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, 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.


  • The SLA website, www.serpentlake.org, is updated

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