Industrial Fencing, Security Cameras Surround This Hidden Lake In Minnesota
Most of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes are lovely, inviting bodies of water-- except for this hidden lake that's surrounded by warning signs, industrial fencing, and security cameras. Minnesota has been known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes for decades now. And even though we officially have 11,842 actual lakes in our fine state (which apparently isn't nearly as catchy as '10,000 Lakes'), there's one that likely isn't included in that total, even though it's close to the size of White Bear Lake.
Why Do Fencing, Security Cameras and Warning Signs Surround This Minnesota Lake?
That's because this lake isn't really a lake at all-- it's a manmade holding pond (a 'tailings basin' referred to as 'Milepost 7') just north of Silver Bay along Minnesota's North Shore. It's filled with polluted runoff waste generated by the company that's been mining iron ore near there for decades. And it's not a body of water anyone would want to fish, ski, or even wade in. Not that you could, mind you, because it's surrounded by security fences and closed-circuit cameras.
This interesting story from Racket explains more about how that massive pond of pollution came into existence. It was the solution the mining company came up with after state officials FINALLY said they could no longer dump that polluted runoff directly into Lake Superior, as the company had previously been doing.
This Hidden 'Lake' Was Created To Stop Hazardous Pollution in Minnesota
Racket said that polluted runoff was found to contain asbestos-like fibers that had shown up in the drinking water supply of various cities along the North Shore, including Duluth and Two Harbors. It was so bad in the 70s, it caused the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require the company to create the massive 2,150-acre Milepost 7 to contain that waste.
There was apparently a proposal to allow Milepost 7 to increase in size a few years ago, but this story from the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) says it was denied by the Minnesota DNR in 2022. So, for now, Milepost 7 is just sitting there, out of sight from the surrounding beauty of Minnesota's North Shore (unless you check Google Maps, of course.)
Thankfully, Milepost 7 isn't like all of the other pristine lakes, rivers, and streams that make up the North Star State-- even if some of them have really hard-to-pronounce names. Keep scrolling to see if YOU know how to correctly say the following lakes!