Thursday, February 25, 2021

Long time Long Lake resident Jon Sams passed away on Monday, February 22, 2021

Written by CC White:

Jon Sams’ family has long ties to the Long Lake, Pine Haven Beach area.  His uncle, Ben Lantz, bought a lot and built the family’s cabin on Chippewa Loop during the 1930s.  (Ben Lantz bought his property with money he made on a paper route when he was just 12 years old, but that's a whole separate story.)  Josephine (Jo) Sams, Ben’s sister, would come with her 2 children, Sally and Jon, to stay for parts of the summer.  When Jon was a teenager he was hired by Harold White (my grandfather and owner of Pine Haven Resort) one summer to help Dick White (my father) deliver blocks of ice along the beach to all the cabins that still used iceboxes.  When Jon was discharged from the Air Force he spent some time at Long Lake.  As I remember it, Jon took myself and my sister, LuAnne, on fishing and rock hunting expeditions.  He also carved us rubber band guns.  He and my parents would go out to Chateau Paulette to eat and dance around the big fire place.  In the 1960s Jo Sams bought the lot next to and north of her brother’s place and built her own cabin. Over the years Jon married and brought his family to Long Lake.  When his mother died he inherited her cabin.  After his retirement Jon and his wife, Linda, spent most summers here.  Besides fishing on his little pontoon (The Lady Bug) every day, he also volunteered to be part of the Lake Association’s water quality monitoring team.  He took Secchi Disk readings at least once a month until he sold the cabin in 2012.  Jon also volunteered to teach a class in Lake Discovery in July of 2011 which showed the kids how to identify the plants and other life forms found in Long Lake.
Young Jon with a great northern.
To view Jon's obituary follow this link:  Obituary for Jon Sams (March 26, 1933 ~ February 22, 2021)

Jon with his dog Suzie
Jon with his dog, Suzie, on the power line trail.

A fish story at a Chippewa Loop cookout.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Zebra Mussels May Not End (Lake) Life As We Know It

 Fall Newsletter Article by Jim Blodgett

In the Zoom educational session on Zebra Mussels sponsored by LLAA on Thursday, October 22, Nicole Kovar, MN DNR Invasive Species Specialist, Northwest Region, provided a terrific overview about the life and practices of Zebra Mussels and the potential effects of said life and practices on Long Lake. Then followed an extensive Q & A session, and I’m here to tell you that we need not retreat wailing into the woods or put our cabins up for sale before word of Zebra Mussels in Long Lake gets around.

It is true that Zebra Mussels propagate at insane rates, a single one annually producing hundreds of thousands young, or as they are called, veligers. It is this invisible horde of veligers adrift in the lake that makes it important to eliminate the transportation of water between lakes, whether in bait buckets or fish wells or any other such containers. If moving bait to another body of water, replace the original water with bottled water or some other untainted water.

At four weeks veligers are only one millimeter long. By then they have started attaching themselves to solid surfaces with tiny filaments called byssal threads. These threads form extremely strong bonds to whatever the veliger settles on – rocks, docks, anchors, boat lifts, boat bottoms and motors, rafts, trampolines, the underside of recreational lily pads, native clams, other Zebra Mussels, and even plants. It is the attachment to plants that makes it important to eliminate their transportation between lakes. The first Zebra Mussel found in Long Lake was attached to a pond weed at the South Access.

The maximum length of a Zebra Mussel at the end of its first year is 1/4” to 3/8”. Any longer than that have been around for more than a year. Their presence is not particularly noticeable at the end of their first year in a lake. Following their introduction into a lake comes a lag period during which their numbers grow incrementally. This lag period is followed by a time of exponential increase, and people suddenly notice that the Zebra Mussels “are everywhere.” The length of the lag period varies greatly among lakes. Factors determining this length include the water’s temperature and its chemical makeup. Zebra Mussels do not propagate below 54° F, so a lake’s depth and water sources help determine the length of the breeding season. The amount of calcium in a lake helps to determine how quickly or slowly Zebra Mussel shells grow. Long Lake, unfortunately, has a robust calcium content.

Such differences among lakes result in large differences in the time by which Zebra Mussels’ population growth becomes exponential. Leech Lake took six years before its Zebra Mussel population growth hit overdrive. On the other hand, Cass Lake required only one year. Exponential growth continues until it finally plateaus at the lake’s carrying capacity. Zebra Mussel numbers do not wane significantly since they have few natural predators in Minnesota, unlike in their native Euro-Asian water bodies where predators keep their numbers in check. The few natural predators in our part of the world, such as sheepshank fish and diving ducks, simply cannot control such large numbers.

