Cass County Board: Little Sand landing to remain carry-in access
Concerns from some area residents about making the lake accessible by boat included water quality, aquatic invasive species and disturbing the lake bottom.
WALKER — Several people showed up for the public hearing during the Cass County Board meeting Tuesday, July 6, to voice their concerns both for and against changing the boat landing on Little Sand Lake from carry-in to trailer access.
Board Chair Jeff Peterson opened the public hearing with Todd Malecha, representing the Lake Hattie Association, speaking first. Malecha said Lake Hattie, which is nearby Little Sand Lake, is a quiet and private lake with a lot of natural beauty and loons. Recently Lake Hattie was accepted into a three-year federal loon study and he is concerned if the access on Little Sand Lake is changed it will allow people to bring bigger boats in with motors to the area and will disturb the loons and the study.
Another concern addressed was the quality of water, if boats with motors will now be brought to the lake with the change. Greg Johnson said the sediment on the bottom of the lake helps with vegetation. As the lake is so shallow, allowing bigger boats on the lake would stir up the sediment and change the quality of water, killing off vegetation and fish, Johnson said.
Some of the other concerns from residents against the change in access was there would be no control of who comes, boaters may bring in aquatic invasive species, there would be an increase in traffic on the lake and there would be more people trying to camp at the access. County Administrator Josh Stevenson said it is against state law for any camping at a public access and there are signs posted stating no camping, but the signs get removed shortly after being posted.
One nearby resident said he has a 12- to 14-foot aluminum boat with a 9 horsepower motor and typically goes fishing by himself or with one of his grandchildren under the age of 14. He likes to fish various small lakes in the area for panfish and would like to be able to get his boat into Little Sand Lake. Therefore, he would like to see the access changed to trailer-in and the rocks/boulders removed so he could get to the lake. Peterson said he spoke with the people who initially requested this change and all they really want is for the rocks/boulders to be removed so that they don’t have to pull a boat over them and they can get a wheelchair through to the lake.
Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk motioned to keep the access on Little Sand Lake as a carry-in site, but possibly move the rocks so that boats and wheelchairs can get down to the water, with Peterson seconding the motion. The motion passed 4-1, with commissioner Bob Kangas opposing as he feels all lakes should be able to be used by the public.
Another lake concern presented to the board was from Dale Zoerb, who proposed a new no-wake ordinance on the Gull Lake Chain. Currently there are numerous no-wake zones in the Upper Gull Lake area, and Zoerb requested the lower portion of Upper Gull Lake also be marked as a no-wake zone due to numerous boats gunning their engines and causing large waves, which in turn erodes the shoreline and rocks boats at the docks. This in turn is also creating repair costs to the homeowners along that area, he said.
Stevenson said the Cass County Sheriff’s Office was against making any changes to the ordinance due to not being able to enforce the current ordinance. Also, it was felt to be a neighborhood issue and should be addressed with the city of Lake Shore first. The proposed amendments were tabled until Lake Shore provides feedback.