billboard located on highway 34 at the east entrance to Park Rapids is $7500 for a full year. The county will split the cost of the billboard with HCCOLA.

Sharon reported the CD3 decon unit will be installed at the Long Lake South Access this month.

The team discussed the summarized results of the brainstorming sessions and last month’s prioritizing effort. All ideas that received at least 4 votes during the prioritizing session will be added to the 2024 AIS Operating Team goals document. Sharon and Aaron will update the Goals and Accomplishments spreadsheet for the October HCCOLA meeting.

The team discussed the funding for increased AIS vegetation surveys for next year. Aaron and Bryan will work with the county to determine if the county will set aside some money from the State of Minnesota AIS prevention funds to establish a limited pot of money to supplement HCCOLA funding for AIS vegetation surveys on county lakes. HCCOLA will be exploring additional funding for this effort beyond the $4000 already allocated to the Charitable Grant program.

The next meeting of the AIS Operating Team is scheduled for November 14, at 10:30 AM in the Environmental Services Conference

09/19/2023 - Charitable Fund Committee

The Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund Committee would like to thank the following donors who contributed to the Charitable Fund from July 1, 2022, to September 20, 2023. Thanks to your generosity, the 2023 DNR watercraft inspection program at the public access was completely funded! Thanks for joining in the fight to protect beautiful Big Sand Lake!

06/27/2023 - BSLA Membership

If you have not already done so, we encourage everyone to please renew/join BSLA with a current membership for 2023. Click on the link under Membership, log in and submit your dues via credit card or PayPal. We also encourage everyone to take a moment and review your contact information, etc. in the Resident Directory by visiting the Member’s Area and logging in with your password. Membership is crucial to helping us maintain the pristine waters of Big Sand Lake and we thank all of you for your support.

09/04/2023 - 2023 Big Sand Taco Bar Social & Fun Golf Scramble, Saturday, September 9th 

Golf at 3 - 5:30 / Taco Bar 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Taco Bar Social - all Big Sand residents are invited to enjoy a beef and/or chicken taco dinner on Headwater’s new patio at 5:30pm. Drawings will be held for door prizes, plus prizes for a few fun golf contests. Reservations are greatly appreciated but not required.

RSVP - taco bar only to Jo Kilander @

BSLA Golf Scramble (5th Annual) - a non-competitive, 9-hole scramble; all levels of golfers are encouraged to participate. Five tee times have been reserved.

Register for golf by Thursday, September 7
Contact Chuck Fenton @

06/02/2023 - Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates

Governor Walz signed the "One Minnesota" legislative package into law. There were a number of measures that will protect lakes and our lake heritage. Check out the blog post for more details:

2023 Legislative Outcomes – Remarkable Progress – Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates


06/01/2023 - Hubbard County COLA

Simple actions, and tools can protect our lakes and rivers from starry stonewort and zebra mussels.
Click here to read the Enterprise article.

05/09/2023 - Hubbard County Cola

As property owners, there is a growing need for AIS (aquatic invasive species) awareness. The following is from Jeff Mosner from the Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations. Please take the time to review the recent survey results. The analysis of the 2022 Eyes on the Water Survey has now been completed. There are 4 summary reports available that can be found at

Within these reports you can find summarized statistics from the survey, including where on your lake (which sides) have "eyes". Also there is a report that shows which lakes have tested for zebra mussel veligers and spiney water fleas over the past 10 years. Another report summarizes survey responses over the past 5 years.

According to our Hubbard County AIS Program Coordinator there were no new AIS confirmations in 2022 (Woohoo!) however new infestations were noted in the following neighboring counties: Beltrami, Cass and Wadena.

And while watercraft inspections represent a huge "boots on the ground" effort to control the spread of AIS, YOUR "eyes on the water", representing early detection, has proven to be an effective way of stemming the subsequent spread of AIS to other lakes.

So, on behalf of the Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations, thank you for your continuing efforts to preserve our pristine lakes.


