North Dakota Outdoors: Partnership with landowners

Published: Jun. 13, 2021 at 12:17 AM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - In this week’s segment of North Dakota Outdoors, Mike Anderson highlights a partnership between landowners and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department that are unique yet typical in North Dakota.

Rice Lake in Emmons County is a popular fishery year-round for anglers from across the state. However, high water in the spring of 2020 made access to the lake difficult.

“We’re very thankful that the Van Boven family and Ken Nieuwsma provided access for years on Rice Lake, boating access. Unfortunately, that boating access site was inundated by high water starting in the fall of 2019 with abundant precipitation that we had. So that boat ramp quickly became unusable by the spring of 2020,” said Paul Bailey, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries supervisor.

And that’s when the North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries crews started working with private landowners for a new location for a boat ramp on Rice Lake.

“We were fortunate that Mark and Jean Hollaar were willing to step up to the plate and provided this fantastic access on the south shore of Rice Lake that had the right slope that we needed for a boat ramp and the right area for a parking area,” said Bailey.

Landowners Mark and Jean Hollaar didn’t think twice when asked if they would be willing to donate a small portion of their land for the new boat ramp site.

Mark Hallaar said: “And growing up here, I’ve enjoyed the lake over the years and just appreciate that other people can have the opportunity also. And you guys provide a great service. And it’s really been great to work with the North Dakota Game and Fish.”

Over 90% of land in North Dakota is privately owned, and without cooperation from individuals, anglers wouldn’t have access to most lakes in North Dakota.

“The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and our state’s anglers really owe them a big debt of gratitude for providing this access that really thousands of anglers have the opportunity to enjoy this fishery,” said Bailey.

“The name on the sign makes my wife and I feel very fortunate that we have the opportunity to do it. And we’re blessed and we just want to share that with others. It is just a great service for the community, especially. And the anglers, and it it’s good for you, too,” said Mark Hallaar.

As is often the case, other area landowners help with dock installation in the spring and fall, and upkeep of the boat ramp area throughout the year.

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