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 Before 2018

Archived News from the Big Sand Lake area prior to 2018.

12/12/2017 - Hubbard COLA News

Sharon Natzel, President of Hubbard COLA provided the following:

Click here to see the 2017 results of the watercraft inspections.

Click here to see the reports of the 2018 Supplemental Funding information.


Please note that Bill Don Carlos, the current Hubbard County AIS Program Coordinator is resigning to take another position elsewhere, with his last day being December 22, 2017.  They are actively looking for a replacement.

09/22/2017 - New Big Sand Resident Directory in Process for Publication

As a service to all residents, the Big Sand Lake Association (BSLA) is preparing a new, print Resident Directory for publication and delivery next spring or early summer and updating the password protected On-Line Resident Directory.

Your help is needed. Many residents have already been contacted by a neighborhood representative and have updated contact information. Please note:

  • If you have received an email or letter from a neighborhood representative, please respond by completing the contact form and submit it as directed. 
  • If you have not been contacted, click here for a copy of the contact form.

Purpose of a Resident Directory:

  • A resident directory provides lake residents a level of safety with the ability to contact neighbors quickly in the event of an emergency, etc.
  • A resident directory provides a sense of community.
  • The print Resident Directory will include a map of the roads and addresses around the lake.


  • The Resident Directory is restricted for use by Big Sand residents only.
  • Each resident on the lake in the directory will receive one complimentary copy courtesy of BSLA.
  • Extra copies will be available for purchase.
  • Membership in BSLA is not necessary to be included, although each resident is encouraged to join.


  • Volunteers from each of the 15 Big Sand neighborhood areas are contacting residents to update contact information. Click here for a list of the volunteer neighborhood representatives.
  • If you have not already confirmed or updated your contact information, please respond promptly to the phone message, email or letter from your representative.
  • Contact information currently in the on-line directory may be reviewed here. If you cannot access the directory, send a message to
  • Information received will be collated for publication by a volunteer committee - Bonnie Brand, Sue Fenton, Barb Kimer, Lisa Moore
  • Resident Directories will be distributed next spring or early summer

08/11/2017 - Recent News Articles of Interest

On Saturday, August 5, volunteers hunt for  Starry Stonewort,  MN’s newest Invader


The Star Tribune has an excellent 2-Part Article entitled "Zebra Mussel Surge Imperils Lake Life" which can be accessed through the HC COLA website under News on the Home Page, or click on the following links:


Part 1:

Part 2:


Although there was a brisk breeze and a few short intermittent showers, 55 hearty Big Sanders registered for the Big Sand Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 24th, and 75 plates were served at lunch. The new location at Wick and Holly Corwin's provided a spectacular view of the lake and lots of shade had we had our usual warm, if not hot, weather on that day. If you missed the meeting, the minutes will be posted in the Member's Area after the Board of Directors approves them at their meeting on July 15. Highlights of the meeting include: a very informative presentation about the functioning of the Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund by Chris and Ann Hilger, Advisory Board co-chairs; explanation of Big Sand's water quality monitoring programs; an update on AIS prevention efforts; election of new board members - Bob Bray as President-Elect, Lisa Moore, Sue Fenton and Matt VanBruggen as new board members; and birthday cake and singing to celebrate Betty Corwin's 94th birthday.


There was a great turn out for the boat parade in spite of a mid-week holiday. The weather was spectacular and easy boating for all. Photos were taken of each boat participating. When we figure out the best way to share them, we will let you know how to access the photos.

06/19/2017 - Big Sand Annual Meeting - 10 a.m. on June 24th
*** Note Location Change

The 2017 Big Sand Annual Meeting and Family Picnic will be held at Wick and Holly Corwin's, 19727 County Rd. 40—not at Evergreen Lodge as previously announced. Limited handicap parking is available at the bottom of their driveway. Otherwise park on Hope Drive (which connects with County 40 slightly to the east, towards Lake Emma). Passengers can be dropped off by using the driveway numbered 19765 (Dick and Carolyn Brammel).


Come to meet and greet with fellow Big Sanders with coffee and donuts and view interesting and informative display tables from 10-10:30. During the meeting portion of the event hear from Ann and Chris Hilgers new co-chairs of the Big Sand Charitable fund, be informed on AIS inspections, Big Sand’s water quality monitoring program, and all of the activities of your Big Sand Lake Association. Immediately following the meeting, approximately 11:30, enjoy a pulled pork picnic lunch provided by BSLA. There will be birthday cake for dessert in celebration of Betty Corwin’s 94th birthday. Child care available by contacting or 612-267-7355.

03/30/2017 - AIS Watercraft Inspections are Finalized for 2017

The schedule has been set by Bill DonCarlos (AIS Coordinator) with input from BSLA for Big Sand's AIS watercraft inspections for the 2017 season. There will be a DNR certified inspector at the Big Sand access on Saturday and Sunday of fishing opener. Then on Thursdays thru Sundays on the following two weekends. Beginning Thursday, May 25th, (Memorial Day weekend) thru September 4th, (Labor Day) an inspector will be on duty everyday. In September and October the access will be covered on weekends. In addition, BSLA provided 38 extra hours of inspection at the Lake Emma access which has direct flow into Big Sand on some high traffic weekends.


The schedule for most shifts is for 8 hours - either 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. or 11 a.m.-7 p.m. However, some 10 hour shifts have been arranged especially during the July 4h week.


BSLA paid Hubbard County AIS $13,024 on March 1st for 704 inspection hours — $3,300 of that will be reimbursed to BSLA from the Lake Emma Healthy Lakes Partnership grants program. Funding from the State of MN paid for 396 inspection hours for a total of 1,100 hours in 2017.


Inspecting watercraft launching into Big Sand is no guarantee that our lake will continue to be AIS free. However, it is the best protection we have available at this time. Thank you to all who generously contributed to the 2017 AIS fund through the Big Sand Charitable Lake Fund to make so many hours of coverage possible.

03/30/2017 - Evergreen and Pine Cone Participate in AIS Prevention

Thank you to Dan Dyre and Evergreen Lodge for hiring a watercraft inspector to be at the resort for 4 hours each Saturday during the time that guests are launching watercraft at Evergreen. Pine Cone Lodge, which does not have a launch area at the resort, instructs all guests bringing watercraft to Big Sand to have their crafts decontaminated prior to coming to the resort. BSLA is appreciative of these efforts. If you stop for gas at Evergreen or see Dan, be sure to thank him for the financial investment he is making to help protect Big Sand.

04/18/2017 - The Ice is Out

The "impartial judge" for this year's ice out contest declared the "official" 2017 ice out date and time to be Friday, April 7 at 4 p.m. That was when the judge canoed across Big Sand from the north shore all the way to the access. "Winner" of the 2017 ice out contest will be revealed in the Spring issue of the Big Sand newsletter due out in early to mid-May.

04/18/2017 - Slides and Videos Available from March 20th AIS Event

If you missed attending the AIS prevention event, "Help! We Are Surrounded", at Riverside Methodist Church on March 20th. Click here to read about and listen to the informative sessions that were presented by Jeff Forester, MN Lakes and Rivers Executive Director, Nicole Kovar, Park Rapids DNR office, Bill Don Carlos, Hubbard Couny AIS Prevention, and Dan Kittilson, Hubbard County COLA.


Jeff Forester pointed out that Hubbard County is currently free of any major AIS infection. However we are now surrounded by counties and lakes with AIS that threaten our lakes and communities. Last summer, Detroit Lakes (to our West) was pronounced to have Zebra Mussels as well as Leech Lake (to our East). Red and Turtle Lake (to our North) have Starry Stonewart as well as Lake Koronis (to our South).


According to Forester, everyone, even those who don’t fish, swim, boat or otherwise enjoy the lakes, has a stake in the local tourist economy and tax base that is threatened by AIS. As he pointed out, 60% of the tax revenue in Hubbard County comes from lake property assessments. That means that if Lake Property values decrease due to AIS infestation everyone in Hubbard County gets a tax increase to fund our schools and county government.


Become more informed about AIS threats and how average citizens can be become involved in local AIS prevention.

02/13/2017 - Update on 2017 Watercraft Inspections for Big Sand

BSLA (Big Sand Lake Association) submitted a request for a total of 1,100 hours of AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) watercraft inspections during the 2017 season (May through October) to the Hubbard County AIS Program Coordinator. This request provides 100 more hours than last year to provide coverage during the good fishing month of October and additional hours during high traffic times to help keep Big Sand free from zebra mussels and other invasive species. The total hourly rate for watercraft inspections is $18.50/hr which includes funding for program management, salaries and other related expenses.


