In the northeast corner of Big Spirit Lake is Angler’s Bay. Nearly 3500 feet of its shoreline remains undeveloped, supporting a massive bed of bulrushes and cattails that provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. A total of 93 acres feed into this shoreline.
In 2006 it appeared that this treasure would disappear in lieu of development on this precious shore. Fortunately, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF), working with the landowners, Don and Nancy Yarnes, DNR, the Iowa legislature, federal government and private donors, reached an agreement to purchase the property in 2007, the largest purchase for INHF at the time. Besides the bulrush and cattail beds, this property also extends to the land behind the shore, creating additional runoff control opportunities as well as a return of the area to a diverse prairie and marshes. The Spirit Lake Protective Association was one of many contributors to this successful purchase with the eventual landowner being the DNR. See the article from Dickinson County News (DCN) from June 21, 2006.
The SLPA continues to monitor the project and communicate with the DNR on the progress of preserving and protecting the shoreline and bulrush beds, restoring existing and potential wetlands and establishment of a diverse prairie on former cropland. As early as 2015, discussion of returning the area to an oak savannah had begun in order to ensure that the bulrush beds remain as the vital source that they are for Big Spirit Lake and the Iowa Great Lakes. Please see the article from the Dickinson County News, August 26, 2015 about the potential for the return of the oak savannah.