The Sartell Dam & Little Rock Lake in Central Minnesota

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Results St Cloud Mn real estate

Two features in the local central Minnesota area that are connected yet 5 miles apart are the Sartell Dam and Little Rock Lake. So, you may ask, what connects the two? The answer is, the Mississippi River!

The Sartell Dam & Verso PaperThe Sartell Dam is across the Mississippi River in Sartell, MN and generates hydroelectric power for the Sartell Paper Mill, owned and operated by Verso Paper. Started in 1907, and finished in 1911, the dam was originally built with wood planks, field stones and granite, as well as 25,000 barrels of concrete. Upon its completion in 1911, the dam created an elevated river level, and the back flowage became Little Rock Lake. The dam was rebuilt between 1960 and 1964, continuing to feed Little Rock Lake.

The Sartell DamLittle Rock Lake sits 5 miles to the northeast (of the St Cloud/Sartell Metro area) along US Highway 10, and is accessible from the Mississippi River through the Harris Channel (a smaller body of water between the river and lake) by passing under 2 bridges. Little Rock Lake is quite large at 1,310 acres, and has a maximum depth of 23 feet, although the level can be increased with the river flowage, resulting in flooding possibilities on the lake. Severe spring thaw and rains have caused some of these issues in the past. As a matter of fact, the paper company bought up property on Little Rock Lake decades ago, then sold it back to the owners retaining flowage rights.

Verso Paper MillLittle Rock Lake is also fed by smaller rivers and streams at the north end, where wetlands are present. The Lake is a part of the Mississippi Goose Refuge, and has abundant waterfowl and fish, including the famous Minnesota Walleye and Black Crappie. Since Little Rock Lake is connected to the river it has all the fish species you find in the Mississippi River, including Channel Catfish and Dogfish. It is a great body of water and close to St. Cloud, wonderful for a quick ice fishing trip, or shore fishing under one of the bridges for an easy panfish dinner!

Little Rock Lake The Sartell Dam and Little Rock Lake are more than points of interest. They are a picture of the connection between the people of Minnesota and the natural environment we enjoy, and the ebb and flow of life lived near the water. The Dam and Paper Mill mean good jobs and a strong economy, plus clean energy! Without Sartell Dam, Little Rock Lake would not exist, except as a low meadow for grazing that would be very wet in the springtime. But, the river will rise, and flood insurance and sandbags come in handy those years. I have seen the water coming out of the dams floodgates horizontally, for days at a time during spring thaw. Homes built more recently employed more fill, resulting in higher elevations and raised septic systems, giving us better life through engineering :) There are many beautiful homes available on Harris Channel, Little Rock Lake and in Sartell, if you are interested in buying or selling a home in this area give me a call or check out my Saint Cloud area real estate website, I would be happy to help you.

For those of you who have been following along in the series wonderful reasons to love living in central Minnesota and the Saint Cloud area, this is the 100th post in 100 days. Wow, we did it. Keep checking back as there are more reasons to love living here and we will continue to keep you well informed on this wonderful lifestyle in central Minnesota.


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Steve Baklaich RE/MAX Results 

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If you are relocating to central Minnesota check out all the wonderful reasons to love St Cloud. It is a wonderful area full of things to do and lots of great houses. I would welcome the opportunity to help you find your perfect place here. Visit my St Cloud real estate website for more information about buying or selling a home, or property in the central Minnesota real estate market.



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Leesa Finley
RED Properties - Wake Forest, NC
RED Properties - Raleigh NC Real Estate

These are beautiful pictures of the area and I can't believe how in-depth your posts always are!  Kinda a really cool history about the dam and the lake!

wake forest nc house chick

Sep 30, 2010 01:57 PM #1
Jenny from Texas
We are relocating to Sauk Rapids. I am wondering how much flood does the town get especially those living By the Mississippi River above the Sartell dam?
May 08, 2011 03:54 PM #2
Steve Baklaich
RE/MAX Results St Cloud Mn real estate - Saint Cloud, MN
Treating Buyers & Sellers to Full Service Always.

Hi Jenny from Texas! There are a few low lying riverfront areas above the dam that are prone to flooding, and Little Rock Lake (which is an estuary) has some issues, but much of the Mississippi in this area is high banked. Sauk Rapids is built on a hill, and there are not many homes down on the river that have shallow frontage, so most of the town is quite high and dry.

Welcome to Minnesota!

May 10, 2011 08:06 AM #3
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Steve Baklaich

Treating Buyers & Sellers to Full Service Always.
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