The State of MN will pay for 396 inspection hours for Big Sand. BSLA will pay for the remaining 704 hours. BSLA has submitted a request and expects to receive approximately $3400 from the Lake Emma Township Healthy Lakes Partnership Grant Program when funding will be finalized in April.


As required by Hubbard County, BSLA must submit payment of $13,024 by March 1st for the 704 supplemental inspection hours Big Sand requested for 2017 before any reimbursement is received from the Lake Emma Healthy Lakes Program. To accommodate meeting the large amount of funding needed for AIS protection, a special AIS Project Fund has been established as part of the Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund held by Northwest MN Foundation in Bemidji. A letter requesting donations to this fund was mailed to all Big Sand residents in December. To date, approximately $11,525 has been received. Thank you to the 49 generous Big Sand residents who have responded so far. Please see the article below for information on how to donate to the AIS fund. Any excess funds raised will be retained for future AIS prevention programs.

01/06/2017 - Advocacy Action Needed Now to Help Prevent New AIS Invasions

MN Lakes and Rivers, an advocacy organization that BSLA supports, with a membership, sent the following message:


   "Yesterday the 2017 Minnesota Legislature began. There are many new legislators, and Republicans hold majorities in both the House and the Senate. As they begin to set their agenda for the upcoming session, it is critical that lake home and cabin folks write to them and let them know that protection of lake and river heritage is a core, bi-partisan Minnesota value.

    Now is the time to contact your legislators and educate them about one of the biggest threats to this heritage, a new invasive species called starry stonewort. Starry Stonewort, a species of algae, was discovered in Minnesota for the first time in 2015 around the public access site on Lake Koronis."


Starry stonewort is fast becoming an equal to zebra mussels as the most worrisome of invasive species. Initially discovered in Lake Koronis, located in Stearns County southwest of St. Cloud, starry stonewort has been identified in 7 more lakes in Minnesota. Without aggressive efforts, it will spread exponentially, similar to how zebra mussels are now spreading. An article appeared in the Park Rapids Enterprise on December 10, confirming the on-going spread with the identification of zebra mussel larvae in nearby Leech Lake.


Click here to read more about this issue and a convenient link to reach MN legislators.

01/06/2017 - It’s a Deep Freeze But Big Sand’s Little Christmas Tree is Still Glowing

2017 brought the arrival of deep freeze temperatures to Big Sand. If you have been checking Big Sand’s weather on the website from a warm locale, you might marvel at the below zero temperatures being recorded. The temperature on the morning of January 4th was 15 below, with a wind chill of -41. The hardy folks who live at the lake year-round are enduring, and with no other choice, taking the weather in stride. For a warming sight, check out the east facing webcam and the warm lights of the Christmas tree placed in front of Evergreen Lodge. It will stay lit for a couple more weeks to brighten the long winter nights. Currently sunset is around 4:45 p.m. CST and sunrise not until 8:05 a.m.

12/22/2016 - 2015/2016 Watercraft Inspection Summary Report

We received the summary reports for the 2016 AIS watercraft inspections from Don Carlos, Hubbard County AIS Program Coordinator. Click here for just the Big Sand summary for 2016 and 2015.

12/22/2016 - COLA December 2016 Newsletter

Click here for a copy of the recent Hubbard County COLA (Coalition of Lake Associations) newsletter. Of special interest is the last article about the ‘Aquatic Invaders Summit held in October. That article includes links to several informative presentations at the conference including:

  • A 3 1/2 minute video, "Aquatic Invasive Species: An Underwater Perspective" which features a segment on Starry Stonewort, the newest and perhaps most devastating invasive lake weed, To see the video only, click on the link: "Summit kicked off with a special video."
  • "Economics Impacts of AIS" which focuses on "How Much Do Private Citizens and LGUs (local government units) Spend to Protect Public Water." Conclusion of that study is that counties in MN that spend more money on prevention have minimal AIS compared to other counties. Hubbard County, which for now is AIS free, ranks third in AIS spending statewide.
  • "Invasion of zebra mussels" links to a report showing the timeline of zebra mussels spreading from Russia to inland lakes with Minnesota now having the highest rate of spread.

Dr. Peter Sorenson from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, University of Minnesota, presented information,on establishing “Ecosystem Protection at a Local Level: A Bold, New Step in AIS Prevention”. To hear an interview with Dr. Sorenson done by MPR at the conference, click on this link:

12/05/2016 - NEW PROCESS FOR AIS DONATIONS - Due by March 1, 2017

Hubbard County is changing the process for lake associations to pay for boat inspector hours. In 2017, full payment for the entire season is due by March 1st. - far in advance of when BSLA dues and donations have been collected in the past. To accommodate this new process, the BSLA Board is recommending that all AIS donations be paid to the Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund held by Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Click here for full explanation which also appears in the Fall/Winter Big Sand newsletter.

11/30/2016 - Fall/Winter Big Sand Newsletter

The Fall/Winter issue of the Big Sand newsletter is at the printer and will be in the mail shortly. If you do not receive your copy by December 16, please contact


Click here for an advance copy with photographs in color.

12/02/2016 - First Snowstorm Hits Big Sand on November 18

Big Sand received between 8 and 10 inches of beautiful, heavy wet snow on Friday, November 18. There was damage to some trees due to the high winds and power was out for awhile in several locations around the lake.


For some photos, click here.

12/02/2016 - Update onPublic Access Development

The DNR tore down the remaining garage, cleared all debris, and filled in the foundation on the lot adjacent to the public landing on Thursday, November 17 - just before the first snow. Further development of the property is not scheduled at this time.


According to an October 17 DNR press release, Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Lower Cullen Lake and nearby Lake Hubert in Crow Wing County by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. These and other zebra mussel findings are “due to vigilant lake property owners, lake service providers and watercraft inspectors checking docks and lifts coming out of the water this time of year,” according to Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. (Please note the article ‘INSPECTION IS CRUCIAL: Help Keep Big Sand AIS Free’ below on this page)


The press release stated that a resort owner contacted the DNR after finding several zebra mussels on a boat moored at the resort on Lower Cullen Lake, and a county watercraft inspector and a lake service provider business, both trained by the DNR, spotted adult zebra mussels on a boat lift as it was removed from Lake Hubert. DNR invasive species staff found and removed more zebra mussels on an adjacent dock and at a three-foot depth in the water. Click here to read the complete October 17 press release.

10/03/2016 - INSPECTION IS CRUCIAL! Help Keep Big Sand AIS Free

Help protect Big Sand from aquatic invasive species. Our primary concern at this time is a zebra mussel invasion. Zebra Mussels continue to spread to more lakes in Minnesota (see item below) and have been identified in nearby Detroit Lake.


Early detection is the best way to possibly control an infestation. Please carefully inspect boats, docks, lifts, or other water-related equipment when they are removed from the lake this fall, or instruct your service provider to do so. On smooth surfaces, young zebra mussels feel like fine sandpaper. Juveniles are about the size of peppercorns. Adults can be two inches long, but most are less than an inch.


Big Sand Lake Association has purchased and dispersed 20 zebra mussel samplers to volunteers around the lake for inspection this fall. More of these samplers will be available next season. However, it is important for every dock, and all water related equipment to be inspected. Click here for photographs of juvenile zebra mussels and instructions for reporting a possible finding.

10/03/2016 - DNR Confirms Zebra Mussels in 4 More MN Lakes

In a September 22 press release, the  Department of Natural Resources has confirmed four new reports of zebra mussels in Minnesota lakes: Lake Sallie in Becker County; Lake Andrew in Douglas County; Lac qui Parle in Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Swift counties; and Big Birch Lake in Todd and Stearns counties. Click here for the complete press release and a photograph of zebra mussels in comparison to a human hand.


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed Minnesota's third and fourth cases of the invasive algae starry stonewort, in Upper Red Lake in Beltrami County and Cass Lake, within the Leech Lake Reservation in Beltrami County. DNR staff also confirmed starry stonewort among heavy native plant growth in a northeast section of Cass Lake, near the Knutson Dam on the Leech Lake Reservation. Further investigation will reveal the extent of the infestation and potential treatment options on Cass Lake. The second case of starry stonewort in Minnesota was confirmed earlier this month in Turtle Lake, also in Beltrami County. The first was confirmed one year ago in Lake Koronis, 185 miles due south of Turtle Lake. Click here for a complete copy of the press release.

08/05/2016 - Big Sand Social Event

Approximately 50 Big Sanders of all ages enjoyed a delightful evening on the north end of the lake on Saturday, July 30. Thank you to the Corwins for hosting. Plans are underway for another social at the end of August or in early September. Stay tuned for details.

