WALKER — Caution when traversing on lakes is urged after the Cass County Sheriff’s office recently responded to several reports of vehicles stuck in ice heaves on area lakes, including Leech Lake and Gull Lake.
The sheriff’s office reported on two occasions, vehicles broke through the heave and went into the water. No serious injuries resulted from these incidents. Caution was urged specifically in areas of ice heaves, ice ridges and pressure areas.
Sheriff Tom Burch reports ice heaves and ridges should never be considered safe and should not be crossed. Conditions can vary greatly, even in a small area. There could be several inches of good ice in one area and, a few feet away, just a few inches of ice. Burch said even if there are other all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles or vehicle tracks crossing an area, he advises others to not follow them.
Safety tips when travelling on the ice include:
• No ice should ever be considered safe.
• Check existing ice conditions as you travel.
• Check with local bait shops, resorts, gas stations and other anglers for conditions.
• Consider other means of transportation other than a motor vehicle, such as an ATV, snowmobile or by foot.
• Do not travel on the lake after dark.
• Always notify someone in the area if you are traveling on the lake on when you are going and your expected return time.
• Carry a cell phone.
• Be familiar with the lake. Carry a map.
• If you need emergency assistance, call 911.
• Consider a GPS unit to help you on and off the lake.
• Avoid the use of alcohol.
• Pay attention to posted warning signs. Remember warning signs cannot be posted everywhere.
• When available, access the lake through a resort or public access and travel only on plowed roads.
Burch advises the public to use good common sense while thinking or planning on traversing on the ice and to check conditions before going out to guarantee a safe and successful trip and return.