There's been a lot of people needing to be rescued from early ice conditions across Minnesota. The location with the most rescues this year is Upper Red Lake.

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The latest rescue was for over 100 anglers who were caught on an ice flow after it broke away from shore. That made it the 5th rescue on the lake in the month of December.

Many people have criticized those people who have needed to be rescued, and some have even suggested that they should all be charged a fine for the rescue because they put the lives of the first responders in danger. Not to mention that there is also a cost for equipment, training, and fuel for these rescues.

Lake Access Fee Suggested

I've seen a suggestion that makes some sense. For Upper Red Lake for instance, why not charge a $5 access fee that goes to a fund for the local first responders departments? Resorts already charge an access fee, what if an additional charge could be tacked on? Of course, some anglers could try to get around it.


Can You Be Fined If You Need To Be Rescued From The Ice?

The short answer is, yes you could be charged for emergency services. But that doesn't mean you will. It's put to the local town to decide that.

Minnesota Statutes 366.011 allows the town or services contracted for the town to charge a fee.

A town may impose a reasonable service charge for emergency services, including fire, rescue, medical, and related services provided by the town or contracted for by the town. If the service charge remains unpaid 30 days after a notice of delinquency is sent to the recipient of the service or the recipient's representative or estate, the town or its contractor on behalf of the town may use any lawful means allowed to a private party for the collection of an unsecured delinquent debt. The town may also use the authority of section 366.012 to collect unpaid service charges of this kind from delinquent recipients of services who are owners of taxable real property in the state.

Right now, there is no charge for Upper Red Lake rescues. But depending on what lake you're on you could be charged if that town imposes a fee.

Meanwhile, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office enacted an order that restricted any vehicles on the lake.

Emergency Responders Say Don't Hesitate To Call For Help

The kelliehr Fire & Rescues, responsible for aiding in many of the rescue efforts shared a message on social media telling people to never be afraid to dial 911 if you're on the ice and in a dangerous situation.

Most of their Facebook posts about the rescues include the message of no negative comments or bashing. They emphasize that they would rather have a call to rescue you than recover a body.

Be safe out there. Fortunately, temperatures appear to be dropping and winter is finally setting in and making some ice in the coming weeks.

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Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger


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