Park warns of unsafe ice

On Monday of this week, Voyageurs National Park staff conducted a ground and aerial reconnaissance of ice conditions throughout the park.
While all of the interior lakes are now frozen, the main water bodies of Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, and Crane lakes have open water, with thin ice along the south shoreline and within protected bays.
Aerial observations have shown patches of open water remain within many of the frozen bays, and skim ice continues to freeze and melt from day to day as outside temperatures fluctuate.
With the opening of the Minnesota Darkhouse Spearfishing season occurring today (Dec. 1), park staff strongly urge users to stay off the ice due to the tenuous nature of the weather and freezing/thawing conditions of the surface ice.
Though the presence of ice may invite users to “test” it by walking on it, ice conditions currently vary in thickness and quality. Sudden immersion in cold water can induce rapid, uncontrolled breathing, cardiac arrest, and other physical body conditions, which can result in drowning.
Most fatalities occur within the first five minutes of sudden immersion in our current water conditions.
Park staff will not recommend foot travel on the ice until four inches of “clear” ice is present.