U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach and two northwest Minnesota legislators will travel across Lake of the Woods to the Northwest Angle on Wednesday, July 7, and Thursday, July 8, to meet with residents and business owners affected by the prolonged closure of the U.S.-Canada border to nonessential travel.
Joining Fischbach, R-Minn., will be Minnesota state Sen. Paul Utke, R-Park Rapids, and state Rep. Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook.
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According to a news release from Fischbach's office, the delegation is scheduled to depart at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday from Sportsman’s Lodge near Baudette, Minn., and take the Lake of the Woods Passenger Service across the big lake to the Northwest Angle.
The delegation is scheduled to visit Sunset Lodge on Oak Island about 10 a.m., followed by a noontime visit to Flag Island Resort on Flag Island, where they will meet with community members.
The delegation will visit Jake’s Northwest Angle Resort on the Northwest Angle mainland about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
On Thursday, July 8, the delegation will visit the Angle Inlet Elementary School at 9 a.m. and Jake’s Northwest Angle Resort at 10 a.m. After departing from the Northwest Angle, the delegation will meet with the Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau’s board of directors at approximately noon at Ballard’s Resort on the south shore of Lake of the Woods near Baudette.
Bordered on three sides by Canada, the Northwest Angle is accessible by road only by driving through about 40 miles of Manitoba, which has been off-limits to nonessential travel since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The only way to reach the Angle without going through Canada is by crossing some 40 miles of Lake of the Woods by boat, floatplane or, in the winter, by snowmobile.
In April, Fischbach and Rep. Pete Stauber, also R-Minn., hosted a panel discussion in International Falls, Minn., to learn about the impact of the travel restrictions on border communities. The U.S.-Canada border has been closed to nonessential travel since March 21, 2020, and the border closure has been extended in one-month increments ever since.