Counties lift no wake bans in time for holiday weekend

STEARNS COUNTY, Minn. – With only a couple days until the Independence Day holiday, Stearns County joined a number of communities across the state Wednesday that have lifted their no wake orders on lakes and rivers.

After a record amount of rain in June, the water levels dropped a number of feet in the last few days, enough so that the sheriff lifted the ban that was in place to keep people safe and property protected.

"Since we've lived here, we have lost about six feet of shoreline that's gone," said Jonathan Schaumann who has lived on Rice Lake for 56 years and is used to the lake levels rising.

The no wake order has been in place in Stearns County for nearly a month.

"Normally this parking lot is filled with boaters," said Rod Gronseth with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "There wasn't a place to park anything."

Gronseth put the public dock back in Rice Lake at the DNR's boat launch and once the news started to spread about the ban being lifted, more boaters started to arrive.

"I haven't done really any water sports at all this year since it's been so high," said Parker Johnsen, 16.

Johnsen made the trip from his home near Lake Minnetonka where a no wake order is still in effect and most likely will be for some time.

"The water is really high there. On Minnetonka, it's two feet up right now," said Johnsen.

And with the Fourth of July days away, locals expect more will follow.

"I suspect this weekend it will be filled again once the word is out," said Gronseth.


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