From Ice Road to Border
A look back at the past few years on travel to the Northwest Angle
When the world came to a standstill amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the picturesque Northwest Angle faced an unexpected challenge—its lifeline, the Canadian border, closed. For tourists, even those with homes in the Angle, reaching this remote destination became an issue. Faced with the threat of dwindling tourism, a resilient coalition of businesses and residents joined forces to embark on an extraordinary venture—the creation of the original ice road across the expansive Lake of the Woods.
The Inception of the Ice Road
The ice road initiative was nothing short of a marvel. A 22-mile icy expanse stretched across the lake, complemented by an additional 8 miles winding through the woods, repurposing what was once a mere snowmobile trail. The ice road became the silver lining for the community, allowing visitors to traverse the frozen wilderness and reignite tourism in the Northwest Angle.
Challenges and Triumphs
As the following year rolled in, stringent regulations imposed by Canada persisted, prompting the continued existence of the ice road for a second consecutive year. However, this time around, the venture faced new challenges. With fewer hands managing the ice road and uncooperative weather, the once reliable ice road only endured for part of the season before being closed.
A Temporary Frozen Wonderland
Despite its ephemeral nature, the ice road became a source of delight and wonder for those lucky enough to experience it. An unconventional route across Lake of the Woods, added a unique charm to the Northwest Angle experience. Yet, the community was quick to adapt to the changing circumstances, and today, with the Canadian border welcoming everyone once again, the need for the ice road has become a distant memory.
The Thaw and the Return to Normalcy
The reopening of the Canadian border marks the return to normalcy for the Northwest Angle. No longer constrained by the limitations of an ice road, tourists can now embark on the 40-mile journey through Canada to reach their destination. The pristine landscapes, abundant fishing opportunities, and the charm of the Northwest Angle are once again easily accessible to all who seek a retreat into the heart of nature.
The Northwest Angle Remains a Testament to Strength & Determination
While the ice road provided a temporary route and a story to tell for those who traversed it, the community can now look back fondly on the time when innovation and unity, created an unforgettable chapter in the history of the Northwest Angle.
The Northwest Angle’s ice road was more than just a frozen pathway; it symbolized resilience, community spirit, and the ability to adapt in the face of unprecedented challenges. It also leaves many memories to those who were fortunate to take the road less traveled.