Should taxpayers bail out Lake Mille Lacs resorts?

What responsibility do you have to help a business?

Typically around these parts, that’s a discussion that focuses on publicly financed stadiums for fat cat owners who know how to shake down politicians. Sometimes, it happens after a natural disaster (although public funds usually are limited to public infrastructure).

What if there aren’t enough fish?

On Tuesday, as MPR’s Riham Feshir reported, the Dayton administration floated the idea of a special session of the Legislature to help resort owners around Lake Mille Lacs.

It seems to be a bipartisan issue.

“The threat of a shorter walleye season on Mille Lacs is very concerning,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican, said. “I suggested to the governor earlier today that we put together a working group of commissioners, committee chairs and policy experts to meet in the next few days. Together we will examine the problem and determine the best solution.”

The problem is the DNR has set a limit on the number of walleye that can be taken from the lake, and fisherpeople are taking them.

According to Dayton spokeswoman Linden Zakula, the relief could include zero interest loans, property tax abatements and extra tourism promotion and advertising for the region.

A commenter on the Star Tribune site — yes, I know, but hear me out on this — makes a good point. The DNR is managing the lake as an ecosystem, but it’s not anymore. It’s a tourist attraction that supports business.

The proposed action comes after a meeting last week in which resorters said what’s happening around the lake qualifies as a disaster, according to the Mille Lakes County Times.

One person said 50 businesses have probably gone under in the past 10 years and that the state isn’t standing up for local people. He said their plight has been ignored by politicians who get paid whether walleye fishing is open or closed and claimed predator fish are the biggest enemy of the walleye.

“It’s so obvious to everyone who doesn’t have political interest,” the man said. “This is physically and emotionally draining.”

Another person said the governor should visit Lake Mille Lacs. People said they’d welcome the chance to take the governor out and show him water temperatures, actual floaters, fish sizes and other conditions in real time.

“This is disaster aid,” one man said, “tell the governor that.”

There are several elements to the story worthy of discussion: Can the future of the lake and the present of the lake co-exist anymore? What other business deserves a state bailout?

And how far “down the line” does the aid go?

“I see it at the bank, and it’s not just the lake, it’s all the way down the line,” Roger Tramm, lifelong resident of Isle and manager of the local branch of the First National Bank of Milaca, said at the meeting, according the the Times. “I see all the people around here struggling.”

  • MrE85

    I say no.

  • Neil

    I’m not sure. I lean no: when your business relies on a natural resource there will be boom and bust. That seems reasonably foreseeable, no? At the same time, there could be some role for the state to play in helping a struggling industry get through a rough stretch (assuming it is merely that and not a systemic or structural problem).

    But “bail out”, while literally accurate AND a boat joke, is a loaded term.

    • Postal Customer

      Ahh, memories of bailing out grandpa’s boat with a cut-up milk jug. And then there was the going-to-the-bathroom pail we lovingly referred to as the Episcopalian.

  • Veronica

    I highly doubt the lack of fish is what’s causing the problems, but it makes for a nice little headline and a great sob story.

  • Kassie

    I think I’m on the no side, but I’m not sure.

    I think in one way, the DNR is already bailing out the owners on the lake. They are shortening the season in order for there to be future seasons. If they weren’t controlling the number of fish being taken out of the lake the walleye would be gone soon. Then the resorts would be in much worse shape than they will be by having a short season.

    Second, these resorts need to diversify. If they are solely surviving on an overfished fish, they have a bad business model.

    Third, has the government stepped in when there were problems at other lakes? The lake my parents live on is getting very weedy, worse every year, due to run off from industrial farms. No one is stepping in to help the resort on that lake.

    • Well said Kassie.

      There are still plenty of other species in that lake that I would target.

    • sffa

      how do you diversify without money????

      • Kassie

        You put together a business plan. You go find an investor. You diversify. You don’t keep doing what isn’t working and hope the government bails you out.

