Ron Schara Asks Ice Anglers to “Clean Up Their Act” in Keep It Clean Video

New Video Addresses the Growing Problem of Garbage and Human Waste Left On Ice

November 10, 2022: In a new Keep It Clean video, Be Nice to Our Ice, Ron Schara, President of MN-FISH, writer and television personality who has shared his love of fishing and the outdoors with readers and viewer for over four decades — asks anglers to properly dispose of garbage and human waste during ice fishing season.

“Fishing is good for the soul as winter anglers seek the peace and solitude of a frozen landscape,” says Schara. “But we have an ice fishing problem, a nasty problem, a pollution problem and, frankly, an embarrassing problem. Garbage and human waste are being left on Minnesota lakes during ice fishing season and in the spring this garbage and waste infiltrates our waters, sinking to the bottom or washing up on shore. Something must be done to fix this problem.”

The video, which will play before seminars at the St. Paul Ice Fishing and Winter Sports show from Dec. 2-4, offers viewers five ways they can be part of the solution. These include:

  • Make a plan for trash and waste removal before you arrive. Whether you access the lake from a public or private entrance, plan to take off of the lake what you take on to the lake. Many access points and resorts offer garbage collection services. If your site doesn’t, make a plan to transport it home for disposal.
  • Use colored garbage bags. In snowy conditions, white trash bags can be difficult to see. Brightly colored bags or black bags are easier to spot making it less likely trash will inadvertently be left behind.
  • Keep garbage and waste off the ice and store it in your vehicle, trailer or fish house and make sure it’s secure before traveling so that it doesn’t blow out of truck beds or off trailers and sleds.
  • Check for trash before departing. Make sure that you have picked up any garbage in your area. And if you notice someone else has left something behind, please take a moment to pick it up and bring it with you.
  • Allow time and bring the tools you need to move or remove your fish house. Take support blocks, insulation, landscaping fabric, wood and all other materials with you and properly dispose of them.

Keep It Clean, Lake of the Woods“Be Nice to Our Ice” is part of a collaborative effort between MN-FISH and the Keep It Clean campaign, as well as the Soil and Water Conservation Districts at Lake of the Woods, Aitkin County, Beltrami County, Crow Wing County, Mille Lacs County and Roseau County. The effort also involves Lake of the Woods Tourism, the Mille Lacs Area Community Foundation and the Upper Red Lake Area Association.

In recent years, many Minnesota lakes have seen a dramatic increase in winter activity as the popularity of ice fishing has grown quickly with better technology, better equipment and wheelhouses, which make staying on the ice for extended periods of time more comfortable. Along with the increased activity comes more pressure on the natural resources, including an increase in the amount of garbage and waste left on the ice.

“This isn’t just a local or a state problem, it’s an ice belt problem,” says Joe Henry, Executive Director, Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau and one of the founders of Keep It Clean, which was formed to address these problems through ongoing education, awareness, enforcement and cleanup efforts. “The ‘Be Nice to Our Ice’ video will help us achieve these goals.” 

Currently, three well-known fishing destinations in Minnesota — Lake of the Woods, Upper Red Lake and Mille Lacs Lake — are leading the Keep It Clean effort. For more information about Keep It Clean at https://keepitcleanmn.org/

Info on Lake of the Woods Keep It Clean:

Information about MN-FISH


About Lake of the Woods: Keep It Clean is an organization that was created jointly in 2012 by Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District, Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau, Lake of the Woods County­­­­, the Minnesota DNR, Roseau County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Friends of Zippel Bay State Park. It focuses on protecting, promoting and maintaining the cleanliness of the beautiful landscape, water resources and shorelines at Lake of the Woods, a special place for everyone to visit and enjoy.

About Upper Red Lake Area Association (URLAA): The URLAA is a long established, non-profit, volunteer group who plays a very important role in protecting and maintaining one of the greatest places on earth and ask you to take some time and check out all that the Upper Red Lake Area has to offer. They joined Keep It Clean in October 2021. Their Keep It Clean Committee is made up of stakeholders from the grassroots to the state level that share a common concern – the safe removal of human waste from the frozen lake and the surrounding area. The Keep it Clean message is simple: Garbage and human waste do not belong on the ice, under the ice or along our shorelines. Please do your part to protect and preserve this valuable resource now, and for generations to come.

About the Mille Lacs Area Community Foundation (MLACF): The MLACF Advisory Board is a partner fund of the Initiative Foundation. The MLACF focuses on projects within the Mille Lacs Lake Watershed area that involve environmental stewardship and community beautification, economic vitality, sustainable farming and food programs, and community pride. The MLACF brought the Keep It Clean campaign to Mille Lacs Lake in February 2022 to help address the growing problem of garbage and human waste left on the ice during ice fishing season.

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