The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hosted five open houses in August 2007 to discuss the rules governing docks. The meetings offered an opportunity to share information and concerns on dock-related topics, including current statewide dock regulations, reasonable public access, water resources and habitat protection, and private occupation of public waters.
The DNR has regulated docks and other structures in public waters for several decades. In recent years, the DNR has witnessed an increased number of "dock platforms," which are structures over public waters that exceed longstanding statewide rules that limit docks to a maximum of eight feet in width.
In addition to providing information about current dock regulations, the DNR used the public meetings to gather input about issues and concerns with the current dock rules.
The open houses were held on the following dates and at the following locations:
On October 24, State Representative Larry Howes (R-Walker) hosted a Town Hall Meeting at the Pequot Lakes Senior High School. Public comments were recorded and summarized in a meeting summary .
During the comment period following the Dock Open Houses, surveys of the number of docks on two lakes were conducted and submitted to the DNR by interested citizens. We considered them quite valuable, as they were the first objective information regarding actual dock numbers. Since then, additional surveys have been submitted, and can be seen at Citizen Dock Surveys. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of those involved.
During the 2008 Minnesota State Fair, an opinion survey was given to people approaching the DNR Information Booth. There were no qualifications for taking the short survey. It was given in order to gauge the opinion of a cross-section of Fair goers.