08/05/2016 - Archaeologists Working Next to the Public Access

For the past week or so a group of archaeologists have been digging at the property which the DNR purchased in 2015 next to the current public landing. They are with the MN Historical Society and have been contracted by the DNR to explore the site. So far they have found some arrowheads, pottery pieces and animal bones. If you have found any artifacts on your property, they would be interested in seeing them. They will be working there again next week (August 8 -11) starting at noon on Monday through noon on Thursday.

08/05/2016 - Aquatic Invaders Summit II, October 5-6

MN Lakes and Rivers is again promoting an opportunity for lake associations and all who work to protect waterways in MN from aquatic invasive species (AIS) to hear the latest information available and to share prevention strategies. The second Aquatic Invaders Summit will be held in St. Cloud on October 5 and 6. For more information about the summit and registration material click here.

07/22/2016 - Summary/Minutes of the BSLA Annual Meeting

On Saturday, June 25, approximately 70 Big Sanders attended the 28th BSLA Annual Meeting at Evergreen Lodge. A family picnic was provided following the meeting. Click here for a copy of the minutes of the meeting, or on the BSLA Information/Board Minutes tab in the left-hand column of this page.

07/22/2016 - Summer Storms, Heavy Rain and a Heat Wave

During the night on Saturday, July 16, and again on Wednesday, July 21, heavy thunderstorms with winds estimated at 70 miles per hour blew through the Big Sand area causing loss of many trees, damage to some homes and power outages. Compounding the storm on the 21st, was a heat wave with temperatures in the 90’s and high humidity. Itasca Mantrap reported nearly 3,000 customers without electricity. As of this writing, several Big Sand homes have been without power for more than 24 hours. In addition, Big Sand received 2 inches of rain on July 7, 4.5 inches on July 10th and the 11th with some areas receiving much more. The good news is that the lake level is up. Mother Nature continues to amaze us.

06/14/2016 - Renovation at the Public Landing

The existing house on the lot the DNR purchased next to the public landing has been sold and is in the process of being moved off the property. When heavy equipment was sighted at the landing last week, a representative from the BSLA Board requested an update from the DNR. Dave Schotzko, Area Supervisor, DNR Parks and Trails, responded with the following information: "We hired a contractor to remove the trees next to the house and then the house will also be moved next week (June 13-17). May take a few years to get a design and cash to build the site but once we have preliminary design plan, we will share with the Lake Association".  For photos, go to the Big Sand Lake Facebook page.

04/20/2016 - Ice Out - Finally!

Big Sand is now ice free as of noon on Saturday, April 16. It has been reported that the ducks, geese and loons are enjoying the open water. The winner and runner up of the "Big Sand Ice Out Contest" will be announced and a trophy presented at the Big Sand Annual Meeting and picnic on June 25 from 10 noon at Evergreen Lodge. So, hold your breath! Mark your calendars and plan on attending the exciting Annual Meeting.


Big Sand is projected to have DNR watercraft inspectors at the public landing during the 2016 season for approximately 1000 hours at $17.50 per hour for an estimated cost of $17,500. BSLA submitted a grant request to the Lake Emma Healthy Partnerships and will receive $3,400 for AIS expenses. Additionally, Big Sand will receive $6,930 from the state. The BSLA membership will be contacted concerning AIS expenses when more detail is known for conducting watercraft inspections during 2016.


In 2015, Big Sand had 1058 hours of inspection between fishing opener on May 9th to the end of October. A private donation in 2015 of $1000 enabled Big Sand to continue inspections on weekends during October. Click here for a chart of 2015 inspection details for Big Sand and other Hubbard County lakes.


Since the beginning of the AIS watercraft inspection and decontamination (WID) program, Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has been the managing agent for the program. However, in January, 2016, due to SWCS’s increased workload, Julie Kingsley, SWCD district manager, submitted a request to transfer WID responsibilities to Hubbard County. The request was approved in early February. Hubbard County is in the process of hiring a full time AIS coordinator and will be the managing agent for the AIS inspection and decontamination program. For more information, click here for the January 9th Park Rapids Enterprise article concerning the SWCD’s request.

01/29/2016 - The Match is Met! Update from the BSLA Charitable Fund

The BSLA Charitable Fund has met the match!  Last summer, an anonymous donor offered $25,000 if donations of $25,000 could be raised.  We chose an arbitrary date of Jan 1, 2016 to meet that match.  We are pleased to announce the Match is Met!


More than 100 lake residents plus additional friends of Big Sand Lake have contributed to the Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund since the fund’s beginning Fall of 2009. The fund is administered through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.


Thank You to all who have contributed over the years!  Thank You to our anonymous matching gift donor!  Thank You to all who donated to meet the match!


Fund raising will be an ongoing effort since moneys may be spent from the spendable portion of the Charitable Fund.  Items such as boat inspections at the boat ramp and water quality monitoring may be paid for through this fund.  We know that many lakes in Minnesota have experienced various invasive species and if we would be so unfortunate to have that happen, we are financially prepared to address the problem.


Donations are encouraged to continue building the fund for the future protection and preservation of Big Sand Lake!

01/29/2016 - Study Indicates Boats, Not Birds, Spread AIS

A BSLA member forwarded a link to an interesting article from the Wisconsin DNR. Quoting from the article,


“Preliminary results from systematic monitoring of Wisconsin lakes for aquatic invasive species confirm that boaters, not duck or other birds, are spreading the invaders around, State and University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers say. None of the wilderness lakes surveyed - those in remote places and easily accessible only to wildlife - had any invasive species present while there was a direct link between the presence of invasive species and boat access from public and private property.”


Click here to read more. The article is dated March 5, 2013. Seems that this concept warrants more follow up. Stay tuned!

12/17/2015 - No Big Sand Christmas Tree But Swan Viewing Is Possible

With open water still on Big Sand, there will definitely not be a Christmas tree for the webcam this year. However, beautiful swans can be seen swimming by occasionally on both the east and west facing cameras. Click on the Downtown Park Rapids camera for a view of the Christmas tree on main street. Snow and colder temperatures are expected for a possible white Christmas at the lake.

11/04/2015 - Summary of 2015 End of Year AIS Inspections Data

Attached is copy of the 2015 End of Year Boat Inspections Data for all of Hubbard County. Looking at the results for Big Sand, we had a total of 1058 inspector hours at the public landing during which 1,626 inspections were done at a ratio of 1.5 inspections per hour. 1000 inspections were conducted on watercraft entering Big Sand with the remaining 626 inspections on those exiting the lake. Of the 1000 entering the lake, 144 were from out of state and 98 came from infested waters. Click here to see the complete results for Hubbard County.

11/04/2015 - 2016 Proposed Inspection Hours and Approximate Costs

BSLA board members Bonnie Brand, Al Judson, Candy Malm and Irene Weis attended the November 18 COLA meeting to discuss allocations for inspection hours and process for getting commitments for supplemental hours by January 31, 2016. The rate for inspection hours is $17.50 per hour which covers salaries, taxes, and oversight by HCSWCD (Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District). Big Sand’s estimate is 1000 hours of inspections matching our 2015 estimate. (If you recall, the BSLA board voted to pay for an extra 58 hours to cover weekend hours during October 2015.) State funding is preliminarily allocated to pay for 396 hours on Big Sand, leaving a commitment from BLSA to fund the remaining 604 hours for an estimated $10,570. Click here for complete county-wide data.

11/24/2015 - Paddle Boarding on November 15 - Snow on the 18th

We received a November 15th photo of a paddle boarder on the south end of Big Sand. Go to the Big Sand Lake Association Facebook page to see that photo and others. It was reported to have been a beautiful day with no wind and about 56 degrees. Then winter-like weather arrived 3 days later on the 18th with snow and daytime temperatures in the low 20’s. The Downtown Park Rapids webcam currently shows snow remaining on the streets in Park Rapids. Up until the recent change in the weather, this fall has been unusually mild. Big Sand is far from icing over which means that there may not be a Christmas tree in front of the east facing webcam this year. Stay tuned!

11/24/2015 - Fall Newsletter in the Mail and on the Website

The Fall Big Sand Newsletter is being mailed to all residents on Big Sand. For non-residents and preview viewing, click here or click on “Newsletters” in the left hand column on this page. Included in this issue: Nancy Wentzel’s remembrances as a Big Sand resident since 1945; Mimi Long’s article on the importance of AIS efforts for the entire Mantrap chain of lakes; Richard Sederstrom’s entertaining report on the current and historical state of Big Sand’s water quality and cisco population.

11/24/2015 - Results from DNR's Annual Electrofishing for Young Walleye Count

One evening in late September, strange activity was observed on Big Sand. What appeared to be some type of large vehicle with lights and weird beeping noises was creeping along near the shore of the lake. Curiosity prompted a contact with Dough Kingsley, DNR Fishers, who con-firmed that the vessel was the DNR’s electrofishing boat equipped with a generator and flood lights conducting the annual survey for estimating the ‘young of the year (YOY)’ walleye abun-dance.


