SLA Timeline

Timeline for Serpent Lake Association

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,, 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.


  • At the June 18 th Annual Meeting, Lee Uglem introduced Melissa Barrick, CW SWCD, for updates on the three BWSR projects (Deerwood, Crosby and Cranberry Lake runoff into Serpent).
  • The sixth directory was distributed showing 24% of lake lots changed ownership since 2013.
  • BWSR grant to reduce Serpent’s algae by treating Cranberry Lake TP with Aluminum Sulfate.
  • The 35 TP before treatment were 80-100 ug/L. Three weeks after treatment TP was 30 ug/L.
  • BWSR grant to reduce runoff into Serpent by ground scaping & planting at Summer Place.
  • Secchi clarity, the last 4 years in a row, has been better than the historical “best-fit” line predicts.

2017 :

  • Terry Tichenor is elected president of the BOD at June 10, 2017 annual meeting.
  • BWSR grant to reduce lake phosphorus by filtering storm water from 14 acres in south Crosby.
  • SLA reached an all-time record of 198 members this year ending June 2017. Dues is $25/year.
  • DNR confirmed Zebra Mussels in Mahnomen Mine Pit No. 1 in Cuyuna State Recreation Area.
  • Secchi clarity is 18.3 feet, the best it has been since 1991. BWSR news release reported on water clarity trend and the many SLA projects taken to improve clarity. Modeling shows that it takes 3 years to drain 67% of the “old” water from Serpent Lake.
  • A Kitfox float airplane, built and piloted by Jim Hakes of Deerwood, sank to the bottom of Serpent Lake in 2014. His plane flew again on Oct 7, 2017 with only wheeled landing gear.
  • MN DNR found zebra mussels on the dock at the Deerwood-DNR landing and at a private dock located 1.3 mi west of Deerwood-DNR landing. Only 8 individuals ZMs found during their 1st yr.


  • Project using BWSR grant to reduce TP from 14 acres of Crosby runoff is completed 6/30/2018.
  • Runoff from bike path construction between Cranberry and Hwy 210 doubles Cranberry’s TP.
  • Sampling shows Peterson Creek loads Serpent Lake with twice as much TP as Larson Creek.
  • Larson Creek became a concern when its road culvert was replaced 18 inches lower than before.
  • Second year of Serpent zebra mussels yields a sample of 375 per sq ft near Pump House Point and yearling zebra mussels (All 1/2”) are observed around the entire nine miles of shoreline.


  • Crosby receives Minnesota’s Community Conservationist Award for reducing 2 nd St. SE runoff into Serpent Lake from a 1929 storm sewer pipe by filtering the 14 acres using 3 rain gardens.
  • DNR denies SLA a permit to treat Curly-leaf Pondweed as native plants dominate treatment beds.
  • Third year of Serpent zebra mussels yields a sample of 10,500 per sqft near Pump House Point. The yearling sample sizes were very small (3/32” long and shorter). Starved due to lack of algae.
  • Serpent’s 2019 June-Sept Secchi = 21.7 ft compared to 12.09 ft in 2012. Chl-a is down as well.
  • MPCA annual assessment has 30% of MN lakes impaired, including Serpent Lake.
  • CW County proposes an ordinance for short-term rentals. Koering and Franzen oppose, while Houge favors, the idea on 11/20/2019. Compromise required to pass a modest ordinance.


  • Ice-out on April 16. 95% of the time ice-out is between March 29 th and May 8 th . Avg=April 18 th .
  • May 3 rd , water temp 52F, a large sucker spawn in gravel beds near Pumphouse Point.
  • May 6 th , raking 3 known beds produced only 2 Curly Leaf Pondweed plants. Water=51 deg. F. $30K to treat 15 acres CLPW was not approved by the DNR & SLA BOD. Treated 1.9 Acres.
  • Last week of June, Serpent Lake is infested with bright green filament algae on rooted plants.
  • SLA BOD meetings held using ZOOM software during the Covid-19 virus pandemic.
  • The third Deerwood runoff reduction project was completed Aug 6th. Total Deerwood projects (Summer Place, Scone Park and Cross Drive) reduced Algae by 7 tons/year (or 29 lbs P/year).
  • All runoff reduction projects (Crosby, Deerwood and Cranberry Lake) since 2014 have reduced algae by 20 tons/year (or 79 lbs/year of Phosphorus). That is, 22% of the total load per year.
  • Aug 8th , the DNR surveyed fish population by setting gill nets in usual spots for 24 hours.
  • A very clear Serpent Lake in the 1970s of 20.2 ft declined to 12.09 ft in 2012. The clarity in 2020 was to 23.71 ft. A monumental recovery in state aquatic history. The story of this decay recovery was documented in the Crosby Courier on June 24, 2020.
  • Zebra Mussels yearlings found a limited supply of food (algae). Sampled 1,700 per sqft in Sept. but most were small. Very few  ¼” and found only in small clusters. Very low larva survival.
  • Crosby’s has major construction project of new streets, curbs and sidewalks is completed in July. Due to lack of rain the project is completed well ahead of schedule. The upside Serpent Lake is not impacted from any rain runoff. Secchi dish readings for July was 35.5 feet of clarity.
  • Summerfest booth August 13-14 th in Deerwood is located across the street for the American Legion. Our booth is an information booth to inform the public of our lakes data/history. As a condition in receiving our BWSR grant of $1.2 million dollars from 2013.