10:30 a.m. Registration (coffee/treats/socializing)
11:00 a.m. Annual Meeting followed by noon Family Picnic BBQ

This annual event is a wonderful time to socialize with fellow Big Sand Lake residents and to learn more about our lake association.

05/09/2023 - Ice Out

Ice out was official as of 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 6! Our closest prediction was May 4, submitted by Deb Goltz!

05/09/2023 - Minnesota Lakes & Rivers

Free Webinar May 31, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.: Wakes, waves and propeller wash - Research on the impacts of recreational boating on inland lakes. Click here to register.

04/27/2023 - Charitable Lake Fund News

Ice-out and open water will be here before we know it, which means the DNR watercraft inspection service will be in place at the public access, ready to help protect the lake from Aquatic Invasive Species infestation. Our annual Charitable Fund Committee spring campaign to raise money to fully fund this important process has officially begun!

Please make a donation to help cover the cost of this critical effort for summer 2023 by clicking here!

Read the full story about this crucial campaign...

04/06/2023 - Hubbard County COLA

Enjoy the First quarter 2023 Hubbard County COLA Newsletter: Click Here

03/02/2023 - 2023 ICE OUT Contest

Big Sand Lake winter scene

We are apparently having a second winter and a ways from ice out!  We will update as to when ice out actually occurs! Stay Warm.


February proved to be an exceptionally fickle weather month this year! Temperatures were all over, with readings from the negative range up to 48 degrees.  We need to think positively about Spring.  What date do you think the ice will be off the lake?  For those of you who are into research, check out our ICE OUT DATES tab on the Big Sand Lake website.  It might help with your decision.  

To participate in the fun, please send your guess to Don Kilander at kilanderdon@gmail.comThe deadline for your submission is March 30.  Those who select the winning date will have the honor to be recognized both on the website and at the Annual Meeting (Saturday, June 24, 2023). Good Luck to all!

02/08/2023 - 2022 Big Sand Lake AIS Watercraft Inspections Summary

The AIS Watercraft Inspection program is under the auspices of the Hubbard County Environmental Office and the DNR.  The current Hubbard County AIS Specialist, Aaron Anderson, recruits and manages the inspectors and the overall watercraft inspection program.  The DNR trains and certifies the inspectors and is available to assist with problem inspections and consultation.  Participating lakes are granted a certain number of state-funded inspection hours based on usage and other factors.  Lake associations may request supplemental hours to be paid for by the individual lake associations.  BSLA requested 1100 hours of inspections for the 2022 season of which 150 hours were allocated to the Lake Emma access.  Due to the closure of the Big Sand access during construction in 2021, 128 hours were carried over from 2021. 

Aaron Anderson submitted the following 2022 summary for Big Sand:

·   Big Sand Lake Association paid $8,580 for 390 supplemental hours (128 hours were carried over from 2021, reducing the 2022 payment).
·   BSLA received a $3,300 grant from Lake Emma Township for 150 hours
·   State funded hours 432 hours
·   Total 2022 hours: 1100 

2022 Inspection Results Summary:

·   A total of 1,532 inspections were completed
·   Number of inspections per hour = 1.36
·   Number of inspections upon entering Big Sand = 849
·   Number of inspections upon exiting Big Sand = 683
·   Number of watercraft entering from infested waters = 166
       87 from Zebra Mussel infested waters
       18 from Stary Stonewort infested waters
·   Number of watercraft entering from out of state = 111

NOTE:  Total state funded hours that have been allocated for Big Sand for 2023 will be 360 hours, which is a reduction of 70 hours from 2022.  BSLA will be paying more supplemental hours to maintain our 1100 hours of coverage.  Watch for and please resound to forthcoming requests from the Big Sand Charitable Lake Fund for AIS Donations.

02/08/2023 - Big Sand Lake Association Annual Newsletter

Stay tuned for the mailing of our annual newsletter! To read an online copy, click here. Please note it is time to renew your BSLA Membership for 2023. A membership form will be enclosed with the Newsletter, however, you can easily renew online today! Please see the Membership Tab, and renew via credit card or PayPal. You may also download a printable form and mail in your dues if you prefer. During this process, we would ask that you check your BSLA contact information and update it, if needed, by choosing Update My Information under the Membership Tab. Thank you all for updating or starting a new BSLA Membership for 2023.