Mr. Kingsley provided the following information. “Since we don’t stock Big Sand with walleye anymore, this estimate is used as an index of walleye natural reproduction. We have been doing that sampling almost every year since 1998. Attached is a .jpg with a chart of results. Although YOY walleye abundance was somewhat lower in 2014, we have seen some very impressive results in recent years, and a generally increasing trend. We think that improvement may be due to the special walleye regulation that provides some protection to walleye brood stock. The results from last week’s sampling was about 30 YOY walleye per hour electrofishing, a pretty good increase from last year. Those types of fluctuations are very typical of naturally repro-ducing populations. Click here for a chart of the YOY results 1998-2014.

10/31/2015 - Give to the Max! Help BSLA Meet the $25,000 Match

though BSLA is not participating in the state-wide 'Give to the Max' day on November 12 (4.5% of the donations would be taken out), you can still 'give to the max' with a direct, tax deductible donation to the Big Sand Charitable Fund. Simply click on the 'Donate Now' button in the right hand column on this page.

10/31/2015 - Data from Watercraft Inspections May - September

The following information was sent to us from Candy Malm who received the following information at the COLA meeting on October 29th. We will report the data from the October inspections when available.


Big Sand Summary (5/9/15 through 10/9/15 - no October data yet)


Total Inspections  1587
Entering  984
Exiting  603
Drain Plug in on arrival  21
Plants, animals, water or mud found   22
Entering from infested waters  97
Entering from out of state  143


# of inspections - 1587
Hours - 1018.5
Inspection per hour - 1.56


County-wide data on inspection hours is on the COLA website if you are interested.  (

10/31/2015 - More Bad News from the DNR

News releases from the DNR continues with a string of zebra mussel reports.


October 23rd - Despite Treatment, 16 Zebra Mussels Confirmed in Christmas Lake. read more...

October 19th - Zebra Mussels Confirmed in Becker County’s Lake Ida and Stearns County’s Lake Sylvia. read more...

October 8 - Zebra Mussels Reported in Two Mn Lakes (Lake John and Bryant Lake). read more...

10/31/2015 - Some Good News from the DNR

On October 12th, a DNR news release stated that "DNR Begins Zebra Mussel Pilot Project Treatment." read more...

10/15/2015 - News Flash! Big Sand Now Has a West-Facing Webcam

We are excited to announce that our goal of installing a second Big Sand webcam for views of lake conditions looking west and our stunning sunsets has finally come to fruition. Click on the ‘Webcam’ tab in the left-hand column on this page. A fly-out menu will appear for Webcam #1 - East View (Evergreen location) and Webcam #2 - West View . Links have been added to the new webcam page for viewers to connect to webcams for Itasca Park Headwaters and the loon and eagle webcams available from MN Bound. We hope you enjoy the new view.

10/15/2015 - Good News for Dorset

Companeros announced on their October 13th Facebook posting that a couple from the Companeros family is going to start the new Companeros and Dorset House. Crowdfunding will help with the expenses. Details for the crowdfunding will be announced soon but contributors may purchase a board (with their names on it) for the new boardwalk. For complete details go to the Companeros Facebook page. While you are in Facebook, search for the Big Sand Lake Association page. There are some great photos including several from the August social at the Candor cabin.

10/15/2015 - Membership Update — Do Your Part to Support Big Sand Lake

The 2015 membership count for the Big Sand Lake Association stands at 145 out of 225 listed properties on the lake. BSLA membership dues are important to pay for on-going testing for water clarity and monitoring for zebra mussel veligers (precursor to infestation), installation and maintenance of marking buoys plus many other activities such as this website and the webcams. If you have not yet renewed or joined the lake association, we encourage you to stand up and do your part to preserve, protect and enhance Big Sand Lake. Click on the membership tab on the left-hand menu now to quickly take care of that responsibility. Thank you in advance and to all 145 residents who are current members.

10/15/2015 - Great Progress for "Meet the Match" Fundraising Challenge

As reported earlier an anonymous donor will contribute $25,000 in matching funds for new donations made to the Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund during 2015. Thanks to generous donations are pleased to report that to date approximately $19,500 has been raised. Our goal is to meet the match of $25,000 by December 31. If you have not yet contributed, an easy way to do so is to click on the "Donate Now" button on the right-hand side of this page.

08/04/2015 - Great News > Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund

Make a splash - girl jumping in water

RAISE $25,000 + MATCH GIFT $25,000 = $50,000


It was announced at the BSLA Annual Meeting on June 27th that an anonymous donor will contribute $25,000 in matching funds for new donations made to the Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund during 2015. A letter with more information and a donation form will be mailed to all Big Sand residents in mid-August. Donations are Encouraged from All who enjoy Big Sand Lake! If you wish to make a donation to help preserve and protect beautiful Big Sand Lake for current and future generations, please click on the ‘Donate Button’ in the right hand column of this page. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!

08/04/2015 - Good News > BSLA Membership Update

As of July 30, membership in the Big Sand Lake Association stands at 134. Total membership at the end of 2014 was approximately 160, a considerable jump from the original 52 members in 1989 when BSLA was first organized. The expectation is that that number of memberships received by the end of 2015 will be at least 160 but hope is that the number will be exceeded — perhaps even reaching 180 memberships. If you have not yet renewed, or are a new resident, or perhaps have never been a BSLA member, please click on the appropriate membership link in the ‘BSLA Information’ tab in the left hand column of this page to support Big Sand Lake with your membership. If you are a frequent visitor to this website and not a Big Sand resident or have a direct link to the lake, the “Friends of Big Sand” is a membership category available to you. More information is available in the last article on this page.

08/04/2015 - Terrible News > Zebra Mussel Spread

The DNR has sent out news releases on five different occasions since the beginning of July announcing new discoveries of zebra mussels in seven different Minnesota lakes or rivers:


• July 2nd, Lake Eunice in Becker County

• July 6th in Fish Trap lake, Morrison County

• July 10th in Forest Lake, Washington County

• July 17th in Clearwater Lake in Wright and Stearns Counties, Ruth Lake in Crow Wing County; and the Red River bordering northwest Minnesota

• July 27th, in Big Cormorant Lake in Becker County.


Please note that two of the discoveries are in Becker County which is next door to Hubbard County.

08/04/2015 - More News > BSLA Annual Meeting

The 26th Annual Meeting of the Big Sand Lake Association was held on Saturday, June 27th, 2015. Approximately 80 Big Sanders attended. If you were unable to attend, Click here for the minutes and summary of the meeting.

06/13/2015 - BSLA Supports Advocacy Groups

The BSLA board voted at the May 23rd meeting to continue support for three advocacy groups - COLA, Conservation Minnesota, and MN Lakes and Rivers. Direct links to these groups have been added to the 'BSLA Information' tab in the left hand-column on this page. The minutes of the May 23rd BSLA Board meeting will be posted on the website when approved, no later than June 22nd when the next board meeting will be held.

Become a Friend of Big Sand

Whether you are a frequent "in-person" visitor to Big Sand or one who only enjoys visiting Big Sand via the webcam, we encourage you to become a “Friend of Big Sand”. This membership category is available to non-residents of Big Sand. The annual dues of $20 will support the activities of the Big Sand Lake Association to preserve, protect and enhance the lake we all love. Click on the "Membership" tab in the left hand column for a convenient on-line, credit card payment process. The option to download and mail in payment is also available.

05/19/2015 - Ice Out Dates 2013-2015

2013- May 4; 2014 - May 14; 2015-April 7

02/16/2015 - DNR Update on Development of Public Landing

On behalf of the Big Sand Lake Association, Candy Malm, BSLA President, recently contacted Tony Walzer, Acquisition and Development Specialist, DNR Division of Parks and Trails, for an update on the status for development of the public landing. In Mr. Walzer’s response he stated that, "The project has been put on our development project priority list for future development. The next step is to submit a requisition for services for building disposal.  Once this is done, the federal aid review can be conducted to obtain the necessary cultural and environmental clearances, …" In addition Mr. Walzer noted that, " Due to recent expenditures to acquire multiple parcels to consolidate a larger site for a future water access facility elsewhere in Becker County, the Bemidji Area Parks and Trails office does not anticipate any further water access development after this summer/fall until 2017."  Click here for a complete copy of Mr. Walzer's response.

