St. Louis County sheriff’s office to crack down on water skipping

An annual spring time event that brought hundreds of people to Lake Vermilion now has a dubious future.
People water skipping on snowmobiles near Trout Lake Portage on Lake Vermilion may face legal consequences after St. Louis County sent out a news release Thursday.
“The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the MN DNR are issuing a public notice to those that plan on participating in any water skipping activities that this practice will no longer be allowed and those participating will be cited.”
The release lists March 20 as the date when water skipping will no longer be allowed and violators will be cited. That could mean this weekend would be the last time skipping would be allowed.
And it’s not just Lake Vermilion, the release states, “the water skipping events held at this and any other locations will no longer be allowed and violators will be cited.”
Water skipping on snowmobiles is a very popular recreational activity in northeast Minnesota. Many of the professional water skipping racers from this area got their start either at Lake Vermilion or other area lakes.
The water skipping drew hundreds of people to the area on spring weekends when the water flowing from Trout Lake opened up the ice at Lake Vermilion.
Businesses had even brought out food and beverages to sell to the crowds.
The notice lists Minnesota Statute 84.87 Sub 2 which states: It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any snowmobile in the following unsafe or harassing ways:
(1) at a rate of speed greater than reasonable or proper under all the surrounding circumstances;
(2) in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the person or property of another or to cause injury or damage thereto;
(3) without a lighted head and taillight when required for safety; or
(4) in any tree nursery or planting in a manner which damages or destroys growing stock.
“Water skipping in an unorganized fashion will be considered careless driving.
“If any group wants to organize an event they can do so under Minnesota Statute 84.87 Sub 1A and follow the proper procedure of applying and receiving a permit for the organized function. These applications must be made with the MN DNR as well as St. Louis County and information on how to do so can be obtained on their respective websites.”