Kittilson passionate about maintaining natural shorelines

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Dan Kittilson of Park Rapids grew up on a small natural environmental lake.

"When I was growing up my interest in lakes, nature, wildlife, my frogs and minnows began to flourish. Passion for fishing and the lakes became further enhanced during my teaching career with family time spent in the outdoors," Kittilson recalls. "My love of nature and the natural environment continued to grow. A goal was to live on a lake but one that I wasn't able to achieve until I got close to my retirement. In 1994, we moved to Little Sand Lake."

Kittilson's passion for the lakes flourished, not without concern for the preservation of good water quality and maintaining habitat for wildlife.

"The beautiful shoreline and water quality of Little Sand Lake helped me develop my personal concern for its water quality and its natural shoreline, so beneficial for fish and wildlife. My passion soon evolved for all the lakes of the region." Kittilson says.

Kittlilson retired from teaching in 2002 and devoted full time to his childhood dream living on the lake and the passion to educate, protect and enhance our natural resources of Hubbard County.

A desire to be on Big Cormorant Lake with a father-in-law who loved and respected the lake. Kittilson found the appeal of the forest-lined clean, clear waters in and around Park Rapids was just too strong to resist. Little Sand Lake was a perfect fit for himself, his wife and two daughters. In the back of his mind it was important to preserve the natural beauty of all the area lakes' shorelines .Kittilson joined others with the same goals and became Hubbard County's COLA President from 2009 to 2014. Kittilson's involvement at the local level was pivotal to better educate others on the importance of preserving natural shoreline vegetation.

Before Kittilson and myself met personally, I knew of him and his passion for the lakes, 15 or more years ago. My wife and I owned property on Big Cormorant and heard many times about Kittilson, then a advocate and voice heard all over the state for preserving and keeping our lake shore natural. Recalling my family lake home, he knew the value a natural shoreline brought for wildlife, fish and aesthetics. Told myself many times I needed to meet him. In the course of moving to area, that day came. At times we do not agree, but I found we both have a deep passion and understanding for the value a natural shoreline provides for fishing and erosion control.

Preventing shoreline erosion is best accomplished by first maintaining existing natural vegetation, if removed replanted. Kittilson points out, "Rock rip rap which sometimes may have to be used to prevent erosion, but not in my world. Natural shorelines is always a better solution as far as I am concerned." As a lake property owner and active member of the Hubbard County COLA, Kittilson's expectations are high for keeping all shorelines natural.

"Aesthetically, our lakes are more appealing when we work to preserve and protect priceless pine that flourishes on the shores around them." Kittilson stresses.

We both agree maintaining aquatic vegetation is vital to providing spawning habitat for bass and pan fish.

Kittilson feels the area is losing its older residents and with the new ones coming in, they are missing the passion for preserving the resource. Young families today are so busy and don't have the time to educate themselves to the importance of what is best for our lakes and the natural habitat around them.

For more information on rules and maintaining, restoring a natural shoreline contact Environmental Services at the Hubbard County Courthouse, 218-732-3890, or catch Dan when he is not in the boat fishing. He will be more than willing to head you in the right direction.