02/06/2015 - DNR Takes Action on Deforestation for Agriculture

The DNR has taken action on the issue of converting forest land into agricultural. An article in today’s (Feb. 6) Star Tribune reports that “state regulators have ordered a broad environmental review that will temporarily halt conversion of the region’s jackpine stands to potato fields”. Click here for the article. We don’t know if the DNR is reacting because of the article in the Star Tribune on Sunday, Feb.2 Star Tribune (See item below: Looming New Threat . . “ for a copy) or were on top of the issue already. The BSLA Board will continue to monitor the issue as it affects the Big Sand watershed and surrounding areas.

02/04/2015 - Looming New Threat - Deforestation for Agriculture

A front page article in the Star Tribune on Sunday, February 1, highlighting the Park Rapids area, states that “forests of central Minnesota — a region that has the state’s highest deer densities and that protects a largely pristine but vulnerable aquifer — are being cleared at an accelerating pace, and regulators are scrambling to find a way to protect them. It’s part of a bigger, mostly invisible transformation … Since 2006, some 275 square miles of natural land in the Upper Mississippi watershed has been converted to row-crop agriculture, according to a new University of Minnesota analysis — much of it sandy soils and forests where no one ever expected to see farming”. Click here for complete article.

02/04/2015 - DNR Delays Training Requirement

On January 28th, the DNR announced they were postponing the launch of the AIS training program and trailer decal program. Currently the Legislature is discussing changes or repeal of the statue passed in 2012 that would require all trailers transporting water craft and equipment to have a decal which could be obtained only after completion of a short training. The statue is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2015. (See our 1/24/2015 article on this page)


The DNR “supports the education that would be provided under this law, but recognizes there are some concerns with the way the law is currently written." Because the training and decal are not required until July 1, the DNR says that there will be time to see what action the Legislature implements and for people to take the training course and receive decals. Updates on the requirement will be posted on

02/04/2015 - Contact Legislators with Your Opinion on the AIS Training

Legislators do value the opinion of constituents when deciding how to vote on particular issues. In our January 24th posting, we note  a request to voice opinions about not repealing this law (see article in “Lake News Archives”). A quick, easy, on-line training to satisfy the requirement for obtaining the required trailer decal discussed in the above article has been developed and is ready to go. There is even a temporary version for a mobile device to be available at public landings for those who were not aware of the requirement.


We encourage you to contact your legislator concerning the required AIS training. To find your legislators go to and enter either your home or lake (or both) address. If possible please also contact:

Senator John Marty (651) 296-5645, chair of the Senate committee currently considering the repeal in the Senate (bill S.F. 0085)

Representative Tom Hackbarth (651) 296-2439 or, chair of the House committee currently considering the repeal in the House (bill H.F. 50)

01/24/2015 - Heartland Bike Trail Extension to Itasca Park

 A recent article in the Park Rapids Enterprise states that the DNR has announced that the “Heartland Spur” trail is on its high priority list and included in the draft of the “Minnesota State Parks and Trails System Plan”. The Heartland Spur is a proposed extension of the Heartland Trail from Park Rapids to Itasca Park. Click here for a copy of the article.

01/24/2015 - Required Training for Anyone Who Owns a Boat Trailer

Tim Conley, BSLA board member, forwarded information he received when renewing some licenses about a new AIS training law that goes into effect on July 1, 2015. This law requires that anyone owning a trailer to transport boats or other watercraft must complete invasive species training and display a trailer decal. The training will be on-line or available in a paper version and take approximately 20-30 minutes. Like boat licenses, training and new decals will be required every 3 years. Cost of the training has not yet been determined. More information and a full FAQ list can be found at

01/24/2015 - Controversy About and Move to Repeal the Training Law

We recently received an email from Rivertown Communications, Inc. stating that there is an effort in the legislature to repeal this training law, (Minnesota Statute 86B.13) and encouraging people to contact their legislators to retain the law. Rivertown Communications has developed a training program that would take less than 30 minutes and cost $5 or $11 depending on the version. Their training program is ready to go and includes an option for persons who arrive at a boat landing who may not have heard of this requirement to quickly obtain an instruction and a temporary permit from a mobile device. Full training could then be completed when the person returns home. Click here for a copy of the message.


There is controversy over the law. An article in the January 3, 2015 issue of the Park Rapids Enterprise by guest columnist, Gary Korsgaden, presents some of the pros and cons on this issue. Click here for a copy of the article.

01/07/2015 - Summary of 2014 DNR Activities State-wide

The December 31, 2014 DNR news release provided a summary of the DNR accomplishments achieved in 2014. Click here for the full report.

12/05/2014 - Thank You to all 2014 BSLA Members

The final count for the 2014 Big Sand Lake Association membership stands at 157 members. Thank you to each and everyone for your support. It is greatly appreciated . We are looking forward to the 2015 lake season and hope to grow our membership. All Big Sand residents are encouraged to become a member of the association and support the work to protect and preserve Big Sand Lake for current and future generations.  Non-residents can support BSLA by becoming a “Friend” (see last item on this page).  A BSLA membership/renewal form will be included with the May newsletter. However, why wait? 2014 members can renew for 2015 on line at any time by going to the ‘Members’ tab on this page. New members can do so anytime after January 1, 2015.

11/17/2014 - Winter Has Arrived

The Park Rapids area and Big Sand received the first measurable snow of this winter season on Wednesday, November 5. A photo taken that day along Iowa Beach Road is posted on the Big Sand Lake Association Facebook page. Temperatures have been hovering in the teens and low 20’s with overnight lows at zero or slightly below. Ice has started to develop along the shore. Check the webcam daily to observe the process as the lake becomes totally ice covered.

11/17/2014 - Hubbard County AIS Plan for Utilizing 2015 State Funds

Hubbard County’s portion of state revenue for AIS prevention and management was approximately $112,100 in 2014. The projected amount for 2015 is $249,244. Attached is the Hubbard County 2015 AIS Plan that was developed by the Hubbard County AIS Task Force and submitted to the DNR for approval. The plan, approved by the County Commissioners on November 4th, documents how the State AIS Funds will be applied in 2015. Click here for a copy of the plan. Click here for a list of the Hubbard County AIS Task Force members.


An excellent source of information on the State AIS Prevention and Funding program is available from the link below.  We encourage all of you to become familiar with its contents.

10/28/2014 - One More Thing to Worry About: Pine Bark Beetles

The issue of Pine Bark Beetles was discussed at the last BSLA Annu-al Meeting. A concerned BSLA member did further research on the topic and forwarded the following information. Please click here to read more:

09/25/2014 - 'Cabin close-up' a time to inspect boats and water equipment for invasive species

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources asks every cabin and lakeshore owner to watch for aquatic invasive species (AIS) when removing docks, boat lifts, swim rafts and other equipment from the water. "Since those items have been in the water for several months, now is the ideal time to spot invasive species that may be attached to them," said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. Click here to read more.

09/25/2014 - Zebra mussels discovered in 2 Crow Wing County lakes

Adult zebra mussels have been found in Gilbert and North Long lakes in Crow Wing County, resulting in both lakes being designated as infested, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The lakes are located near Brainerd. Click here to read more.

09/07/2014 - Fire Destroys Dorset House and Companeros

It is assumed that an early morning lightning strike caused the fire that completely destroyed the Dorset House and heavily damaged Companeros in the early morning on September 4th. For photos, go to Photo Galleries/Photos (1980 - Present) and then select "Misc" from the drop-down menu on this website or the Big Sand Facebook page. The Park Rapids Enterprise will have more information. Click here for a link to the KARE 11-TV news story about the fire.

08/04/2014 - Big Sand Inspections

View a PDF of the Big Sand Lake Summary from 5/9/14 through 7/20/14

08/04/2014 - County-wide Inspections

View a PDF of the Hubbard County Watercraft Inspection Summary from 5/9/14 through 7/20/14

07/10/2014 - Big Sand Annual Meeting Summary is Available

The rain held off and the BSLA annual meeting was held outdoors at Evergreen Lodge on Saturday, June 28. Approximately 70 Big Sanders attended the meeting and enjoyed the picnic lunch provided by the association. The minutes of the meeting provides a summary of the event and can be found on this website by clicking on the menu item in the left-hand column, “BSLA Information/BSLA Board Minutes/2014 Annual Meeting Minutes

07/10/2014 - Boat Parade Photos are Available

Spectators and participants both enjoyed another successful Fourth of July boat parade at Big Sand. Photos of each of the 42 boats in the parade can be viewed at the Photo Galleries section on the website — click on that menu item, then on Photos (1980 -present). Then click on the drop down menu in the white box at the center top of the page (may say ‘Scenic Views’) to choose ‘Boat Parade - 2014.’ Photos of individual boats may be downloaded to your own files. If you want more information on how to do this, contact

07/10/2014 - Zebra Mussels Found Near Detroit Lakes

A DNR press release on June 27 confirmed that zebra mussels have been found in Lake Melissa, southwest of Detroit Lakes. A citizen discovered the zebra mussels earlier in the week while collecting shells on the south end of the lake, near the outlet structure. A subsequent DNR press release on July 3 announced a second confirmed discovery of zebra mussels in Becker County. more

06/23/2014 - BSLA Annual Meeting and Picnic Saturday, June 28, 10 a.m.

