Williams County boaters and anglers pushing for better access to Lake Sakakawea

(Source: Williston Daily Herald) –  Jim Torgerson has been working on the same cause for more than 30 years now, and he is asking for help from the public.

Torgerson, who owns Lunds Landing with his wife, has been advocating for more access to Lake Sakakawea from the Williams County parts of the shore. There are only three boat ramps, for example, and despite the fact there are thousands of boats registered just in Williams County.

“We’re advocates for boat access and for better walk-in access,” Torgerson told the Williston Herald.

Torgerson has been pushing for a new boat ramp in the county, and he thinks that would improve quality of life and safety. Between Lewis and Clark State Park, Lunds Landing and Beaver Bay, there are about 150 parking spots for boaters.

“That represents less than five percent of the parking spaces needed just for the registered boats in Williams County,” Torgerson said. “God forbid anyone from Minot comes here.”

A long wait to get in or out of the water is inconvenient, but there is also a safety issue, especially if there was a lightning storm.

Torgerson has been working with elected officials around the region to try and improve access to the lake. He’s spoken with all five members of the Williams County Board of Commissioners and with the state legislators in the area, as well.

State Sen. Brad Bekkedahl, R-Williston, said he’d met with North Dakota Department of Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand. While Steinwald didn’t think the location Torgerson suggested would work, he did agree with the idea there needed to be better access to the lake.

Bekkedahl said the state agency, along with Williams County, the county park district and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would have to collaborate on expanding access.

Torgerson said he thinks there is support from a number of different areas, but the place where more is needed is from the public. A Game and Fish Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.

If people are able to speak out at the meeting, which is being held virtually, they might be able to help make sure more boat access is a priority. And that is particularly important in advance of the winter, when the lake stays busy.

“Ice fishing is big here on the west side of the lake,” Torgerson said.

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