Mature Zebra Mussels feed by filtering tiny life forms out of the water. One Mussel filters about a quart of water a day. This filtering has great effect: Lake Winnibigoshish doubled in clarity in one year. We usually see clarifying our lake’s water as desirable (and it is), but too much clarification in a short time through removal of tiny life forms can significantly upset a lake’s ecology, upending fish and plant life. The Zebra Mussel shells themselves differ from those of our native crustaceans. The shells of our snails, for example, pulverize when dead, but those of the Zebra Mussels break into shards that can cut peoples’ feet.

The presence of Zebra Mussels in Long Lake will make a difference in the lives of us who live on the lake. Total eradication is not a realistic goal. We will need to keep boats and their motors on lifts, out of the water, when not actually using them. We may need to rake our swimming areas and perhaps take to wearing water shoes. Zebra Mussels will not affect the use of docks and lifts.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota AIS Research Center at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is conducting many research projects related to Zebra Mussel control. Some promising projects involve the use of copper compounds, and the recently completed decoding of the Zebra Mussel genome allows exploration of genetically based control, perhaps, for example, rendering Zebra Mussels infertile through gene splicing. Such cures, of course, will take years to develop, refine and implement, but in the meantime we can continue to enjoy the pleasures that our lake provides.

To view the video from Nicole Kovar’s presentation, go to:

Monday, February 1, 2021

Ice Out Guesses Due by March 1, 2021

Join the fun! 

Guess the “Ice Out” date for Long Lake this coming spring!  To participate in the fun please send your guess to  The deadline for guesses is March 1.  All those selecting the winning date will be recognized.  A final drawing from ALL participant names by an unbiased observer will select one participant to receive the prize, donated by Monika Wilkins, which will be awarded at the LLAA Annual Meeting in 2021.  Good Luck to all!

Yes we know it looks like this out on the lake now, but think Spring and submit your best guess.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Obituary of Long time Long Lake Resident, Evelyn White

Note: Evelyn is the mother of our current LLAA president, Carolynne (CC) White and her sister, LuAnne White.

Evelyn R. White passed away at her home on January 16, 2021 at the age of 97.  She fell and broke her hip while trying to dance with the snowflakes a few days before she decided that her body was holding her back from her best steps.  
Evelyn had made all her arrangement decisions several years ago.  Therefore, as per her wish, there will not be a funeral or any formal ceremony.
Evelyn was born in La Crescent, Minnesota, the youngest of 5 siblings.  She attended college at Winona Teachers’ College where she earned her teacher's certificate.  She then joined her older sister, Elizabeth, in Portland, Oregon to work in the shipyards, but was quickly recruited there to teach school.  After WWII she got a teaching job in Bemidji and met Richard M. White of Park Rapids.  They were married in 1946.  Both were teachers.  They lived and taught in Austin, Minnesota until 1984 when they retired to Richard’s family property on Long Lake.
Evelyn was a very private person but she did share many stories of times as a Master Gardener, as a member of the Park Rapids Friends of the Library, Library Book Club, Park Rapids League of Women Voters, and a Cat Gramma.  She played piano, sometimes sang in choirs, enjoyed embroidery, and in retirement she learned to do watercolor painting.  Her last kitty, Nutmeg, passed a week before Evelyn.
In memory of Evelyn we encourage you to adopt a pet, raise your voices in joyful song at every opportunity, and dance - even if the walker is your only partner. 

In lieu of flowers donations would be appreciated to one of the following places:
Headwaters Animal Shelter

901 Western Ave S.
Park Rapids, MN 56470
[Phone: (218) 237-7100]

Long Lake Area Association Foundation
(The LLAA Foundation works to keep Long Lake clean and healthy.) 
Gift to Honor Form:   LLAA Gift to Honor Form 
CHI St. Joseph's Health, Hospice Care
600 Pleasant Ave
Park Rapids, MN 56470
CHI St. Joseph’s Health Foundation Online Donations:

Monday, January 4, 2021

Zebra Mussel SCUBA Dive by Jim Seifert

In July of 2020 Zebra Mussels were discovered in Long Lake at its South Access, located off MN Highway 87.