Make plans to attend the Big Sand Lake Association’s Annual Meeting this coming Saturday, June 28. Gather with friends and neighbors at Evergreen Lodge at 10 a.m. for coffee and rolls; informative table displays. Hear an update on the status of the public access and other BSLA projects and activities. Speakers this year are Kathy Grell, County Commissioner for our area, discussing the county’s forest management activities and Melodee Moniken from Friends of Headwaters discussing activities concerning the Enbridge pipeline proposal. A picnic lunch will follow the meeting at 12 noon. Everyone on the lake is encouraged to attend. Click here for the compete agenda.

06/23/2014 - "Cabin Trust" Webinar on July 9, 1 -2:30 p.m.

MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates is offering a free webinar (watch from your own computer) about planning for future family ownership of family cabins and how changes to the MN gift tax may impact that planning. Membership in MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates organization is not required to participate in the webinar. For more information, click here.

04/15/2014 - DNR Annual Report to the Legislature on AIS Work

The link below will get you to the DNR's annual report to the legislature on AIS work.  It is well done, but long.  if you want to hit some highlights go to:

1) Pages 10-13  give a good summary of all new AIS infestations in 2014 and
regional summaries. Note the Region 1 Summary on page 12...Hubbard County
did about 75% of the LGU inspections in the whole region.  Wow!
2) Pages 22-24 provide a good summary of state wide DNR  inspections and
compliance levels
3) Pages 31-35  give a good summary of all inspection results.

05/6/2014 - Big Sand Ice Out on May 4

The very last of the ice which had been blown along the south shore of the bay was totally gone by 3 p.m.on Sunday, May 4th. Big Sand is now totally Ice free.


There were two contest entries for May 4 -- one for 9 a.m. and the winning guess by Linda Johnson at 1:15 p.m. With the extremely long, cold winter, many thought we might have had ice until June. 

Archived 04/15/2014 - Update on Big Sand Lake Board Activities

Archived 04/15/2014 - Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund

Celebrate the Past *** Prepare for the Future


Support Beautiful Big Sand Lake ~ The Beautiful Lake You Enjoy.
Please Consider a Donation to the Big Sand Lake Charitable Fund. The Fund currently has approximately $40,000 in
assets; Project Fund (spendable) $35,000 Endowment Fund (non-spendable) $5000.

The Goal: Raise $100,000 for the Project Fund ~ by December 31, 2013. Help Make The Goal A Reality!


Click here to download the full story, or click on the "DONATE NOW" button in the right-hand column of this page.

Archived 04/15/2014 - DNR Has Elected to Purchase the Boggs Property

Tim Conley, BSLA board member requested and received the following information from Tony Walzer, DNR Acquisition and Development Specialist: “The DNR has sent a Notice of Election to Purchase the property to the landowner on November 22, 2013. Unless some title issues arise that cannot be resolved, the DNR will conduct the process to complete this transaction. More information about the DNR previously posted on the website Background information

Summary of Background Information Regarding DNR Purchase

On Saturday, September 28 2013, a public notice was posted in the Park Rapids Enterprise announcing that the DNR had signed a two month ‘option to purchase’ the property adjacent to the Big Sand public landing for the purpose of expanding the public access. (The ‘option’ would expire on Nov. 23, 2013). The notice announced a public comment period up to October 31, 2013. On October 5, the BSLA Board voted to send a letter to the DNR opposing the purchase for purposes of expanding the public access. The DNR, responding to a request by BSLA, held an informational meeting at the Lake Emma Township Hall on Saturday, October 26. BSLA learned that as of October 31st, comments from 75 people had been submitted to the DNR – 60 in opposition and 15 in favor of the DNR purchase to expand the access. On November 19, the DNR held an open house about the project at the Community Room at Northwoods Bank. At the open house the DNR agreed to meet with a couple Big Sand residents on Friday, November 22, to listen to an alternative suggestion for improving the access without expanding to the adjacent property. Later that day the DNR exercised the option to purchase the property. Articles previously posted concerning this issue are available in the “Lake News Archives” section on this website.

02/25/2014 - Sandpiper Pipeline will pass through Park Rapids area

Please take a moment and read the following information from Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates about the Sandpiper Pipeline which will pass directly through Park Rapids and surrounding areas. For further information, there will be a pubic meeting held in Park Rapids on March 12 from 11 - 2 p.m. at the Park Rapids Armory, located at 203 Park Ave. South.

Summary of November 19, DNR Open House

Approximately 50 – 60 people attended the November 19 DNR Open House about the Big Sand access. There were 7-8 representatives from various DNR divisions and offices. Representative Roger Ericson and Representative Steve Green were also in attendance. the full summary

More Information on Nov 19, DNR Open House about the Public Access

More information about the purpose of the DNR Open House on November 19 was made available In the email below from Tony Walzer, DNR Bemidji Office, to Tim Conley, BSLA board member. The DNR’s Open House about the Big Sand access will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 19, in the Community Room of Northwoods Bank in Park Rapids.



The DNR has not purchased the Boggs property and still only has an option on the property which would most likely be extended if the landowner agrees to a longer period of time. The open house is being held to provide more specific information about the potential acquisition and conceptual plans for improvements. This information was requested at the lake association/member meeting last Saturday. The open house is also being held to obtain any more comments about the proposal, whether the transaction occurs or not.


DNR Open House for Big Sand Public Access

The DNR is hosting an open house discussion about the acquisition of the Bogg's property and design concepts on Tuesday, November 19, from 5- 7 p.m. at Northwoods Bank. More details to follow if available. The DNR will also post a notice of the meeting in the Park Rapids Enterprise.

Saturday, October 26 meeting with the DNR

DNR's Tony Walzer and interested individuals dialogued for 2 hours Saturday Oct 26 at the Lake Emma Township Hall concerning the DNR's option to purchase the Bogg Property adjacent to the existing access.  Tony presented 4 Major Concerns regarding the current Big Sand Lake Public Access: Non ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant,  Need to improve AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) Prevention, Safety ,and Storm Water Runoff.  He indicated the DNR has an option to purchase the Bogg property but does not have a structured plan for the development of the new access.  Tony indicated many comments have been received related to the access expansion.  The DNR is grouping the incoming comments until the announced comment period ends Oct. 31.  The DNR will then reply to the comments.  Tony suggested there will be an open house in November for comments on the proposed access.


The DNR currently has a 2 month option, that could be extended, to purchase the Bogg property for $360,000.  If cancelled the DNR would forfeit $500.  At this time, Tony indicates the DNR does not have a developed plan for the new access.  Therefore, the development costs and total package costs are unknown.


Jon and Mary Monson, Big Sand residents presented an access plan utilizing the existing parking lot and existing access.  The plan addresses and implements the 4 areas of DNR concern. The plan provides for a permanent AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) Wash Station. To implement this plan, costs are estimated to be contained under $200,000.  Click here to see a copy of the plan.


Now is the opportunity for Friends and Users of Big Sand Lake to Comment on the proposed access changes.  Please direct your comments to

BSLA Letter of Opposition to DNR Plans for Public Access

As previously noted, the Big Sand Lake Association Board of Directors voted to oppose the DNR’s plan to purchase the property adjacent to the public access for the purpose of expanding the access as posted in the Park Rapids Enterprise on September 28.  Click here for a full copy of the DNR notice. Click here for a copy of the Board’s letter of opposition. The letter was mailed to all contacts on the list via the October 2013 Big Sand newsletter. That issue of the newsletter can be found on the ‘Newsletter’ page found on the left-hand side menu. We encourage everyone to send their personal comments.


Comments will be accepted from the public concerning the DNR proposal until 4:30 p.m. Thursday, October 31, 2013. Comments can be sent to David Schotzko, Area Supervisor, Department of Natural Resources, Parks & Trails Division, 3296 State Park Road NE, Bemidji, MN 56601 or, however, he has requested and prefers all comments be made via regular mail.

Win a Free Membership – Participate in the Newsletter Survey

The October newsletter is being emailed to all addresses available in the Big Sand database.  We are doing this to update residents on the DNR plan to expand the public access and, secondly, we are conducting a survey to assist us in the gathering of Information for the possibility of ‘going paperless’. Anyone responding to the survey on-line to will be entered into a drawing for a free 2014 BSLA membership (worth $40).