        • sffa

          Who in their right flipping mind would invest in Mille Lacs right now? I think that is such an awesome idea that you should show up there and tell everyone that revelation. You would be laughed out of town
          If you think everyone is sitting there waiting for a hand out you are dead wrong. The governor wants to help with zero interest LOANS. They would be paid back AFTER you diversify with the money that you borrowed.

          • Kassie

            If a bank won’t give them money, because it isn’t a good investment, why should the government? What will hold them to paying back those loans? Why should the government give loans to people who don’t have a business plan and a set idea on what they will do with that money to keep afloat for the years to come?

  • Guest

    The walleye fishing restrictions/ban should be set for EVERYONE no matter what background..

    • MrE85

      Please, tell us more. On second thought, please don’t.

    • crystals

      The Chippewa community also has walleye fishing restrictions, actually. The general public can take 28,600 pounds of walleye from Mille Lacs this year, the Chippewa bands can take 11,400. We’ve approached our limit and they have yet to approach theirs – maybe the question should be, what can we learn from them?

      If you want to get into a discussion about the way in which we took their lands and made a treaty with them so they could at least continue to fish after we did so, by all means. But at least be educated about the subject.

      http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/laws_treaties/1854/litigation.html

      • sffa

        They exceeded their limit and are still going! They can hook and line 10 per person with a fishing pole and keep any size they want…. but that counts against the publics quota! Does that make sense to you?????

        • crystals

          I support protecting their rights as outlined by the original treaty and current legal agreement. If the current legal agreement is amended in partnership with the bands to reflect the current reality on Mille Lacs, then I’d support that too.

          Where is there proof the bands have exceeded their limit for this year and are still going, however? Can you prove that the DNR is sharing false information when they say the bands have not approached, much less exceeded, their limit?

          • sffa

            http://www.messagemedia.co/millelacs/outdoors/tribal-netting-harvest-for/article_4f42906a-f33a-11e4-a008-47fda8b7963d.html They were 1,200 LBs (300 fish) away from their quota before the perch netting started. They got their accidentals while perch netting and the quota was reached. They are still allowed to hook and line 10 fish per person(any size) even though their quota is reached. That is not fair to be counted against the non native community when the keeper ratio set by the DNR is about 1 out of 50 fish caught.

          • crystals

            Thanks for sharing – that’s a helpful article. It doesn’t say that the bands have actually exceeded their limits, however, and it specifically notes that there are 1,000 lbs allocated for walleye who may be incidental victims of perch netting and that as soon as those limits are reached tribes will cease harvesting/fishing/etc.

            So my question is the same: where is there proof the limits have now been exceeded and the bands are continuing to fish in violation of the agreement, as you claim?

          • sffa

            Call Aitkin fisheries and they will tell you their quota is reached.218-429-3010. They are in charge of this info.

    • Guest

      Why repeat something that has WORKED previously.. or is it not PC to call for restrictions?
      Per the article, netting restrictions were placed and only hook and line was allowed for EVERYONE and the population bounced back.
      http://www.mprnews.org/story/2009/08/03/red-lake-walleye-fishing

  • Tim

    I don’t fish, so I have to ask: what’s so special about walleye that’s causing the issue, particularly when there are other fish available that still have healthy populations?

    • Kassie

      They are a big, tasty to eat, fun to catch fish.

      • gimruis

        They taste better than other fish. Arguably better than any other freshwater fish around here. They don’t put up much of a fight however. Plus anglers don’t typically target muskies and smallmouth bass because of how they taste, they’re sought after for the sport of it.

        • Brian

          My grandpa always told a story about some friends he served Largemouth bass. They said it was the best walleye they ever had. (He was a bass fisherman though, so that may have biased the telling)

        • Kassie

          Muskies and Northern are also difficult to clean. We’ve never ate bass in my family and actually, mostly we eat Sunnies and Crappies. I do believe panfish is my favorite food in the whole world, so I don’t blame people for wanting to catch Walleye. They are so good.