02/08/2023 - Big Sand Lake Social Committee

If you have not participated in any of the social events for Big Sand, please get in touch with Jo Kilander at to get signed up for notifications with regard to these fun happenings!

11/14/2022 - As a reminder

We encourage all winter anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts on our lakes and rivers to pick up and remove their garbage and waste from the ice.

If you are done with open water fishing, now is a great time to reevaluate and clean your tackle box. Find tackle that you no longer use or want. if it contains lead, don’t throw it in your trash or recycle at home, but rather dispose of it safely at your county household hazardous waste facility.

11/14/2022 - Hubbard County Coalition of Lakes

Aaron Anderson, program coordinator for Hubbard County AIS, recapped the results of the 2022 season, and it appears that boat ramp inspections do work. See article in Park Rapids Enterprise for details.

10/17/2022 - Hubbard County COLA

Natzel ArticleGreat article in the Enterprise about Sharon Natzel. Very well deserved praise. Thank you Sharon for all your devotion to our lakes.Hubbard County COLA has one remaining meeting this year, Thursday, October 27, on AIS Prevention Program Recap for 2022 and Plans for 2023.

Click here to read the Enterprise article.

08/17/2022 - Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates

Please support them as they do a lot of good work to protect our waterways. Here is a link to their web page.

08/17/2022 - Hubbard County COLA

Please support them as they do a lot of good work to protect our waterways. Here is a link to their web page.

List of COLA remaining meetings this year:

Thursday, August 25th – HC COLA Annual Meeting Plus Presenter Sue Schiess,  HC COLA Shoreland Advisor on Kabekona Lake and UMN Extension Master Gardener of 18 years shares our updated "Lawns to Lakes:  There is a Connection" message for lakeshore owners and how we can help.

Thursday, Sept 29th - Each Lake Association HC COLA Rep to Share a Brief Two-Minute Overview of Season Highlights for their lake.

Thursday, Oct 27th – AIS Prevention Program Recap for 2022 and Plans for 2023.

09/08/2022 - Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center

Research Needs Assessment :

The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) invites you to participate in our yearly research needs assessment survey, where we receive input from people like you to prioritize research funding for the coming year.

MAISRC research projects fit into a strategic plan with input from hundreds of stakeholders across the state, and experts around the world. You can help shape our research by participating in this survey. Click the link below to begin. If you have questions, please email us. The survey will close on September 30th.


09/01/2022 - Details for Big Sand Taco Bar Social & Fun Golf Scramble

Golf Scramble

What: Big Sand Taco Bar Social & Fun Golf Scramble

Saturday, September 10th

3:00-6:00pm ⇒ Golf Scramble

6:00-8:00pm ⇒ Taco Bar Social

Where: Headwaters Golf Club



• Non-Headwaters members pay $17 for 9-hole green fees

  $32 with cart

• Headwaters members will only incur the cost of a cart, if needed

Taco Bar:

• $12.50 per person

• Cash bar - one free drink ticket per person provided by BSLA


Details:  4th Annual Golf Scramble - a non-competitive, 9-hole scramble; all levels of golfers are encouraged to participate. Four tee times have been reserved. Please register for golf by Thursday, September 8th, with Chuck Fenton at

Taco Bar Social - all Big Sand residents are invited to join the golfers on the new patio at 6pm. Drawings will be held for fun door prizes, plus prizes for a few fun golf contests. In the event of inclement weather, the taco bar will be moved indoors. Reservations are greatly appreciated. Please RSVP to Jo Kilander at

REMINDER:  Contact Chuck Fenton to sign up for golf by Thursday, September 8th. Also, let Chuck know if you plan to attend the taco bar social.