DNR seeks applications for spending oversight committees

(Released October 10, 2013)
Minnesotans who would like to serve on committees that review how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) spends game and fish fund dollars should submit an application by Friday, Oct. 25 more

New Infested Lakes – Please check your docks this fall

The DNR has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Maple Lake in nearby Douglas County after responding to a report of zebra mussels attached to the wheel of a boatlift in the lake earlier this month. DNR staff searched several docks and lifts and near shore areas in Maple Lake and found numerous small zebra mussels attached to several pieces of equipment in the north end of the lake. Further searches found additional small zebra mussels at the south end of the lake.

Pictorial Guide for Checking Docks and Lifts

Please carefully check your docks and other equipment taken out of the lake this fall for any indication of attached zebra mussels. Early identification is critical for possible containment. Download a pictorial guide on where to look for possible attached zebra mussels. If you are not able to do it this fall, mark your calendar for next spring or ask your lake service provider to do it for you before putting your equipment back into the lake. So far, Hubbard County has escaped any infestations. Let’s keep it that way. To report anything suspicious, call Hubbard County Soil and Water, 218-732-0121. They will come out to confirm any sightings. Do not remove a sample on your own.

10/09/2013 - Charles H. Corwin Passed Away

Longtime lake resident Charles H. Corwin passed away October 9, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona. Charlie was a great historian of Big Sand Lake and he will be missed by many. He leaves behind a legacy, and if you haven't read his story about the lake in the early years, click here. To view Charlie's obituary, click here.

10/05/2013 - BSLA Board Votes To Oppose Public Access Expansion

The Big Sand Lake Association (BSLA) met Saturday, October 5, to discuss and determine a position concerning the proposed DNR plan to purchase the property adjacent to the current access in order to expand and improve the public access. The board voted to oppose the plan and send a letter of opposition to the appropriate officials. Said letter of opposition will be posted here in the very near future. To see what actions the BSLA Board agreed to take, please click here


We have heard that the DNR has purchased the property adjacent to the Big Sand public access for more than $300,000 for the purpose of improving/ expanding the boat access. A legal notice was published in the Park Rapids Enterprise on Saturday, September 28, announcing a public comment period concerning the DNR proposal.  The Enterprise does not publish legal notices on line. Click here for a copy of the full notice. Anyone wishing to register comments to the DNR concerning this proposal to expand the Big Sand public access have until 4:30 p.m. Thursday, October 31. To express your comments contact David Schotzko, Area Supervisor of the DNR, at or via U.S mail at the address listed in the notice.. We encourage everyone to take note of this!

To read the article that appeared in the Park Rapids Enterprise regarding the proposed expansion of the lake access, click here.

09/16/2013 - Rainy But Fun End of Summer Social

It was a rainy evening but that did not deter approximately 50 Big Sanders, ranging in age from toddler to 70+, from attending the end of summer social at Evergreen Lodge on Saturday, September 14. Everyone enjoyed the good food, the good time and catching up with everyone. . Thanks again to Kay Dyer and Dan Dyer for hosting us at the Evergreen Lodge, and to Candy Malm and Linda VanBruggen for their work in organizing the event. There was discussion of arranging for some future get-togethers this fall and winter. Watch for the October BSLA newsletter, your email and the website for updates and notices.

07/16/2013 - Zebra Mussel infestation in Whitefish

DNR News Release of new Zebra Mussel infestation in Whitefish chain of lakes. Read the DNR article here (

07/16/2013 - Disturbing News - Zebra Mussels Found in Near-by Cross Lake

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials Friday confirmed the discovery of a small number of adult zebra mussels in Cross Lake and Lower Hay Lake — two of the 14 lakes in the Whitefish chain near Brainerd. Click here ( for an article that was in the Brainerd Dispatch on July 12.

05/31/2013 - Zebra Mussels in the News -- Not Our Little Sand Lake

The DNR news release yesterday (May 30) states that “a citizen report of adult zebra mussels attached to a dock removed from Sand Lake (in northern Itasca County) last fall has been confirmed …. Preliminary searches of connected waters have resulted in the confirmation of additional zebra mussels in Little Sand Lake.”. Please note that this is not the Little Sand Lake in our chain of lakes in Hubbard County.


This discovery of zebra mussels was reported by a private homeowner who his was preparing to install his dock which had been stored on shore for the winter. As he inspected the dock, he found dead zebra mussels attached to it and immediately reported it to the DNR. Click here for the complete news release.

05/31/2013 - Important to Check Docks and Other Lake Equipment

As evident in the story above, it is important to carefully check docks, boat lifts and any other items prior to installation in the lake this season In addition to a visual inspection for attached mussels, rub a hand over areas that have been in the water. If those areas on the lift feel like sand paper, it may indicated the presence of juvenile zebra mussels. Immediately report any concerns you may have to the DNR Invasive Species Specialist, Park Rapids, 218-699-7293.

05/23/2013 - AIS Update from the DNR

For a summary of the DNR’s plans for stepped- up AIS prevention in 2013 click here. In addition, the article includes a recap of the 2012 enforcement and inspection activity and an explanation of the current citations and fines. For more information about AIS laws, a list of designated infested waters in Minnesota and contact information for AIS specialists throughout the state is available at

05/21/2013 - AIS Inspections at the Big Sand Access

Regularly scheduled boat and trailer inspections at the Big Sand access began this past weekend. Currently inspection hours are scheduled for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 6-10 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. Extra coverage will be added for next Monday for the Memorial Day weekend. Aaron Zierke has been assigned as the primary inspector for our access. Stop by and say hello if you are passing by.

05/14/2013 - Ice Out at Big Sand

May 14 has been declared by our appointed local judge as the day that Big Sand is ice free. With temperatures predicated to be in the 80’s today, the few patches of ice floating around should be gone by this afternoon. Tom Kimer is the winner of the ice out contest with the closest guess of noon on May 10. To see a list of the entries, click here. Thank you to all who participated in the contest.

05/06/2013 - AIS Decontamination Unit To Be Located in Dorset

The DNR will be installing an AIS decontamination unit in Dorset this summer on DNR property between the bike trail and Johnson’s on the Water. There will be 3 individuals trained specifically to operate the unit who will be on call and available to come and decontaminate boats that have been denied access to any lake in Hubbard County due to AIS concerns

05/06/2013 - Open House at Pine Cone Lodge May 17

See the completed project of the new ‘family reunion home’ at Pine Cone Lodge on Big Sand Lake on Friday, May 17, 4-7 p.m. Click here for full details. The new home sleeps 12. Pine Cone also has other recently renovated cabins for rent year round. Big Sand residents who rent a cabin for overflow guests or a winter stay will be given a $40 rebate that could be used to pay Big Sand Lake Association membership dues. More information about Pine Cone can be found at or contact Bonnie at

05/06/2013 - Grants Awarded for 2013 AIS Prevention

Big Sand Lake Association has been awarded a Lake Emma Township Healthy Partnership grant for a total of $5000 for the hiring of AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) inspectors this summer. Because what happens at Lake Emma directly affects lakes downstream, $500 of that amount is designated for inspectors at the Lake Emma access across County Rd 40 from Big Sand. Little Sand was awarded a grant of $3000 with $400 of that dedicated for Lake Emma inspectors.

03/18/2013 - Environmental Organizations Wanting Your Attention

BSLA has been recently been contacted by both MN Lakes and Rivers (formerly MSRPO) and Conservation Minnesota to pass on information about their organizations and the work they are doing to protect MN lakes.


Click here for the letter from Jeff Forester at MN Lakes and Rivers.

Click here for the Conservation Minnesota message. Both organizations provide an opportunity for you to receive emails about current and upcoming legislation in the MN House of Representatives and MN Senate. Both provide links for you to easily follow legislation and to contact your legislators.


Both organizations are asking support through membership or donations for the work they are doing. Whether you decided to join or donate -- or not, both organizations have websites that provide interesting and helpful information about efforts to preserve and protect our lakes.

03/18/2013 - Interesting Dynamic Map Showing Progression of Zebra Mussel Infestions Across the Nation

Click here for an interesting map showing the spread of zebra mussels in U.S. from the first indication in 1986 to 2010.

03/18/2013 - Park Rapids is Hosting This Year’s Governor’s Fishing Opener – Volunteers Needed

Click here for details about the Park Rapids Governor’s Fishing Opener and a Volunteer Application for either of the two events listed below or to serve as a “Fishing Host” (first 110 qualified volunteers with boats will be selected)


Volunteers are needed for two events on Friday, May 10: more

02/08/2013 - Indication of Zebra Mussels in Lake Winnibigoshish

Zebra Mussel veligers were detected in Lake Winnibigoshish. Not good news. It requires declaring several lakes in the chain as infested. Please see the press release below.