Several times each summer, Long Lake Area Association (LLAA) volunteers conduct visual inspections via “rake tosses” in areas with high boat traffic and high transient boat access. In addition, there are sessions each summer to train additional volunteers in how to conduct visual inspections. During one of these training sessions, Zebra Mussels were discovered near the South Access. The discovery was subsequently confirmed by Nicole Kovar, MN DNR AIS Specialist for our area, who, with a colleague, physically located additional Zebra Mussels while SCUBA diving near the South Access.

The LLAA, Hubbard County Environmental Services and the DNR then began the process of creating heightened awareness at all frequently used public accesses on Long Lake. Once a lake has an infestation of Zebra Mussels, completely eradicating the infestation is nearly impossible. Each Zebra Mussel creates millions of microscopic offspring during its lifecycle, many of which can be killed using certain poisonous chemicals, a process extremely toxic to other life in the lake. The analogy would be burning down your house to get rid of mice.

The rate of Zebra Mussel infestation can be controlled at best. Control is achieved best by not adding to the existing Zebra Mussel population through voluntary and guided AIS inspection at accesses. LLAA and its sister Long Lake Foundation are working hard to increase AIS inspector presence at accesses for the summer of 2021, but it’s expensive.

In August, DNR AIS Specialist Nicole Kovar and I conducted additional SCUBA dives to determine whether Zebra Mussels had established themselves farther out into the lake from the South Access. We were assisted by lake resident Sharon Natzel, AIS Prevention Coordinator. As Nicole and I dove for inspection, Sharon monitored our progress and checked nearby shore areas for evidence of Zebra Mussels. For experienced SCUBA divers, the term “dive” would be an overstatement. The deepest we dove was about nine feet. SCUBA diving instead of snorkeling enabled us to closely examine structure without having to repeatedly surface for a breath of air. We dove several areas northeast of the south access in stump fields and in shallow areas of sand and rocks that extend out into the lake. The good news is that we did not find any evidence of mature Zebra Mussels attached to structure in the lake. While this is great news, we know that Zebra Mussels exist in the lake.

Zebra Mussels live attached to hard surfaces and underwater structures. Zebra Mussels have no real natural predators in our MN  lakes. Relative to the native mussels they compete with, the Zebra  Mussels reproduce on an order of magnitude that overwhelms native mussels competing for the same food supply.

In some ways our lake’s Zebra Mussel infestation is a metaphor for the Corona Virus we have all been dealing with for the last 9 months. Zebra Mussels reach maturity in one year and have millions of offspring. Native mussels have thousands of offspring and mature in 10 years. While Zebra Mussels start slowly, their growth over several years is exponential as millions of offspring mature, have millions more who mature, and have millions more. Like our Corona Virus that was first detected in Washington State, within 9 months infected even the farthest reaches of the country.

The analogy stops there. There isn't a "vaccine" for Zebra Mussels. The University of Minnesota's AIS Research Center is conducting research on Zebra Mussels. There is a promising multi-year study on Lake Minnetonka using low-dose copper to suppress the population of Zebra Mussels in a bay that has an expected completion of Dec 2022. [ ] We each have a personal responsibility to prevent the spread of AIS from one water body to another. We can make an appointment at the complimentary hot water decontamination station at the South Transfer Station for our boat/trailer when we plan to go to another lake and upon our return from another lake. We can educate our guests to do the same. 

LLAA is focused on containing the spread of zebra mussels and faucet snails plus preventing the spread of other AIS like starry stonewort and Eurasian watermilfoil into Long Lake by increasing the AIS watercraft inspection and education at the public accesses. LLAA is working with lake service providers, tournament organizers, resorts, VRBO operators, and lake residents to CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY before putting anything in the lake.

Lake residents and users of the lake can help by DONATING to the LLAA Foundation (see article in this newsletter) to help cover the high cost of AIS inspection and by following AIS prevention guidelines. LLAA is also looking for volunteers to train to recognize AIS within the lake and/or to hang a complimentary zebra mussel settlement sampler on your dock. You do not have to be a member of the LLAA to volunteer or be trained.

Jim Seifert grew up spending every summer at his family’s home on the northeast shore of Long Lake. Now retired, Jim and his wife Jona (a Long Lake native) live on the lake in the home that has seen generations of family since 1934. Jim is the Secretary of the Long Lake Area Association and Neighborhood Six representative.