QUESTIONS:   Contact Jo Kilander at

08/17/2022 - Group Social

Saturday, August 20, 5 - 7 pm
Hors D’Oeuvres & Dessert Potluck
Steve & Liz Quadays

08/17/2022 - 2022 Ladies Group Gatherings - 2nd & 4th Mondays ~ 9 am or 4 pm

August 22 ~ Coffee - Linda Lee

September 12 ~ Happy Hour - Barb Kimmer

Contact Jo Kilander for further information

08/17/2022 - Golf Scramble at Headwaters Golf Club

3 pm golfers of all levels are invited to join in the non-competitive 9 hole scramble (details forthcoming)
6 - 8 pm Social (everyone invited, not just golfers) Taco Bar appetizers and desserts provided by BSLA
Contact Jo Kilander at

08/17/2022 - Group Social

Saturday, August 20, 5 - 7 pm
Hors D’Oeuvres & Dessert Potluck
Steve & Liz Quadays

07/12/2022 - Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center


Lake-loving volunteers are needed across the state of Minnesota on Saturday, August 20, 2022 to participate in a search for starry stonewort - an aggressive, aquatic invasive algae that can spread easily and grows into dense mats at and below the lake’s surface.

Starry Trek is an annual event where members of the public first gather at training sites to learn how to identify starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species. The newly trained participants then branch out to local water accesses to search for signs of the invasive species.


Register for Starry Trek by clicking here.

07/06/2022 - BSLA 4th of July Boat Parade

Thank you to everyone for the great 4th of July Boat Parade turnout!2022 BSLA Boat Parade

06/30/2022 - Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates

$95K grant promotes water-quality-friendly living on Mantrap chain of lakes, to read more about it, CLICK HERE.

06/09/2022 - Spring BSLA Newsletter

Click here to view and/or download the spring BSLA newsletter.

06/09/2022 - 2022 Ladies Group Gatherings - 2nd & 4th Mondays ~ 9 am or 4 pm

June 13 ~ Happy Hour - Pam Stone

June 27 ~ Coffee - Joe Kilander

July 11 ~ Happy Hour - Tara Schell

July 25 ~ Happy Hour - Carolyn Corwin

August 8 ~ Open Date

August 22 ~ Coffee - Linda Lee

September 12 ~ Happy Hour - Barb Kimmer

Contact Jo Kilander for further information

06/09/2022 - BSLA Annual Meeting and Picnic

Where: Pine Cone Lodge

When: Saturday, June 25

10:30 am Registration

11:00 am Meeting

Noon Family Picnic/BBQ

06/09/2022 - Ice Out Contest Winner

May 9, 9:30 am was the date and time of ice-out on Big Sand for 2022; and the correct guess was made by Pam Kobriger! Congratulations Pam! Thank you to everyone that participated by entering a guess.

06/09/2022 - Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates

Living With Aquatic Invaders. read article...

06/09/2022 - Hubbard County COLA

Read the 4/28/2022 meeting minutes. Click here

06/09/2022 - Park Rapids Area Calendar

Remember to visit your local Chamber of Commerce to view all the events going on in the area this summer.

Click here to view the event calendar.

06/09/2022 - Dorset Boardwalk Art & Author Festival

June 18 10 am - 4 pm

Come on out and support your local community!

03/31/2022 - Ice Out Contest

Given the slow spring warm up this year, there is still time to take a guess as to ice-out on Big Sand Lake.  Please email your guess with both TIME and DATE to Don Kilander at

The rules for the contest this year are as follows: Qualifying entries must be submitted 3 days (72 hours) before our team of observer’s rules ice out. All entries should include the date and time, as well as name and contact information.

Decision of the judges is final. Good luck to all and see you on the water!


04/27/2022 - Charitable Lake Fund

The annual Charitable Fund Committee spring campaign to raise money to fund watercraft inspection at the public access is underway! Please make a donation to help cover the cost of this critical effort for summer 2022. Donate to the Charitable Lake Fund here.

