NW Angle Featured in NY Times
The NW Angle has gotten it’s share of publicity this year. Unfortunately, not for always the right reasons. The Angle has been cut off from civilization as the Canadian border has been closed. This has prevented tourists, cabin owners and even in some cases, residents from traveling the 40 mile road through Canada to get there. As the rest of the United States is getting back to normal, the Angle is facing it’s second summer of being “Cut Off”.
You see, if you are not familiar with the NW Angle, it is an exclave, one of four across the U.S. / Canada border. An exclave is a destination in which you must travel through another country to get back to your country. One must travel 4o miles through a portion of Manitoba up the western edge of Lake of the Woods before entering back into Minnesota up at the Angle.
Yes, one can access the Angle by traveling across the big open waters of Lake of the Woods. It is 40 – 50 miles from the south end up to various resorts across Big Traverse Bay. That stretch of water is 30 miles by 25 miles. It is big water that can whip up in a flash. When it does, waves can be in excess of 8 feet. For this reason, many don’t feel comfortable taking their own boats across in order to stay in MN waters.
Another option for getting across is the Lake of the Woods Passenger Service. This is a charter boat service departing from the south end of the lake at Sportsman’s Lodge on the Rainy River. It drops you at whatever resort you are headed to up at the Angle.
And finally, Lake Country Air. This is a flying service that has a plane in Baudette. It amphibious meaning it can land on both land and water. This is a quick 10 minute flight across the big lake.
Any of these options will get you up to the Angle where the fishing is great, hospitality second to none and the air just smells different. These are a few of the reasons people make the effort to get up.
You may recall, this winter a group of NW Angle resort formed the NW Angle Guest Ice Road. This never before ice road allowed vehicle traffic across Lake of the Woods on an ice road that stayed in Minnesota. The ice road was a success, allowing those resorts who ice fish, to gain a portion of their winter revenue, enough to help keep them going. It also gave them some hope.
Not every resort does ice fishing however. Out of the 12 resorts up at the Angle, eight of them ice fish. For those who did, it wasn’t like a normal winter, but it helped.
And now, we are at a place nobody ever thought we would be. Into a second summer “Cut Off” from civilization for all practical purposes. Things are pretty quiet up at the Angle.
This small but incredible community has seen it’s share of media this year. It’s not all of the time a community is cut off from it’s customer base by another country. It also isn’t all of the time a group of resorts (which technically are competitors) join together to create a solution in the NW Angle Guest Ice Road that saved many of their businesses.
They say publicity is good, even if it is bad. I think it is safe to say most Angle businesses do understand the value. At this chapter of life, being 14 months in since the border has been closed, maybe just welcoming back visitors is really what the Doctor ordered. A mere sliver of the trillions of dollars coming through for COVID reasons would help folks at the Angle sleep better at night as well.