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Ice road across Lake of the Woods from Northwest Angle to Springsteel has been connected

The ice road across Lake of the Woods, which will allow visitors traveling by road to bypass Canada, is scheduled to open Friday.

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Signs greet visitors to the Northwest Angle on Lake of the Woods County Road 49 at the Minnesota-Manitoba border in January 2021.
Brad Dokken / Grand Forks Herald

NORTHWEST ANGLE, Minn. — An ice road from Minnesota’s Northwest Angle and across Lake of the Woods to Springsteel Resort north of Warroad, Minnesota, was plowed Tuesday and is scheduled to open Friday.

The road, which connects with an ice road Springsteel Resort maintains on the south end of the lake, will allow visitors to reach the Northwest Angle by road without having to drive through Canada.

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A Minnesota exclave, the Northwest Angle is bordered on three sides by Canada and accessible by road only by driving through about 40 miles of Manitoba. The Canadian border reopened to nonessential travel Aug. 9, 2021, but anyone entering the country must be fully vaccinated and show proof of a negative COVID test taken no more than 72 hours before attempting to cross the border.

Northwest Angle Angle map.JPG
Forum News Service

The Northwest Angle Guest Ice Road, as it’s called, will allow visitors to bypass those requirements.

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"They made it to Springsteel," Brett Alsleben of Points North Services on the Northwest Angle mainland said Tuesday in a text message to the Herald.

The road should be "mostly open" Friday, Alsleben said, "maybe not finished and marked but open."

Points North is overseeing the ice road effort and also plows a road from the mainland to the islands on Minnesota’s Northwest Angle.

The Northwest Angle made national news last winter when Points North, along with several resorts, a local snowmobile club and area residents, teamed up to plow an ice road across Lake of the Woods to provide vehicle access to the Angle while the Canadian border remained closed to nonessential travel.

While last year’s road included 8 miles of land travel on a trail along the Canada and U.S. border, this year’s road is entirely on the ice, Alsleben said.

According to a post on the "Northwest Angle Guest Ice Road-2022" Facebook page, the route from Springsteel arrives at the Flag Island portage, at which point vehicles will be on the ice road that connects all of the island and mainland resorts.

Traveling the road by daylight and at low speed is recommended when it opens. The access fee is $250 per vehicle, and VENMO QR codes will be available on the ice road Facebook page and at Springsteel Resort.

The increase from last year's price of $120 to the Northwest Angle mainland and $145 to the islands is necessary because Points North is going it alone on this year’s ice road, Alsleben said.

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Last winter’s ice road, which opened in mid-January and closed Friday, March 12, cost an estimated $1,500 a mile to plow and maintain, and partners invested 675 hours of plowing time and spent $130,000 in building and maintaining the road, according to Lake of the Woods Tourism.

Updates on the ice road, as they become available, will be posted on the Northwest Angle Guest Ice Road-2022 Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nwaiceroad .

Visitors can also reach the Northwest Angle by driving through Manitoba if they meet Canada’s vaccination and testing requirements, by groomed snowmobile trails from the south end of the lake, by Bombardier tracked vehicle through Lake of the Woods Passenger Service or by air through Lake Country Air, a St. Paul-based company providing charter air service from either Baudette or Warroad.

More info: lakeofthewoodsmn.com .

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