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Big Pine Lake rock dam repaired

The Crow Wing County Board decided to move forward with a temporary fix to the washout at the Big Pine Lake rock dam in Crosslake. The board made the decision at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, April 23, and the dam was repaired the week of April 29.

The shoreline washed out downstream of the lake where the dam meets the shore in late March or early April. The washout caused the lake level to drop, and consequently the county sheriff’s office closed public accesses to the lake because of unsafe ice.

The dam was built in the 1970s after residents petitioned for it. The dam in essence created Big Pine Lake, which has an average depth of eight feet when the dam is functional.

The temporary fix was quoted at a cost of $26,000, with $7,000 of the funds coming from FEMA money, which was obtained after flooding last summer, assistant county engineer Rob Hall said at the April 23 meeting.

Hall said by phone that while the county would pay for the repairs up front, the highway department will recommend that the lake association pay back the costs through money assessed to members’ taxes.

He said the recent repairs are a temporary fix, and the bank is still at risk of eroding further. The next step is to sit down with the lake association to find a permanent solution.

Around 100 property owners are on the lake, and commissioner Paul Thiede noted that to not repair the dam would cause a drop in property value, which would in turn cause a drop in tax revenue.