WILLMAR — Two popular organizations providing outdoor opportunities in Kandiyohi County are aiming to return to action this year after being sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s Go Fishing is hopeful of launching its fleet of pontoon boats to once again offer senior citizens as well as young people and military veterans excursions on the water. Last year’s season had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
The Prairie Pothole Conservation Association is also making plans to hold the 38th Prairie Pothole Day event at the Stony Ridge Farm near New London. Its 2020 event had to be canceled.
Things are more hopeful this year.
“We are making plans for it right now,” said LeRoy Dahlke of the Prairie Pothole Conservation Association. He said the 2021 Prairie Pothole Day is scheduled for Sept. 11.
The annual event, which has attracted as many as 4,000 people, was sponsored by the local chapter of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association for 37 consecutive years. Two years ago the state association dissolved. The local volunteers organized as the Prairie Pothole Conservation Association and MWA were geared up to hold the 38th annual Prairie Pothole Day when the pandemic ruined the plans.
Despite the setback, Dahlke said there is both the enthusiasm and volunteers needed to make possible a 2021 return of Prairie Pothole Day.
The pandemic has not discouraged volunteers with Let’s Go Fishing either. Darci Mohr, operations director for the nonprofit organization, said volunteers are chomping at the bit for the chance to return to the waters.
At this point there are no definite plans on how the new season will be undertaken. The organization’s 19 chapters recently sent out letters to the organizations they serve to gauge their interest in the coming season.
Mohr said the different chapters likely will develop their own plans on how to go forward this season. The Willmar chapter is tentatively looking to start its season in June, rather than late May.
She has contacted a number of the organizations that Let’s Go Fishing serves. Most already have indicated their interest in making it possible for the clients they serve to get out on the water this summer.
Since its start in Let’s Go Fishing has grown to include 19 chapters with 26 boats. It’s supported by 1,500 volunteers and in 2019 served in the neighborhood of 190,000 people.