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Melissa, Sallie residents close local accesses [UPDATED]

Published 11:09am Monday, July 9, 2012 Updated 11:09am Monday, July 9, 2012

In an effort to protect lakes from aquatic invasive species, lakes Sallie and Melissa near Detroit Lakes have closed several public commons access points.

While the DNR operated public accesses on both lakes will remain open, several uncontrolled commons area launch points have been blocked off by Lakeview Township. Large boulders have been placed in front of former access areas, and signage has been posted notifying visitors of the new regulations.

Lakes Sallie and Melissa are sandwiched between two of the most prominently infested lakes in the area, Detroit and Pelican lakes, and because of its close proximity to infested waters, lake association members and other volunteers are closely monitoring the public accesses.

Although lakes Sallie and Melissa are in an aquatic invasive species hot-zone, lakes like Otter Tail are in at least as much danger of infestation, said Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations president Jeff Stabnow.

Otter Tail Lake is a more popular destination for visitors, and those who haven’t been around infested lakes are not as vigilant as those who are from areas like lakes Sallie and Melissa, said Stabnow.

Access to Otter Tail Lake through uncontrolled platted roads has recently been called into question, and Stabnow said this is a similar situation to the access issue on lakes Sallie and Melissa.

Stabnow said he thinks lakes Sallie and Melissa had the right idea in only allowing access through DNR maintained public accesses.

“I certainly don’t want to limit access to the water,” he said. “But any time the risk of spreading invasives can be reduced is an improvement.”

The Otter Tail County board will discuss the issue of public lake access through platted roads on July 10. The board has the authority to direct townships to take control of platted roads if it decides that is the necessary action to take.

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