As temperatures begin to rise and summer approaches, staff at both Lake Bronson and Old Mill State parks are tackling some high water events, much like the area, said Tim Williamson, park manager at each of these state parks.
“There has been a lot of lake and dam management, but the staff are working hard on… getting the buildings ready for summer,” Williamson said of Bronson Lake State Park.
Williamson spoke about all the work that was going on in each of the state parks he manages, his thoughts on rising temperatures and the approach of summer, the various opportunities in the parks — including the upcoming hunting opening — and the parks days and hours of operation.
Because of the rainfall, Lake Bronson State Park deals with campgrounds and wet roads. Williamson hopes it’s all dry and ready for the inaugural Minnesota fishing — scheduled for Saturday, May 14.
He highlighted how Old Mill State Park also deals with water issues.
“The Middle River was very high and we had to put the sandbags…the historic mill in there…the river was flowing into the sandbags themselves,” Williamson said. “So there will be some water after the hike in both units, both parks, some kind of water after the hike to clean the water, then prepare the gardens.”
Going to Bronson Lake, the river flows so high and fast that the park has seen a lot of debris floating from the river into the lake.
“We’ve removed those big trees and debris and are just trying to get the lake ready for boats as well,” Williamson said. “And that was taking up a fair amount of staff time.”
When asked about the hotter temperatures, Williamson is happy about it, providing an opportunity to go lighter clothing. Despite the wet weather lately, the staff is working to make sure the trails and everything in these state parks are safe and ready for all who come to visit.
“It was always interesting to see the seasons changing. That was a little wet at times,” Williamson said. “… Like I said, we had high water activity, but mostly, we just tried to get everything ready for people who like to fish here and walk around.” At both parks, then just get everything camping…ready for the season.”
As temperatures rose, trails in parks dried up. What about snow?
“Most of the snow is gone, you know 99 percent, there’s still a spot here or there, especially in the woods still.”
As for fishing, Lake Bronson offers the opportunity to catch a variety of fish – walleye, boreal, perch, crappie, and other types of panfish, and a few seabass.
“With our Hunting Editorial this coming Friday, we’ll find out more about what does and does not hurt,” Williamson said.
With strong clouds across the lake due to rising river levels and rain expected over the next month, Williamson wanted to give people a reminder.
“We just remind people to be careful and safe on the lake, and to be informed if they are, because it’s there doing any other activities,” Williamson said.
Williamson also wanted to highlight the “really exciting” opportunities coming to both parks – the opportunities for summer youth programs. These programs will begin on Memorial Day weekend and end in September—when the fall colors appear. Park employees Diane Peterson and Sheila Billings work on these activities.
“Our people have worked really hard to put together some really great software,” Williamson said. “So if it does happen, we’ll change it pretty much from month to month, focusing on something new every month, and they’re finalizing that list as we speak.”
For the full story, read the May 11 issue of The Tribune or the May 12 issue of North Star News.