Timeline for Serpent Lake and the Serpent Lake Association

(The Crosby Courier and SLA BOD meeting minutes is where the vast majority of the following information has been obtained)


  • Year of the peak harvest of white pine in Minnesota. 1890-1910 was MN logging “heyday”.


  • The City of Crosby is platted and developed as a planned community by George Crosby.
  • Serpent Lake now has 2 municipalities and 2 townships governing its shoreline activities.
  • Dam has been built at outlet of Serpent Lake to raise water level for future ferry service.


  • Ingall’s ferry boat service begins (and continues until 1920) between Crosby and Deerwood.


  • The first 42 iron ore cars leave Deerwood for the Superior, WI shipping docks on April 1.


  • Tony Marsh swam from Crosby to Deerwood (approx 4.5 miles in 95 minutes) on August 4th.


  • On Feb 5th Foley Lake floods Milford Mine killing 41 miners.


  • City of Crosby connects Second St. South to Serpent Lake with a storm sewer pipe.


  • No walleyes found in August survey nets set by Ken Carlander, DNR aquatic biologist.


  • Ken Carlander took the first known water sample on Aug 18th. Total phosphorous was 18.5ppb.


  • Serpent Lake has 2 resorts and 50-70 cottages on its shoreline of 8.6 miles.


  • No walleyes found in August survey nets, but abundant ciscos and large pike are present.


  • Walt Heineman reports that the DNR stocked 30,000 bass fingerlings on July 18th.


  • George Bedard, Deerwood, spears a 30 lb NOP off Thompson point (verified by Courier photo).


  • Bureau of Fisheries removed 21,000 pounds of stunted fish between July 12th and July 18th.


  • Bureau of Fisheries stocked 50,000 walleye fingerlings in Serpent Lake the last week of July.


  • George Crosby observes his 91st birthday at his Hickory Lodge Resort on July 24th.


  • Iron mining activity on the Cuyuna Range starts to be less and less every year.


  • The first annual Cuyuna Chamber of Commerce ice fishing contest was on Jan 25, 1959.


  • 127 docks counted on Serpent Lake in August 1960 by three local Girl Scouts (Courier).


  • The 1st haul of walleye “minnows” from Heineman Rearing Pond on July 10 (Courier).


  • Armour No.2, the last MN underground iron ore mine, closes on June 1, 1967.


  • Walleye fishing boom begins. The catch-rate is said to be excellent this year.


  • The Cuyuna Range iron ore mining activity plummets to zero.


  • Phil Koop enters MPCA Citizens Lake Monitoring Program (Secchi readings at Site 201).
  • A 2,500 lb serpent, purchased by the Crosby Chamber of Commerce, is put up in the park.


  • The last Scorpion snowmobile was manufactured in Crosby.


  • A DNR/MNDOT boat ramp built at Deerwood Corner, just north of Deerwood on Hwy 201/6.


  • MN DNR funds the city’s request to build the Crosby fishing pier.


  • The walleye fishing boom that started around 1970 has tapered off.
  • The DNR finds that Purple Loosestrife is abundant on the west and south shores of Serpent.
  • Serpent has 280 homes, 50 trailers, and 37 cabins at resorts on a now “full” shoreline.


  • Serpent Lake Sanitary Sewer District constructs three settling ponds on County Road 30.
  • Deerwood closes public landing by Deerwood Bay Resort.


  • June Steinke and Virginia Skeim get the ball rolling for a lake association on Serpent Lake.
  • The first organizational meeting of the Serpent Lake Association is in October 1989.
  • State of MN suggests that Cities and Counties meet the state’s minimum Shoreland Standards.
  • The City of Deerwood stops using Cranberry Lake as its full-time municipal sewage lagoon.
  • By-laws of the Serpent Lake Association filed with the state (Updates done in 1999 and 2005).


  • Phil Koop is first President of the new SLA. SLA participates in the Crosby July 4th parade.
  • The first Water Watch publication is sent to property owners and governmental units.


  • SLA began participation in DOT Adopt a Highway Program (3 miles of Highway 210).
  • SLA buys and installs 11 buoys to mark dangerous navigation sites on Serpent Lake.


  • SLA participates in Neighborhood Watch Program around the lake.
  • SLA begins water quality testing on six sites on Serpent Lake.
  • SLA reported in August finding 12 sites where purple loosestrife has established.


  • The city and SLA split the cost of a sign at the entrance to Crosby Memorial Park.


  • The first directory of all property owners and by-laws is distributed to SLA members.
  • A survey of the lake by the DNR is completed and distributed to lake residents.
  • SLA works with DNR and City of Crosby to install a permanent outlet control structure.


  • Paul Dyste was elected president of the SLA (sometime in the ‘90s).


  • The second directory of all property owners and bylaws is distributed.


  • Warren Lundsgaard is elected president of the SLA BOD.


  • Chuck Provost is elected president of the SLA BOD.
  • The third directory of all property owners and bylaws is distributed.


  • Dick Gunderson is elected president of the SLA BOD.
  • Major algae bloom from Sept 29th to Oct 6th (Smelly mat along 80% of north shore).
  • PCA Office in St. Paul, MN lists Serpent Lake as “impaired” due to high levels of phosphorus.