To date, Big Sand Lake remains AIS free, thanks to the diligence of your Big Sand Lake Association. Again this year, they have planned for 1100 hours of summer watercraft inspection. The state of Minnesota will cover the cost of 432 of these hours, and 128 hours have been carried over from last summer when the public access was closed for construction. That leaves 540 hours at $22 per hour, or $11,880. A $3,300 grant from Lake Emma Township reduces the total cost to $8,580, which is our campaign goal this year.


Thank you in advance for making a contribution toward this vital tool in our fight to protect beautiful Big Sand!

Chris Hilger, Ann Hilger, Linda Lee

Charitable Fund Committee

04/25/2022 - Get the Lead Out

Lake Associations have been integral partners in Get the Lead Out - reach out to your bait and tackle store partners to encourage them to join.

The MPCA has a rebate program which gives bait and tackle stores a 35% rebate on lead-free tackle purchases, (Max award of $2,000 per store). See website here for more information:

04/25/2022 - Minnesota Lakes & Rivers

Will launch both Lake Steward and Stop Starry programs this summer. For more information on either of these, please contact Jeff Forester at


Please note that Big Sand Lake Association is a member of Minnesota Lakes & Rivers, this is provided as information, and to additionally provide contact information should you wish to join and support them in their efforts.

We have seen increases as high as 110% without any improvements or changes to the property. Minnesota lakes and Rivers Advocates has a long track record of success. We are working this Legislative Session for some property tax relief. We need your support to continue our more...

04/25/2022 - The Best Plants to Protect Your Shore - A Case Study, by Jeff Forester

Click here to read the article.

04/25/2022 - Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Volunteer Water Monitoring Program

Click here to learn more.

03/31/2022 - BSLA Annual Meeting and Picnic

Our annual meeting and family picnic will be held June 25, 10:00 a.m. at Pine Cone Lodge, 19703 Grouse Road, Park Rapids, MN. We hope to see you and your family there!

03/31/2022 - BSLA Summer Socials

Reminder, we will be hosting summer socials again, with dates to be announced. There will be a Women’s Gathering planned June thru September on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, with the itinerary to be announced. If anyone is interested in assisting with this, or for further details, please contact Jo Kilander. Finally, the Annual Golf Outing & Social will be held at Headwaters Golf Club on Saturday, September 10th, so mark your calendars.

03/31/2022 - Hubbard County COLA

HC COLA 1st Quarter E-Newsletter published for your reading enjoyment. Click here to read the latest E-Newsletter.

03/23/2022 - Are You a 2022 BSLA Member?

To check your BSLA membership status, please click on the 'Membership' tab above. If you are a renewing member, and have already paid dues for 2022, the first line on the page will state 'Your last membership year is 2022'. Please do not submit payment again. We are hoping to reach, if not surpass, our goal of 165 BSLA members in 2022. We currently stand at nearly 135. Thank you to all who have renewed! We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2022 BSLA Annual Meeting and Family Picnic on June 25 at Pine Cone Lodge.

01/26/2022 - BSLA Membership Drive

It’s time to renew your Big Sand Lake Association (BSLA) membership for 2022 (or become a new member). The BSLA Annual Membership Drive runs January – December. Membership recruitment letters were mailed on January 25. If you don’t receive yours within the next 10 days or so, please contact

However, to simplify, just click on the ‘Membership’ tab in the menu above. Renewing members, please be sure to review and update your contact information. (Check your password to access the ‘Members Area’ on the website.)

BSLA is active year-round. Your dues paid now offset recurring expenses, help us prepare to be up and running with water quality testing, and other activities for the 2022 lake season. Thank you, in advance, for supporting the lake association. May thoughts of warm temperatures, beautiful sunrises/sunsets, and the clear blue waters of Big Sand comfort you while the snow is flying and temperatures are well below freezing.

01/10/2022 - Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations

4th Quarter, October - December Newsletter can be found here:

01/10/2022 - Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates

Good news, Boat cleaning stations aim to contain starry stonewart. More here:

01/10/2022 - Lake Ice Thickness Chart

 Please be mindful of ice thickness on the lake. Here is a good reminder chart.
ice thickness chart

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 StCloudWeb