The unofficial start of ice fishing season on Upper Red Lake is just a month away, enough time for civic organizers to put together the pieces they’ve put together to fight the incoming trash.
The local Keep it Clean Committee will organize large bins at four major tourist centers, chalk signs around the lake, and provide 15,000 red toilet bags for fishermen who are not equipped to properly dispose of human waste.
Since last season’s ice, the group has raised more than $76,000 to combat a growing volume of litter and biowaste thrown onto the ice. The trend, also prominent in Lake of the Woods and Mille Lacs, has coincided with the state’s boom in wheelhouse trailers.
Caravan shelters allow extended, independent stays on the ice. Illegal dumping of ice holding tanks is one of the problems.
Robyn Dwight, who has spearheaded the campaign, said visitors will be urged to dispose of bagged bio-waste in bins. Any waste not contained indoors on the ice must be placed in a hard-sided, covered container outside. Boxes and bags left on the ice have a tendency to blow away or freeze in place, causing water contamination in the spring.
Dwight said lake keepers across the “ice belt” of winter destinations have also been seeking political support for new legislation to crack down on pollutants. He has hope for action by the 2023 Legislature.
“We don’t really have a good plan for the lakes in the winter,” Dwight said. “We’re trying to change that.”
It’s hard to overstate the appreciation Minnesotans have for walleyes, the state’s official fish since 1965.
But did you know that a recent Washington Post data study declared the fish “the most Midwestern thing on earth?”
In Andrew Van Dam’s Data Department column, he analyzed Airbnb listings that mention “Midwest” to an unusual degree. Within these lists, no other cultural touchstone ranked higher in usage than the “leucorón,” which he playfully described as a “game fish with crazy teeth and eyes.”
In reviewing more than half a million Airbnb listings, 12 states were considered to make up the region. Of these, Iowa was judged the most Midwestern. Minnesota was ninth. Also, three of the top 10 “biggest midwestern things on the planet” were fish. In addition to walleye, “bluegill” ranked sixth, and “smallmouth” ranked ninth, just ahead of No. 10: “dinner.”