  • CHS

    As the ‘guest’ is subtly and not so subtly hinting at, the part of this story that hasn’t been brought up is the bad blood that exists in the region because of tribal netting rights on the lake. The local tribes are allotted a quota of fish, which they can take through gill netting, and the remaining balance of what the DNR says is sustainable is what is allowed to be caught by the people who fish under the normal DNR rules. So, it’s much more complicated than the government bailing out resorts because the lake doesn’t have enough fish. Many people firmly believe the lake is being mismanaged by the DNR because of this and their mismanagement is part of the source of their woes….

    • MrE85

      More on the court ruling that should have ended the “bad blood” http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/199903/24_stawickie_treaty/

      • CHS

        There’s no disputing the rights of them to do it, doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of very mad people people still. Just because the court affirmed their rights, doesn’t mean everyone becomes happy they have them.

        • MrE85

          Fair enough. But there has always been a nasty racial overtone to this controversy that makes this whole affair look distasteful.

        • Al

          Really, we’re not that far removed from massive protests over tribal rights. http://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/21/us/indian-treaty-accord-in-wisconsin.html

          CHS makes a good point that there’s still a LOT of bitterness from non-American Indian fishers, even if it’s grounded in misinformation.

    • gimruis

      Scientific data indicates that spring gill netting by the bands is not the reason why the walleye population is down. Natural reproduction is still very high. The issue is predation, mostly by bigger walleyes and an abundance of northern pike. The water is also much clearer than it used to be, which heavily favors norther pike predation.

      • CHS

        Quite true, I’m not saying that tribal netting is the issue, I’m just saying that from the comments you see many people still believe that tribal netting is destroying the lake. I also hear a lot of people that believe that predation is the issue, and again blame the DNR for overly restrictive slot limits. I also have witnessed people on the lake gill cutting pike and dumping them after they catch them because they think they are doing their part for the walleye.

  • Mike

    Walleye fishing at that scale could just be over at this point. That’s hard for resort owners, and it makes sense to lend a hand. But at the same time, why throw money at a problem that might not get better ever again?

    I wouldn’t vote for any support unless it had diversification requirements. Something that doesn’t require the harvesting of a natural resource. We can’t prop up every failing industry in the state.

  • Paul

    “A commenter on the Star Tribune site — yes, I know, but hear me out on this — makes a good point. The DNR is managing the lake as an ecosystem, but it’s not anymore. It’s a tourist attraction that supports business.”

    It’s still an ecosystem. That ecosystem is the tourist attraction. Without it maybe they could rebrand as the new Lake Minnetonka party lake.

    Though we did bail out the poor destitute Ziggy Wilf when he couldn’t afford a new stadium so we kinda set a precedent there.

    • Jason Mock

      So what seems to be needed then, is for a group of well off individuals to start a new league. Walleye Tournament Fishing , aka: “WTF” and threaten to pull out and move to a different state if they don’t fund improvements to the lake. Either we follow current precedent, and spend a ton of money to help out the lake for years to come, or we set a NEW precedent, and they get sent away. Win/win situation, no?

      • Paul

        It’d be more exciting than soccer, that’s for sure.

        • Jeff

          I’ve said it before fishing has nets and flopping too.

  • Jerry

    I am just guessing here, but could the resorts at Mille Lacs be suffering because more people make it a day trip to go fishing and boating on the lake as opposed to staying locally?

  • Postal Customer

    Next, you better bail out all the shade-tree plow operators when it doesn’t snow. And the hardware store owners who can’t sell a snow thrower or a shovel. And all the ice dam removal scammers companies.

    I don’t know if bailing out the resorts is a good idea or bad idea. I lean towards bad. My concern is, if you say yes, who else will come begging? Where do you draw the line?

    • sffa

      The government doesn’t make it snow.. the government is the reason the lake is in the position it is in!

