Program offers ice shacks

MARQUETTE – Getting involved in the environment, especially in the Upper Peninsula, eventually will require dealing with ice and snow.

To help nonprofit groups become more active in the environment, W.O.D.E.N. – which stands for Woodland Organizations Dedicated to Environment and Nature – will offer a a free day of ice house us for the groups on some local lakes.

Todd Lawrence of Kettle Lake, Minn., the organization’s director, said he’s like “the Johnny Appleseed of ice houses.” Lawrence said he will be in the Marquette area this winter.

The program is called the W.O.D.E.N. Community Fishing Program, which, according to Lawrence, “encourages people to get involved in the environment.”

Lawrence said the program will benefit people who can’t always get out to fish on the ice.

“That’s what it’s been for – for kids, to get them out of doors, and for older persons,” he said. “It’s therapeutic.”

He said he hopes the program will be available on Teal Lake in Negaunee, Lake Michigamme, Goose Lake in Palmer, Lake Angeline and Greenwood Reservoir in Ishpeming, Big Shag and Horseshoe lakes in Gwinn, Squaw Lake in Witch Lake and Lake Independence in Big Bay.

The program first will focus on Teal Lake and Lake Michigamme, Lawrence explained, because of the higher frequency of public use.

“If it’s popular or filling up,” he said, “then we’ll add the other ice shanties.”

Fishing rods and bait will be provided, Lawrence said, and the ice houses will have extra-wide doors. Shuttle service also is offered.

The program gets its funds, according to Lawrence, through ice house rental fees paid by anglers on weekends.

Lawrence already has been involved in shuttling groups of people to fish at Richard Bong State Recreation Area and Big Foot Beach State Park, both located in Wisconsin.

Nonprofits interested in the program can call Lawrence at 855-433-6346.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is