A 22-mile ice road across Lake of the Woods connects cut-off Minnesotans on Minnesota's Northwest Angle to "mainland" Minnesota.

Last week, I learned about a 2-mile ice road over Lake Superior that connects Madeline Island to Bayfield, Wisconsin. I'd never heard of an ice highway before and thought the idea was a wild one. As someone who didn't grow up in Minnesota or familiar with Minnesota's winter culture, being on ice freaks me out, and I don't know that I would ever willingly travel over an ice highway like the one in Wisconsin.

Turns out, some Minnesotans stranded on Minnesota's Northwest Angle have created an ice highway of their own, and it's over 10x longer than Wisconsin's! After Canada closed off its southern border along Minnesota to all but essential travel (that is, for food and medical help) 10 months ago to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minnesotans who live and work on the Angle have essentially been cut-off from the rest of "mainland" Minnesota some 40 miles away. In warmer months, resorts there tried ferrying in visitors, but the freezing of Lake of the Woods has made that impossible. So instead, the folks there have gotten creative and paved a road of their own -- 22 miles long over 20-inches thick ice! Local resort owners have paid the initial costs to create and maintain the route, which -- with no houses, trees or hills to block the wind -- has to be plowed frequently. Passage over the ice requires a $145 round trip permit or $500 season pass, reports KARE 11.

The ice road connects those on the Northwest Angle to Minnesota for now, but once spring arrives they can only hope for open travel and roads again.

Have you ever traveled over an ice road?

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