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News for January 17, 2022

Minnesota Residents Oppose Campground Expansion

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The expansion plan of a resort-turned campground has homeowners in Loon Lake asking Otter Tail County (Minnesota) to intervene, a report said.

Even though Loon Lake is just over 1,000 acres, it’s comprised of a number of smaller bays.

Myron Gunderson, the president of The Loon Lake Association, along with other lake users, is protesting against the proposed plan of Loon Lake Resort to add 39 units. A prior plan to increase the number of boat slips by dozens was scrapped on  October 19.

“We just can’t have that boat traffic,” Gunderson said. “It sounds like a big lake, but when we get all these bays, and they’re connected by this small channel, you have boating congestion.”

The proposal’s opponents would like to see Otter Tail County request an environmental study on the plan in question.

“In the old days, when we were kids in the ’70s, we had a lake home, and it was enjoyable because at that time, everything was smaller,” said Loon Lake resident Brad Sinclair. “Your cabin was small, your boats were small, your horsepower was small. Now, we are in this mega-world where everything is large, and we cannot accommodate these large boats, large motors, and the large number of people who enjoy the lake.”

The number of resorts in the region has decreased significantly, and many homeowners are unable to afford lake houses. This has led to lots of resorts in the area becoming campgrounds with boat slips.

Protesters against the expansion have made their voices heard during Otter Tail County planning commission meetings, where the resort’s proprietors Jay and Judy Malstrom said their campground is a necessity.

“What we want to do (is) expand and offer the opportunity of lake life to other people,” said Judy Malstrom. “Not everyone is at the same point in life where they can afford a lake home. This gives young families and retired people an option.”

People who oppose the expansion at the resort believe that more lakes with similar features should conduct studies of boat traffic. This could provide the county with details on the impact of recreation on the state’s most valuable resource.

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