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Second open house set for Big Sand access plans; opposition mounts

The DNR seems determined to proceed with a public access enlargement on Big Sand Lake that most residents are opposed to. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

By Sarah Smith

A second open house has been scheduled to discuss a controversial public access project on Big Sand Lake.

The open house will be held Tuesday, Nov. 19. from 5 to 7 p.m. at Northwoods Bank in Park Rapids.

Tony Walzer, acquisition and development specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trail division, denied the DNR was moving forward with the project to purchase private property to expand the access.

“It’s just that a lot of people still have questions,” he said.

The public comment period ended Oct. 31 and Walzer said DNR representatives will address those comments. Only 14 of 75 commenters supported the project.

Walzer said affected property owners have already been notified of the meeting.

Most residents of the lake have voiced opposition to the project and the expense involved.

Polly Boggs, who own the home next to the access and want to sell their property to the DNR, has supported the project, saying it was necessary for safety and to contain the potential spread of Aquatic Invasive Species.

The way the access off Grouse Road is designed, there’s not much room for boat trailers in the parking area.

The DNR has suggested the site is a safety hazard for ice anglers in winter. The opponents say the funds should be spent directly on the war against Aquatic Invasive Species, not widening an access that has the potential to bring more boat traffic to the lake.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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