Historic Flooding Continues to Affect Residents Across the Minnesota/Canada Water Basin
INT’L FALLS/KABETOGAMA, MINN. –“Mother nature has not been kind to us this year so far at all. So every week it’s like it could come up another foot, every week it could come up another foot, and it has.”
Northern Minnesota residents who border Canada continue to battle historic flooding. It has devastated the area and hindered the beginning of summer tourism, causing financial harm to the local economy, as well. Residents and organizations from across the region are working around the clock to preserve homes, businesses, and the quality of human life.
There are currently three sandbagging sites located on the east in the rainy lake area, west near Lake Kabetogama, and in the middle of International Falls. Lakeside citizens face rain, wind, and other environmental factors contributing to the flood fight. The sandbag barriers stand in an attempt to protect homes and businesses in its wake.
According to Rainy Lake homeowner Terry Wood, it’s like reliving a tiring groundhogs day over and over again. “You wake up in the morning, that’s what you wake up to. And then you’re drained by the time you go back to bed again the next day, and you start all over again.”
Each day, nearly 6 yards of sand is delivered to Terry’s home for bagging. He estimates that 5,600 sandbags surround his home, holding nearly 4 feet of water back. He also says that the emotional, psychological, and physical exhaustion from battling this flood is consuming.
The national guard, Team Rubicon, the American Red Cross, neighboring districts, and more provide help with flood efforts. Terry asks for people who can and are willing, to travel north on the weekends. “We need help it’s not a joke. It’s reality.”
The flood areas in the northern region are not considered flood basins, so many citizens do not have flood insurance. Over on Lake Kabetogama, Sandy Point Resort is one of the many seasonal businesses now submerged.
Tanner Steinlicht and his family, owners of sandy point, bought the resort on may 20, right when the flood was beginning. He says that taking an optimistic approach to the situation has helped his family as they keep trying to stay afloat. “We’re gonna get through this. Nothing’s gonna stop us. We’re just gonna keep that mentality and keep moving forward.”
Steinlicht says that they would not have been able to keep up with sandbagging needs if it wasn’t for outside help. Although the cabins located on the resort are not currently operational, he says they lodge people when they can in the hotel units above the main building.
According to International Falls Mayor Harley Droba. The flood is expected to hit its peak in the next 10-15 days.
Sandy Point owners are planning and hoping to have the resort functional and open for the season by the weekend of July 4. Tanner says that he has no regrets purchasing it, and has many plans for its future. “Last week when I was up here, just the sunrise to the right there on one of the nights, even though we’re surrounded by water it’s like we’re almost on our own arch right now. To look out over to the west and see that sunset, that’s why we do it.”
The United Way of Northeastern Minnesota will be sending a sandbag bus to the northern area this week. Volunteers are needed for that, and will depart Chisholm at 7am on June 8th, 9th, 14th, and 15th. For residents and business owners, this battle is not over yet on the land under water as they wait for the water recede and plan for the months of cleanup to come.