  • kennedy

    Fishing folks will go somewhere. The resort owners on nearby Gull Lake and Pelican Lake should be doing great. If the government needs to help manage the industry, there should be an added tax on those places with the revenue used to support their fellow resort owners on Mille Lacs. Money has to come from somewhere.

    Either that, or let private businesses manage their own money and risk. I voted “no” on the stadium and vote “no” for the resort owners.

    • sffa

      How can you tax people locally if there is no revenue? It is truly sad if you will not support zero interest loans.

      • kennedy

        But there is revenue. The area around Mille Lacs has not suddenly become a wasteland. There are plenty of other species of fish to catch in Mille Lacs. The lake is still there for recreation. Businesses that owe their existence to walleye sport fishing will certainly have a downturn on Mille Lacs. But the other lakes I mentioned are nearby and will get more business as the walleye crowd is redirected there.

        The state is already supporting the resort business by spending money managing the walleye population (stocking programs) and the lakes themselves (controlling invasive species). I do not support giving money directly to private businesses. And an interest free loan is a handout of tax revenue.

  • BReynolds33

    I’m torn here. They need help. They need a lot of help. And the problem has been caused by a mess of a relationship between the state (read: DNR) and the Mille Lacs Band. The lake is over fished, and the DNR has muddled through 20 years of half-arsed answers that have only made it worse.

    Who am I to say no to regular Joe when Wall Street Norwood gets all the money we can throw at him?

    I would be happy to send a ton of money up there. I want the stipulation that everyone inside the DNR who has touched the handling of the lake in the last, say 10 years is made available to industry.

    • Kassie

      Lots of business go out of business when things change. Is the government’s job to step in? Even if they need a lot of help? Who helped the Blockbusters and Video Updates when that was no longer viable?

    • Paul

      Over-specialization makes a species very vulnerable to any sort of change in their environment.

      Mille Lacs over-specialized on a walleye based economy. Now they are taking more walleye than the lake can replenish. Diversify or die. Either way the walleye demand will lower to meet the reproductive capacity of the lake and the remaining walleye resorts will have their needs met.

    • Tim

      But then how is that fair to all of the resorts/campgrounds/tourist-related businesses that aren’t on Mille Lacs that have been struggling?

      http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2012/08/minnesotas_resort_culture/

      How much of the problem is due to the walleye situation, and how much is just due to changes in the way people here take vacations?

  • chris

    I am happy to bail them out if they agree they are benefiting from socialism.

  • Jeff

    I can see bailing out essential industries that if they go under then they can’t come back. At the federal level the auto industry bailout made sense. I’m very sympathetic, but I can’t see how supporting people until a declining resource comes back (or not) qualifies.

  • Jerry

    Are these businesses suffering because of the walleye limit or because of the changing way people vacation. People have been avoiding small resorts for years in favor of places like Cragun’s and Madden’s, which offer more services. Are people shopping at Cabelas and Fleet Farm instead of Bob’s Bait and Tackle?

    I am also curious whether the limit affects just the amount of walleye you can take from the lake, or does it affect catch-and-release as well.

    • crystals

      I *think* catching-and-releasing walleyes is fine – the limit is on what you can take home with you.

      • Kassie

        It seems that if they put the ban into effect at the end of the month, it is not ok to catch and release. Like, obviously if you accidentally catch one you can release it, but you can’t purposefully fish for Walleye as they will be off season.

        • crystals

          Yes, I think that’s right – the limit that’s in effect now allows catch-and-release, but once a ban goes into effect that will end. (Though I saw somewhere that they – the DNR – know it’s going to be hard to enforce since other fishing is okay, and will only try to go after people who seem to intentionally be skirting the rules.)

  • Beth-Ann Bloom

    I am more interested in supporting the low wage workers who will be the first to suffer with any tourist slowdowns

  • sffa

    So all the people on the poll that said no… What you are saying is, is that you would not support a program that offers zero percent loans for a group of people that are losing their businesses due to government? Wow!
    As far as I have read, that is the only thing proposed. Not a huge handout. Loans are paid back people.
    The government put the resorts in this situation with mismanagement and refusing to sit down with the tribes and negotiate something that would work for both parties.