  • SLA President Tichenor cancelled BOD meeting in January due to Covid-19 and lack of business.
  • February BOD meeting planning for new updated SLA Member Directory, content and ad pricing levels approved. Debbie Leonard, Sally McCollister & Jerry Hartl are working on project. Plan to have new directories printed are ready for distribution at the annual meeting in June.
  • PLM to treat for Curly Leaf Pondweeds at 3 mapped sites comprising a total of 5 acres costing $5,590.00 of which $1,500 was covered by the grant received from the DNR.
  • April 8th SLA Member Directory: Jerry Hartl reported that $4,595 has been committed for directory ads, more than offsetting the $2,700 cost to print. Everything is to be with the printer by  May 12. Sponsors Deerwood Bank, Oars and Mine have been given free ads. Debbie Leonard reported that of the 280 homes on the lake, SLA has 180 paid members. Checks are steadily coming in for dues and donations. Arlen reported on the CLP weed and treatment and the first discovery of zebra mussels in 2017. He said there is lowered potential for the adult zebra mussels to survive because of the increasing clarity in Serpent Lake. Along with the BWSR projects, the Cranberry Lake alum treatment has made a great impact. A history of zebra mussels will be handed out at the annual meeting. A new road construction on Hwy 210 does cause some concern for the possible effect on the lake.
  • May 7th The annual meeting set for June 5 th at Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood. It will include the state of the lake, coffee and doughnuts and door prizes along with the new directory. Oars and Mine will have all buoys out this week before opening fishing.
  • Jerry Hartl is elected president of the BOD at June 5, 2021 annual meeting. (serves three terms, 2021-2023).
  • June 12 th Roadside cleanup was conducted for our adapt-a-highway between Crosby and Deerwood and Deerwood to Aiken as noted on signage.
  • Mandi at Red Threads who helped designed the directory cover has opened a digital marketplace for members to purchase SLA branded shirts, caps and other merchandise. Link to marketplace through our website
  • Socials are big hit for the lake members. The SLA directory contains many supporting businesses to our cause. Businesses who can host our socials are partnering with us for hosting.
  • July 4th Boat parade had 19 watercraft and the winners were the Loidolt family with the Olympic swim team.
  • Summer and falls lack of rain caused very low water conditions in addition to the stop logs getting pulled numerous times at the outlet damn in Crosby. Many lake owners had to push out lifts and docks to keep watercraft from getting stuck. Reports of props getting damaged from rocks. Buoys had to be moved out into deeper water.


  • January SLA has joined as a member of the Cuyuna Lake Chamber of Commerce.
  • Brad Hanes has volunteered to be Serpent Lakes Loon liaison. Brad will work with the DNR and our other lake members to help keep our loons happy and populations growing.
  • SLA purchased 4 new buoys from dealer in Wisconsin. Thank you for the transporting them back Lee Uglem.
  • February 5 th SLA was a first time sponsor at the Cuyuna Lakes Chambers 18th annual Ice fishing contest. Roth RV loans us a brand-new ice house to use for giving out 3 gallons hot cocoa and displayed our new banners with the message to help keep our lake clean!
  • March 12 th Terry Tichenor submitted grant application to DNR for AIS lake treatments. This year they are collecting applications and awarding upon review not first in as in past years. The DNR is awarding for two years. We have been awarded $1,500 each for two years 2022-2023. Ice-out was on May 5 th which brought us a late spring and slow start to open water season.
  • Water levels have reached normal again due to large snow storms and good spring rains. The city of Crosby welded in steel post to prevent the stop logs from being removed.
  • Arlen Bowen announces this will be his last year as water tester of Serpent lake. Arlen has been testing our lake for the last 20 years. Dave Smith has volunteered to take over for Arlen and has taken the requirements and is now MPCA certified.
  • SLA has volunteered to join the Starry Stonewort program now testing Serpent lake for this next invasive plant which in now in Minnesota waters. CWC has provided us with training and giving us $200 per boat landing or $400 to join the program. So far none has been found in Serpent Lake.
  • SLA is getting a new website set up by Bradley Miller of BAMsites Web Marketing and directed by Nate Schultz. Plan to start up September 1st.
  • Zebra Mussels (ZMs) were introduced in 2017 and their population grow greatly in just one year to the point that the Secchi readings between 2018 and 2021 increased 9 feet in 4 years under both conditions of lower phosphates and an increasing ZM population. The 10-year run of Increases in the Secchi readings suddenly stopped. It peaked at 27.7 feet in 2021 and is now down to 20 feet in 2022. That is a largest change EVER seen in the yearly average (June – Sept) Secchi clarity. (We have only average 3 months so far in 2022, but the 4 th reading is usually the least.) It appears that the ZMs died back as they over-populated while algae growth was decreasing. ZMs feed exclusively on algae. In future years, the Secchi Dish readings will likely vary between 20 and 27.7 feet as the ZM population varies compared to the lake’s algae mass.
  • June 18 th annual meeting at Salem Lutheran Church was well attended. New members elected by voice vote were: Rick Lowenberg, Chuck Goede, Jim Rossman, Susan Moen, and Mikael Christenson. Guest speaker Spencer Rettler DNR Loon specialist informed us about the MN state birds. Large amount of raffle items donated by our business community.
  • Siphon Pumps the tool needed to keep gas out of the lake and into our watercraft.
  • July 4 th boat parade winners were the Tessmer-Tuck family with the Aloha pontoon.
  • Summerfest Deerwood August 12 – 13 th. Our booth was across from the legion that you volunteers.