  • Spawning barrier in Peterson Creek to help reduce the numbers of stunted and starving NOP.
  • Arlen Bowen starts water sampling for phosphorus in Cascade, Cranberry and Peterson Lakes.
  • SLA pays to test 146 ISTS that have not been tested in the last 5 years. 30 failed & repaired.
  • Paul Tesdahl is elected president of the SLA BOD.
  • Curlyleaf Pondweed is found in 15 beds (20 acres) during a DNR survey in May 2004.


  • Spawning barrier in Peterson Creek to help reduce the numbers of stunted and starving NOP.
  • The State of MN restricts shoreland fertilizer use to the non-phosphorus type.
  • Crow Wing County Shoreland Standards effective August 15, 2005 in townships.
  • Joe Stanich is elected president of the SLA BOD.
  • SLA counts 292 docks on Serpent Lake in August 2005.
  • Crosby & Deerwood hire Community Growth Institute to help with Planning & Zoning.
  • First treatment of Curlyleaf Pondweed using Aquathol-K began May 2005 (Cost: $6,000).


  • Vandals remove spawning barrier causing the DNR to withdrawal without complete local support.
  • Bob Hoeft is elected president of the SLA BOD.
  • The fourth directory of all property owners and a copy of the bylaws is distributed.
  • Purple Loosestrife reappears in 4 beds on or near Serpent Lake in July 2006.


  • Brainerd DNR Fisheries classifies Serpent as a core lake (WAL stocked at 2 lbs per littoral acre).
  • Two years of Curlyleaf treatment reduces mass 84% (in known and treated beds).
  • Jeff Olson is elected president of the SLA BOD.
  • A record number of safety buoys (27) are installed by SLA after the low water level in 2006.


  • City of Deerwood contributes $1500 for treatment of Curlyleaf Pondweed (Passed 11/5/07).
  • SLA has a booth at the Cuyuna Chamber of Commerce Trade Show on March 16-17th.
  • August fish survey shows the 2004 spawning barrier produced a record number of 24+ inch NOP.
  • Clark Marshall is elected president of the SLA (serves two terms, 2008 and 2009).
  • MPCA reports that clarity is “almost certainly declining.” Estimated decrease is 1.6 ft per decade.


  • LID with $50 tax to improve Serpent’s water quality is rejected by local County Commissioner.
  • SLA funds used to help divert Crosby’s Cross Ave runoff into several rain gardens.


  • Two year CWC Surface Water Assessment Grant begins for Cranberry Lake water testing.
  • Wayne Brezina is elected president of the SLA BOD.
  • SLA July 4th boat parade winner is a cake with candles celebrating Crosby’s 100th birthday.
  • The fifth directory of all property owners was distributed at the annual meeting on June 26th.
  • Rough fish kill observed after high NW winds for several days in the second week of August.
  • The clarity readings since 1977 continue to decrease 1.6 ft per decade due to phosphorus.


  • Two year Partnership (MPCA+CWC SW) Grant to collect data and model SL’s clarity trend.
  • SLA spends $20,000 to treat 49 acres of Curlyleaf Pondweed in Serpent Lake on May 27th.
  • Annual meeting had 70 members attend on June 25th at Salem Lutheran Church at 8:30 AM.
  • The SLA website, www.serpentlake.org, is up and running.
  • SLA July 4th boat parade has ten boats circle the lake in a CW direction from 4 to 5:30 PM.


  • Serpent Lake impervious surface is 14.5% within 500 feet of the lake (Highest of all CWC lakes).
  • Secchi disk readings average 12.09 ft indicate lowest clarity found since testing began in 1977.


  • ClearCast used to treat Curlyleaf Pondweed instead of Aquathol-K that was used since 2005.
  • Hundreds of panfish found on west shore after an all-day strong wind from the east on June 21st.
  • BATHTUB model of phosphorous loading by CWC, MPCA and Emmons/Olivier Resource, Inc.
  • Lee Uglem is elected president of the SLA BOD.
  • Two sites are tested for Total Fe and Ortho Phosphorus to confirm model’s sediment P loading.
  • SLA is named the “Crow Wing County’s Conservationist of the Year” by CWC SWCD.


  • BWSR grant interview on Jan 29th in St. Paul for Serpent Lake Clean Water Implementation Plan.
  • CWC SWCD is fiduciary for $1.2M SWSR grant to reduce runoff into Serpent Lake by 40%.
  • Aquathol K used May 22 on Curlyleaf Pondweed. This AIS was not readily found a month later.
  • CWC receives $202,000 state grant to fight AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) in county lakes.
  • CRMC in Crosby increases impervious surface south of MN210 to >80 % for new parking lots.


  • CWC’s grant to fight AIS increases to $450,000 annually in 2015 and thereafter.


  • SWSR grant used to reduce Serpent’s algae by treating Cranberry Lake with Aluminum Sulfate.
  • At the June 18th Annual Meeting, Lee Uglem introduced Melissa Barrick, CWC SWCD, for updates on the SWSR projects. Curlyleaf Pondweed treatment continues this year.


  • TBD