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CO Reports: ATV operator cited for careless operation

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - July 27, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) took enforcement action this week for numerous boating and ATV/OHM violations.

On Saturday, Best pulled into a parking area at the Spider Lake ATV trails and watched an adult male on a Class 1 ATV come up out of the gravel pit and proceed to spin donuts in the main travel path of the trail and near where several vehicles were parked along the sides. As Best approached to make contact, the operator did a slow tip and landed the machine on its side right in front of Best’s squad vehicle. After it was determined there were no injuries or damage to the machine, the driver took his citation for careless operation without complaint. There were no other operators in the vicinity of the parking area or gravel pit when Best concluded the contact.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked cases involving illegal alterations in public waters. Sullivan also worked recreational boating and angling activity on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for operating a weed roller without a permit, altering the cross section of a public water and no angling license.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking boaters and ATV riders in the area. Wetland and public-water violations were investigated. Nuisance-animal calls were also handled.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent time on the ATV this week, checking riders and trail conditions. He looked into complaints of public-water violations. Anglers were finding the fishing good for catfish and bass.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked boating activity where the seasonally warmest days of the year make for more water recreation than fishing activity. Some operators tried mixing their sports, causing complaints to come in of ATV riders in Mille Lacs Lake. That is covered in mandatory ATV safety training, which was also lacking. Verkuilen also assisted with a medical call and a depredation complaint.


CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored ATV activity on the Soo Line and other nearby trails. Several wetland violations were followed up on throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken on ATV and wetland violations.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, failure to have a fire extinguisher in the boat, failure to have a throwable (Type IV) PFD in the boat, no lights while operating an ATV, and operating an unregistered ATV. She also followed up on a complaint of people trespassing onto private lake property.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled state forests for recreational vehicle violations. Enforcement action was taken for under 18 without a helmet and ATVs in state forest day-use areas. Several individuals camped overnight in a day-use picnic area, where it is signed no camping, were educated. Dispersed camping in state forests is allowed but that doesn’t mean you can drive your RV off designated roads over vegetation to camp. “Leave no trace” is required.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued to follow up on pending cases involving damage to wildlife management area property. ATV traffic was monitored with one operator found to have a revoked driver’s license, no safety certificate, no registration, failing to transfer ownership, and no tail light at night. Concerns were heard about the early teal season, with opposition abounding. A reminder to waterfowl hunters to plan ahead, as lakes may be closed to motorized travel due to the ricing season.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) assisted state park staff with several instances of suspicious activity, unwanted people causing trouble and campers staying in sites without paying. Hot, dry, dusty weather had ATV trails quieter than usual and lakes continued to be fairly busy with boating activity. A few nuisance-bear calls were taken involving bears wandering around houses looking for food.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, boating, and ATV/OHM activity this past week. Calls were fielded regarding wild rice and bear hunting. Enforcement action was taken for various fishing and ATV violations.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on waters- and wetland-related cases. Time was also spent checking anglers and ATV operators. A wolf-depredation complaint was investigated.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) patrolled area lakes for boating and angling activity.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area lakes for fishing, watercraft and personal watercraft activity. Vinton was called by staff with DNR Wildlife to investigate a possible large-scale dumping violation on an area wildlife management area. A Resource Protection Notice was issued.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) monitored area lake activities and assisted with an ATV detail in Wadena County. Area boating activity remained steady with warm weather. Swedberg also patrolled for ATV activity around Becker County and assisted the county with traffic control for a barn fire.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted a local sheriff’s office, attended a Use of Force meeting, assisted other conservation officers with the execution of a search warrant, and responded to a complaint of unsafe discharge of a firearm.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. Leeching ponds were monitored and patrol was conducted for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Warren assisted White Earth Police with a motor vehicle crash..

