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Big Sand access: Improvements are good for all of us

Gary Kporsgaden

Big Sand Lake in Hubbard County is a lake with striking pristine qualities. The Minnesota DNR intends to keep it that way by improving and enhancing the public access. They have accomplished such projects successfully so many times before.

However, it doesn’t meet with every ones approval. Strongest opposition comes from the Big Sand Lake Association. At the most recent open house the DNR faced strong opposition leveled at their proposed plans for the access.

An open house was hijacked by individuals representing the Big Sand Lake Association while a number of us sat and listened to the constant barbs thrown at the DNR representatives in attendance.

The plans include handicapped accessibility, an increased off-road parking area to pull over and clean boats and trailers of aquatic invasive species, a dock to facilitate the safe ease of loading and unloading boats and passengers and slope and taper to effectively deal with the existing current flows and rain water run offs.

Let’s remember we d0on’t always agree with the DNR. But the fishing and outdoor recreation enjoyed today is the direct result of their ongoing efforts to provide the best public outdoor opportunities. Improving the access on Big Sand is one more example enhancing an outdoor experience on a shared public resource.

At the open house a BSLA member pointed out that the group doesn’t want to prevent the public from enjoying the lake. “Like guests coming to my home and lake I expect them to respectfully act accordingly,” was the philosophy.

Good point and we that are not on Big Sand appreciate lake property owners efforts to preserve the gem that Big Sand Lake is.

But Big Sand is a shared public resource. Lake property owners are not lake shore owners. Lake property owners pay taxes, like we all do, but the last time I looked at our tax statements for our “on water” and “off water” properties I did not see notation for funding water access and outdoor recreation. Funds for access improvements come from public license and outdoor equipment sales.

Mark Harmon, a local sportsman, thinks the time is right for the DNR to purchase the adjacent property to the current access, an opportunity he feels may not happen again. Local anglers have had for a long time safety concerns surrounding the current access.

While gathering some thoughts for this article I spoke with backers of the project, but they would not comment publically for fear of repercussion from some BSLA members. For that reason, unfortunately the DNR did not hear all positive public comments and thoughts at the meetings and open house.

The DNR seems to be moving forward on improvements to the Big Sand Lake access, for all of us to enjoy.