    Maybe the funds would be used better elsewhere, like giving the money to all the people that will be losing their jobs in the Mille Lacs community? Government assistance…yay! I’m sure that would be much better!

    • The Dayton spokeswoman also mentioned property tax abatements.

      • sffa

        You would not support help with property taxes for one season? Don’t you think that it would be cheaper in the long run instead of putting the community on welfare?

        • I don’t know whether I would or whether I wouldn’t. That’s part of the discussion I hope takes place. But it’s a public policy question, too. If a farmer has a down year because of corn prices, is he getting a break on property taxes? Should he?

          Should the taconite miners — another 500 laid off today — get a tax abatement?

          Maybe. Maybe not.

          I wouldn’t say at this point that a property tax abatement is a good thing unless I hear a plan for extending it to other individuals and the parameters for determining when and how that should take place.

          • kennedy

            The same could be said for resorts based on winter recreation in the snow. Should they get assistance or tax relief if there is not enough snow?

            Or what if it is a warm winter and the lakes freeze a few weeks later or thaw a few weeks sooner. Should ice fishing businesses get “disaster aid” because of the shortened season?

          • sffa

            The government does not control the snow. The government put the resorts in financial ruin with bad policies from the DNR.

          • I don’t fish so I’m not as clued in to DNR fish management policies but what in particular should the DNR be doing differently from the current system of setting limits?

            It seems likely, if this is a systemic problem, that a special session is a Band Aid that will simply need to be changed next year too.

          • sffa

            If the DNR changes their ways of thinking and start thinking outside of the box we would be able to change the harvest level for the natives and the non-natives. The lake goes by a pound system and small fish weigh less. So when the tribes and non-natives go by pounds the smaller fish are targeted.
            They allowed this to happen for too long and it made the lake unbalanced. All of those small fish that were taken out by both sides should be breeding size right now, but they were depleted by both sides (tribal and non-tribal). Now, if you ask anyone that fishes Mille Lacs this year we have a ton of small walleye that are from 12-14″ ….not quite big enough for reproduction.
            The problem this also presents is that they are a giant eating machine. The little ones are biting like mad because they are hungry. If the DNR does not allow us to harvest some of these fish, these starving ones will eat up all of the future generations. Stocking therefore in my mind is defiantly not the answer. They will be eaten and a waste of money. If you don’t want to loan the resorts money then you need to push for change in DNR and Tribal management! New management theories that get away from the pound system would help.

          • kennedy

            Blaming the DNR is emotionally easy, but not very accurate. I know it’s easy to mistrust scientists, but they have spent thousands of hours monitoring and analyzing the ecosystem of Mille Lacs and the behaviors of the fish in it. The leading candidate for reduced walleye population is a changing ecosystem. Changing water conditions and invasive species are making the lake less favorable to walleye. The sustainable population of walleye is smaller today than it has been in the past. The sustainable population of walleye fishing resorts will follow the same trend.

            It does sound like a late summer trip to Mille Lacs for recreation may be cost effective and avoid some of the crowd.

          • sffa

            The DNR has been using the same theories as they did before zebra muscles. That is why change is needed. They got lazy and keep plugging the same info in the same computer and getting bad results.
            Do you really think that the governor would be even offering a package to the area if this wasn’t indeed an example of mismanagement? No!
            They are going to pretend it is global warming or some stupid excuse like that but yet bail the area out because it is due to their mistakes and they know it. They just don’t have the balls to admit it to the public

          • sffa

            They get government subsidies don’t they? If they have a bad crop year they have insurance don’t they?
            I would be willing to bet if there was insurance against the DNR that would have been purchased! The government is making the lake close for no good reason. Anybody that has fished Mille Lacs this year would say the same thing.They are managing it by politics with the tribes and not biology. The best thing the governor said in his statement is that there will be change with the DNR policies.
            They need to sit down with the tribes and get a better plan. That lack of communication is not the fault of the resorts. That is the fault of the government.