01/18/2013 - Updated list of MN Infested Waters

The DNR is updating their infested waters list (zebra mussels p.15). This list will be effective February 11 and will be available on the DNR website soon. Of note is the listing of Lake Winnibigoshish in Cass County because of the zebra mussel veligers that were found in a water sample taken this past summer. Please remain vigilant!

01/18/2013 - New Invasive Species Specialist for Our Area

Christine Herwig has accepted another position within the DNR as the nongame specialist out of Bemidji, and that the invasive species specialist position for our area has been filled by Joe Eisterhold. He has been the invasive species specialist in New Ulm since 2008, so you will be in good hands! Joe officially starts February 13. His contact information is:

27841 Forest Lane

Park Rapids, MN 56470

Office phone: 218-699-7293 Fax: 218-699-7299

01/18/2013 - Zebra Mussel Monitoring Activity in November

It's November but not too late to complete one of the most important steps for monitoring Big Sand for zebra mussels. If you have not already done so, please check your dock and any other equipment that spent time in the lake this summer. Download a pictorial guide on where to look for possible attached zebra mussels. If you are not able to do it this fall, mark your calendar for next spring or ask your lake service provider to do it for you before putting your equipment back into the lake. To report anything suspicious, go to

New zebra mussel infestations confirmed by DNR

The DNR update published on October 23rd discusses the conclusion of zebra mussel field work on Lake Irene and Rose Lake and the confirmation of finding new zebra mussel infestations in Otter Tail County. Please read this PDF document for more information.

DNR officials offer advice to citizens reporting possible aquatic invasive species discoveries

The Minnesota Department of Resources (DNR) Invasive Species Program recently made several confirmations of new aquatic invasive species (AIS) infestations in lakes around the state. The DNR urges more

Conservation Minnesota – a Resource for Legislative Issues

Conservation Minnesota is a non-profit of affiliated organizations dedicated to protecting Minnesota's environment through legislation. Quoting from their website: "At Conservation Minnesota, we turn your love of Minnesota's Great Outdoors into the laws that protect it. And we provide reliable information to help you make important decisions for your family, community and future." Click here for more information and to sign up for email updates on legislative issues concerning the Minnesota environment.

Become a Friend of Big Sand

Are you a frequent visitor to the Big Sand website but not a Big Sand resident? We invite you to become a 'Friend of Big Sand'. Download a membership form and mail in to become an official 'Friend of Big Sand' (available to non-residents only). Annual dues of $20 will support the activities of the Big Sand Lake Association to preserve, protect and enhance the lake we all love. One BSLA goal is to add a second webcam for views of the stunning Big Sand sunsets.

DNR officials offer advice to citizens


DNR officials offer advice to citizens reporting possible aquatic invasive species discoveries


The Minnesota Department of Resources (DNR) Invasive Species Program recently made several confirmations of new aquatic invasive species (AIS) infestations in lakes around the state. The DNR urges people who think they may have discovered an aquatic invasive species to contact the DNR immediately or bring it to a local DNR office for verification.

"If people have a true concern about something they've found that might be an AIS, we want to check it out immediately," said Christine Herwig, invasive species specialist in Park Rapids. "We will respond quickly. Although not all reports end up uncovering actually infestations, we believe it is always better to be safe than sorry."

After a report is received, the DNR's first step is to obtain the sample from the individual who discovered it. If the specimen is confirmed as an invasive species, DNR fisheries and AIS crews survey shorelines and lake bottoms near the reported discovery sites. A typical survey involves shoreline searches in the immediate area of the discovery and lake bottom surveys in open water.

Herwig offers these suggestions to those who think they may have made a discovery:

  • Place the specimen in a bag or other container to keep it intact; if the specimen is an animal (e.g., snail, zebra mussel, spiny water flea), pour rubbing alcohol on it to preserve the animal.
  • Take a photo of the suspected invasive species.
  • Mark on a lake map or GPS the exact location where the specimen was found.
  • Contact the local DNR office immediately to arrange transport to a DNR official.
  • Email a photo and the location of the possible discovery to a local DNR office.

"We appreciate the reports we receive from citizens," said Herwig. "The DNR and citizens are in this together, so we need to work together to deal with AIS issues."

Minnesota law prohibits the possession or transport of any aquatic invasive species in the state unless it is a sample being transported directly to a DNR office for identification. AIS include, but are not limited to, zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas.

Boaters and anglers need to continue to take extra precautions when using lakes to avoid spreading AIS to new waters. Boaters are required by law to:

  • Remove aquatic plants, zebra mussels and other prohibited species from boats, trailers and equipment before transporting from any water access.
  • Drain all water from bilges, livewells, motors, ballast tanks and portable bait containers before leaving water accesses or shoreline property.
  • Remove the drain plug, open water draining devises, and drain bilges and live wells; the drain plug must be removed or open when transporting a boat on public roads.

It is also recommended that people spray or rinse boats with high pressure and/or hot water, or let them dry thoroughly for five days before transporting to another body of water.

Boaters are also reminded of a new law that went into effect July 1. Boat lifts, docks, rafts and related equipment removed from any water body may not be placed in another water body until at least 21 days have passed.

A zebra mussel volunteer monitor report form is available online for lakeshore owners to complete and send to the DNR, even if zebra mussels are not found. That for can be accessed at
To find the local DNR office, visit or


More information about aquatic invasive species is available on DNR website at

GFO – Volunteers Needed Friday, May 10th


  • Kids Fishing Event from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM at Northern Pines Camp – 5 volunteers are needed to help the 4th graders bait hooks with worms, untangle lines, remove hooks from fish and release the fish, etc.  You should bring your own comfortable life jacket to wear all day and a water bottle. Don't bring any of your own rods/reels/tackle.  Nadine Meyer, MN DNR MinnAqua Program will have a set of tools for each of the volunteers to use.  However, if you have a favorite "fishing" jacket with tools for removing fish hooks and scissors for line you may bring that.   Lunch will be provided. A current fishing license is required. Click here for other volunteer requirements and expectations. On the Volunteer Application in the "Other Section" -  indicate your desire for a position at the "Kids Fishing Event".

  • Community Picnic in Downtown Park Rapids from 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM – 25 volunteers are needed to help with DNR-related activities.  Some examples include Practice Casting, Knock Down Your Limit, Dragonfly Lifecycle, Would Your Drink This Water, Shoreland Buffer & Invertebrates.  Shift One will be from 3:15 to 5:30 PM.  Shift Two will be from 5:15 to 7:30 PM.  The first team will train the second shift for the 15 minutes in overlap. Shift Two will need to have eaten prior to their shift.  There is a Setup Team that is needed from 12:30 to 2 PM.  A Cleanup Team is needed from 7:30 to 8:30 PM. On the Volunteer Application in the "Other Section" - indicate your desire for a position in the "COLA / DNR-related Activities".   


DNR seeks applications for committees

The DNR is seeking at least 12 to 14 people to serve on the Fisheries Oversight and Wildlife Oversight committees. Appointees will be responsible for reviewing the agency’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, write a report on the findings of this review. About half of the current members’ terms expire Dec. 14, and are subject to this open application.

Though not well known, Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is the fiscal foundation for much of the state’s core natural resource management functions. Upwards of $95 million a year is deposited into this fund from hunting and fishing license sales, a sales tax on lottery tickets, and other sources of revenue, including a reimbursement based on a federal excise tax on certain hunting, fishing and boating equipment. The dollars that flow into this fund pay for the fish, wildlife, enforcement and ecological management that support 48,000 jobs in Minnesota’s outdoor recreation and hospitality business.

Interested applicants can learn more by reviewing past Game and Fish Fund reports.

Zebra Mussels Found Near Detroit Lakes

A zebra mussel was discovered in Pickerel Lake located 7 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes. The lake is land-locked and will be designated as infested. A citizen found the zebra mussel In on Saturday, June 28, while scuba diving on the west side of Pickerel Lake by the public water access. The zebra mussel was found attached to a rock in 13 feet of water. With the help of other scuba divers, searches continued Saturday and Sunday, but no additional zebra mussels were found.


“This (Lake Melissa discovery) is the first confirmed zebra mussel find in the Detroit Lakes area,” said Barry Stratton, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, southern district manager. “We’re extremely pleased that this discovery was reported so quickly and with such detail. The report included specific location information and photos that allowed us to respond immediately to the exact spot.”


“This newest report emphasizes the need for everyone to be on the lookout for zebra mussels when out recreating in our state waters,” said Barry Stratton, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, southern district manager.

Charitable Lake Fund

Learn More About the Big Sand Charitable Lake Fund

View Details Here

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