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring angling, boat and water safety, aquatic plant management, and ATV activity in the Pelican Rapids and Moorhead stations. Anglers are still finding cooperative panfish and crappies, but the walleye fishing has slowed down. While working with CO Chihak, an individual was observed removing a large amount of wild rice from in front of his property and a cease and desist order was issued for the violation. Property owners are reminded to check the regulations prior to removing aquatic plants. Calls from the public included complaints loud watercraft, partying at beach locations, leeching complaints, and public access issues. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, angling without a license, insufficient PFDs, and ATV-registration violations.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports typical summer recreation on area lakes with some decent fishing. Time was concentrated around the lakes focusing on boat safety and angling. Contacts were also made with riders of recreational off-road vehicles.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the week on the water patrolling for anglers and recreational activity. Lots of hot days led to busy accesses and lakes with most people in good compliance. A few citations were issued for insufficient PFDs, overloaded watercraft and no angling license. A detail on Lake Minnewaska was worked with other COs and several citations were issued for underage consumption of alcohol and multiple arrests were made for BWI. One person required medical attention. She was severely intoxicated and alone on a boat sitting in the sun while her friends partied nearby.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked angling and recreational vehicle activity in the area. Time was also spent monitoring AIS compliance and working on a safety class. Complaints involving trapping and nuisance animals were followed up on.


CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on AIS, boating and fishing enforcement. Baumbarger, with the help of multiple COs, worked the annual Waterama Festival on Lake Minnewaska over the weekend. Activity on the lake was very high. Officers working the lake made multiple underage consumption cases, arrested two boat operators for BWI and contacted many boaters for various boating safety and registration violations. Additional time was spent on injured- and orphaned-animal calls.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports focusing efforts on seasonal activity such as ATV, AIS, angling and watercraft enforcement. He reports fielding numerous calls about injured and deceased wildlife. He also report assisting local law enforcement agencies and investigating damage-to-wetland cases. He also wants to remind local residents and visitors to review Living with Bears in Minnesota, which is available on the DNR website.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked boating and ATV activity. She responded to a jet ski accident, and investigated shoreline violations. Enforcement was taken on an ATV violation.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working sport fishing enforcement throughout the week. Kunst also assisted in educating youth at a boating safety class.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) primarily patrolled ATV activity in the area. Baum attended a local firearms safety class and assisted with instruction of the game and fish laws. Baum also assisted with some ATV patrols in surrounding area. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on ATV, fire and fishing enforcement during the week. The area received some rain, but fire risk remains high and more restrictions were put in place on allowed fires. Time was also spent assisting with safety education classes.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked boating, angling, and ATV enforcement. Work continues on a public-water-alteration case. Mathy assisted with retrieving an injured loon, which was later transported to a care facility. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with a youth firearms safety class in Kimball. A call regarding multiple dead deer was fielded and investigated and a nuisance-animal complaint was handled.


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity including a youth fishing tournament on Lake Koronis. He worked with neighboring officers on Lake Minnewaska for a boat and water detail. Pike fishing in the area has been the best bite this week.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week checking anglers and boaters. Enforcement action was taken for no license, no registration, no PFDs and an unmarked turtle trap. Nuisance-bear complaints continue to come in.

Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continues flying surveys for Fisheries.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) began the spraying of hybrid cattail on state wildlife management areas. Plots were completed near Staples, then progressed to the Alexandria and Glenwood areas. The aircraft was then repositioned in Willmar for the next series of plots.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) flew Duluth-area creel flights. He flew an area of possible blowdown damage with the recent storms. He attended to scheduling of upcoming mapping flights and had equipment maintenance completed.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. A restoration order was served, calls for service were answered and AIS enforcement worked. An aquatic plant violation issue near Isle was worked with the area CO.

WREO Luke Belgard (SW) worked angling, boating, and ATV enforcement this week. Time was spent monitoring public access sites for AIS violations.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement


I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with numerous job titles since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently as Digital Editor. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work these 30+ years. I was present and worked on the our web page when our original BrainerdDispatch.com website first went live on April 26, 1994.
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