          • It’s a little more complicated than that. Farmers purchase crop insurance, sometimes with some help on the premiums from the federal government.

            I’m aware of no state crop insurance program but, then again, I’m not a farmer.

          • Jerry

            And even with that, a lot of small farms are gone because the business model didn’t work out.

    • Kassie

      “Losing their businesses due to government…” The government isn’t shutting them down. They are losing their business because they have an outdated model that depends on a limited natural resource.

      • sffa

        Do you know what a “mom and pop” resort is? Well they are soon to be extinct. Why???? Because these people are not rich. They are the same as farmers and work their butts off day after day. Most of the money goes back into the business and you get what is left. The land is generally worth more then the business so the smart thing would be to sell it to a contractor and let them lot it off. They keep plugging away… Paying taxes. Property and income taxes. They all support other people and their jobs, and those people pay taxes as well. If you can’t help them one time so that thousands of people can stay employed, Minnesota is a sad state to be living in! They don’t have insurance to cover this!

        • Kassie

          Yes, resort owners are *just like* farmers. One provides food to the world, the other provides a place for upper class people to vacation. So similar.

          • sffa

            RESORTS PROVIDE FOOD TO THE PEOPLE THAT THEY EMPLOY. If you go up north you will see that there are no skyscrapers and office buildings. They are a huge driver in the economics up there.

          • crystals

            Yeah, that’s not at all the same thing. It’s obvious this is personal to you, and so your feelings are understandable, but resorts (all around Minnesota and the world) provide a paycheck to the people that they employ. That’s different from growing the world’s food supply.

          • sffa

            I never said that they provide food for billions. I used a farm as an example to show that they are land rich with low income.
            It seems to me after this exhausting argument, people are finished with resorts and would rather stay in the city and breath in the smog and sit in traffic. When you don’t have anywhere to get away from it all…. I hope you enjoy yourselves.

          • Jerry

            Again, it doesn’t seem that people have no interest in going up north. The state parks are packed, the lakes are busy. It just seems that if your entire business model is based on the walleye catch, your business might be doomed. I have mixed opinions on this. I am in favor of helping people and even giving business a jolt, but I am not sure it is a good idea to invest in a doomed business. And I am willing to give the tribes the benefit of the doubt, their claim to the lake is greater then any resort owners.

          • sffa

            That is fine, but you will be paying more for government assistance for the thousands that lose their jobs. This would only have to happen once if the governor truly changes the management system. Next year’s limits could be a lot different.

          • kennedy

            If I was a resort owner on Mille Lacs, I would not be making a business plan for next year that relies on the walleye population or fishing limits suddenly returning to the “good ol’ days”. It will take 5 years or more for the population to recover.

          • crystals

            Sorry – I misunderstood. I think there’s an interesting parallel with your actual point, though…a lot of smaller farms are being consolidated into massive operations, and those massive operations are legitimately cash-rich. The questions about whether and how they should be subsidized are significant, but that’s a conversation for another day/a different post.

          • Jerry

            i think that is one of the tragedies of Mille Lacs. To far away to commute from, but close enough to drive to for the day.

        • Jerry

          I thought the mom and pop resorts are going out of business because no one wants to go to mom and pop resorts anymore. If people are choosing to go up north these days it seems that they are either camping in parks if they want to rough it or staying at large resorts where there are greater amenities. Also, with increased cabin ownership, most people seem to know someone with a cabin that they can stay at. Is it sad that the small resorts are suffering? Yes. But if you want to support these resorts, stay at them. Just like the best way to support your local restaurants in the face of chains is to patronize them.

