By Anna Jauhola
The ice houses are out and the fish are biting at Lake Bronson.
State Park Manager Jenny Eastvold said last week the ice has reached at least 17 inches thick on parts of the lake.
“But we always urge people to check conditions and use caution,” she said.
Anyone looking to get on the ice, but isn’t sure of the thickness, should take an ice chisel and chip on the ice ahead of them as they walk, Eastvold said. Many people use an auger to check for thickness as well.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the minimum safe ice thickness for walking activities on ice is 4 inches. If you want to snowmobile or use an ATV, the ice should be at least 5 to 7 inches thick. Ice can support a car or small pickup at 8 to 12 inches thick. And medium trucks can safely drive on ice that is between 12 and 15 inches thick.
These are guidelines, however, and Eastvold, along with the DNR, stresses that ice is never 100 percent safe. Eastvold noted that new, clear ice is strongest and old ice that has melted and refroze is much less stable.
Each individual is entirely responsible for checking ice thickness as the DNR does not measure it, nor do individual state park managers. The DNR website suggests checking ice thickness every 150 feet.
“Temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice,” the website states.
Eastvold said that ice is rarely the same thickness over any body of water. She added that Lake Bronson is an aeriated lake and has current year-round because the Two Rivers feeds the lake. A constant current makes for less predictable ice thickness.
For more information about ice safety, visit the DNR website to learn how to safely travel on ice, creating a survival plan, escaping a vehicle and helping someone else in trouble on ice, among other tips. The website is https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html.
By Anna Jauhola