Updated: Officials order all vehicles off Patterson Lake
Officials ordered all motorized vehicles to be removed from Patterson Lake on Sunday afternoon following two days of high temperatures and rain showers that turned into freezing rain.
The Stark County Department of Emergency Services, the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Land Management, and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department were involved in the decision.
Dan Hoenke, the warden supervisor at North Dakota Game and Fish office in Dickinson, said the decision to block traffic from the lake was the result of thinning ice near the lake’s edges.
While the ice remains solid enough for anglers to walk out onto the ice, Hoenke said the warming temperatures and runoff caused the edges of the lake to melt.
“People are still walking out onto the lake,” he said.
Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said the “life safety” decision was made after a vehicle went through the ice on the north side of the lake earlier Sunday in shallow waters. No injuries were reported.
By Monday, Hoenke said that barricades had been put in place near the lake’s boat ramps to make sure people didn’t drive out onto the ice.
Ice houses can remain on Patterson Lake and fisherman can still walk out, Fahlsing said, but they are being advised to use “extreme caution.”
Hoenke said there are currently three fishing shacks remaining on the ice, and the hope is that they can remain there until the temperature drops again.
“We still encourage those who don’t feel they can remove the ice houses safely after this point to do so immediately,” Fahlsing said.
Press Managing Editor Dustin Monke and reporter Andrew Brown contributed this story.