About the Spirit Lake Protective Association

The precise date of the founding of the Spirit Lake Protective Association is unknown; however, according to archived news reports, the SLPA was a major player in the purchase of twelve acres of land for the Mini-Wakan State Park in 1933.  And local news reports from 1930 suggest that the organization first came into being at that time.  The Association filed restated articles of incorporation in Dickinson County, Iowa, on July 2, 1959. The Spirit Lake Protective Association has been responsible for many projects aimed at the preservation and improvement of Big Spirit Lake and the surrounding areas, including Little Spirit Lake and adjacent marsh lands. Some of the recent undertakings include:

  • Refurbishing Picnic Tables at Mini-Wakan, Crandall’s Beach and Templar Park State Recreation Area.
  • Using Volunteers to clear the view-space at Templar Park State Recreation Area and installing purple martin housing.
  • Raising funds for land purchases, like Reeds Run, critical to improving Big Spirit Lake water quality.
  • Contributing financial support to the Water Quality Testing program (CLAMP) carried out by the Iowa Lakeside Lab.
  • Contracting and paying for the yearly removal of about 50 safety buoys, purchasing of replacement buoys and repair parts for the buoys.
  • Organizing and providing for the Annual July 3rd Fireworks over Big Spirit Lake.
  • Mailing newsletters to over 1100 residents and interested parties featuring the SLPA activities as well as quality of water, quality of life topics.
  • The Association supports and belongs to several different area organizations or working groups such as the curly leaf pond-weed working group and the Spillway dock and ramp restoration group.
  • Collaborated with Kuhlman’s Lake Service and Welding to distribute membership information in billings.
  • Received assistance from the Spirit Lake Fire Department to provide additional on-lake coverage during the July 3rd fireworks.
  • Assisted in the replacement of the Ainsworth-Orleans dock and the replacement of the Ainsworth-Orleans boat ramp.
  • Collaborated with Dickinson County Water Quality Commission, Pheasants Forever Minnesota, INHF, Ducks Unlimited, USFWS, and many private donors to acquire and start the restoration process of 195.5 acres north of Shore Acres and McClelland’s Slough on the north end of Big Spirit Lake … on the Minnesota side of the line

Some of the past activities of the SLPA have included:

  • Contributed $20,000 to the Howard K. Vincent WPA, called locally the “Spirit Lake North” project and helped raise a total of $250,000 towards the total project cost of $2.1 million.
  • Contributed $15,000 to help acquire the East Okoboji lands adjacent to the Elinor Bedell State Park with INHF.
  • Contributed $10,000 to help acquire the Reed Farm Property on East Okoboji in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited.
  • Organized volunteers for The Annual Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup to keep the lakeshore clean and attractive to residents and visitors.
  • Contributed funds to inspect boats and trailers coming into the Iowa Great Lakes to control invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil for the Lakes Water Safety Council.
  • Contributed $10,000 to assist the City of Orleans to construct a storm water system in the southeast corner of Spirit Lake.
  • Contributed $22,500 over a three-year period to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to purchase 3,500 feet of lakeshore around Angler’s Bay to protect the bulrushes and fish spawning area and to preserve the quality of the lake.   And continue to work with Iowa DNR on re-establishment of the Oak Savanna and preservation of the Bulrushes.
  • Provided financial assistance to the Dickinson County Trails Board to improve and to continue a recreational trail around Big Spirit Lake.
  • Organized the Big Spirit Jamboree in 2007 to raise funds for the SLPA activities.
  • Organized the highly successful Opry at The Sami Center for Performing Arts in January 2009 to raise funds for the restoration of the Mini-Wakan State Park Lodge.
  • Provided a representative to the Clean Water Alliance to help develop strategies for the promotion of policies that improve water quality.