          • sffa

            Good, then tell the public that so the taxpayers can save some money. If you can convince the metro area to fill Mille Lacs resorts without a walleye season you would be a hero. Any good marketing ideas would I’m sure be appreciated.

          • Jerry

            And that is why I think the resorts are screwed. They don’t have any ideas besides “let us catch more walleye”.

          • DavidG

            In West Central Minnesota the mom and pop resorts are disappearing because the lakefront property they’re on is far more valuable to be parceled and sold off for individual lake homes.

    • Robert

      Actually the tribes and the DNR work closely together each year to determine catch size and to share information on the overall population of fish in the lake. The tribes could take even more than they are per their treaty rights but don’t to help maintain the walleye population.

      • sffa

        If they cared they would set their nets away from spawning grounds and net in the fall. Allow the fish to reproduce. Every other lake is closed to walleye fishing during the spawn. If they stepped up and said they would do that in the name of conservation their casino and businesses would be a lot busier.

        • Robert

          “If they cared” Native American tribes are far more active in promoting environmental issues than whites. Saying that they are the ones that have to change and give up more of their treaty rights is nonsensical. The DNR isn’t closing the lake just saying that the walleye season is closed. “Businesses would be a lot busier” actually the tribe has a walleye packing business so they are very interested in the long term health of walleye populations in the lake.

          • sffa

            A walleye packing business? Really? Well so much for sustenance use. They are supposed to be giving these fish to their elders. If that is the case then that should be exposed.
            Not talking about taking rights away. Talking about having the tribes not net during spawning time. If you allow fish to reproduce untouched the tax base would not be upset about the tax dollars in the first place. Why? Because we would have more fish and the state would not be bailing the resorts out. Have them harvest in the fall. We don’t shoot deer in the spring while they are pregnant do we?

    • Paul

      The number of resorts outstripped the carrying capacity of the lake. The big bad government had nothing to do with the poorly thought out choices of the private businesses.

      Boom and bust ghost towns are common place when they are built around a single natural resource.

      Mille Lacs had, and still has thanks to limits, a renewable one.

      • sffa

        I bet there are 30 resorts left up there. Maybe 40 tops. The lake is 70 miles around.

    • Paul

      Responsible borrowers pay back loans. How would you suspect a poorly run business, propped up or not, pay back a loan?

  • Jim in RF

    Help them transition to something else, but don’t give false hope by propping up an outdated business model. We used to go to mom and pop resorts growing up and wouldn’t even consider it anymore.

  • lindblomeagles

    Might need your help with this one too Bob. What seems to be implied is walleye numbers are down and a healthy sized industry based on the walleye seems to be going under, which, if I understand the partisanship of this issue, could affect the long term economic viability of central to northern Minnesota. If my assessment is nearly accurate, and the DNR is correct when it claims walleye predators are increasing, I’m not sure the State of Minnesota can really do anything long term to stop the bleeding (bad pun). It’s entirely possible the walleye are experiencing a decrease similar to Minnesota’s moose population. If that’s the case, the businesses around Mille Lacs have some tough decisions to make about their long term prospects.

  • Maggie

    Just add more Walleye! Are the Indians still allowed to net any amount of fish here?

  • Laura

    This seems to me as just another example of how the Metro area is higher on the priority list for the state government than Greater MN. The fishing on Lake Vermilion and Lake of the Woods has been terrible, but are we getting a special session or taxpayer funded bailouts? No. What happens when Northern MN resorts and restaurants and other businesses flounder during a winter with minimal snowfall that causes a huge drop in snowmobile/skiiing/snow sports tourism? We suffer and no one offers to help us out. Is it a bad spot for Lake Mill Lacs resort and business owners to be in? Absolutely. But why are they treated differently than any other resort or business owner in the rest of the state?

    • Would be interesting to see what those victimized by the bird flu epidemic have to say on the subject.

      • Laura

        Exactly. How many millions were lost in THAT mess? And where is their special session?

  • Joseph

    Absolutely not.