Keep it Clean Campaign

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Love Mille Lacs Lake? We do too! Help us make it the best it can be by joining the Keep It Clean campaign.

The Keep It Clean campaign is an initiative started by Lake of the Woods a decade ago and more recently adopted by Upper Red Lake and Mille Lacs Lake to address the growing problem of garbage left on the ice by anglers during ice fishing season. Keep It Clean focuses on raising awareness about the importance of leaving no trace.

A healthy lake with clean water, pristine ice and litter-free reefs and shoreline helps create the ideal environment for sustainable fishing and helps ensure that people of all ages — whether rugged outdoor enthusiasts or families — can enjoy the lake at any time of year.

How You Can Help Stop Litter from Spoiling Our Lake and Beaches

It’s easy to help, simply:

  • Make a plan for trash and waste removal before you arrive. Whether you access the lake from a public or private entrance, plan to take off of the lake what you take on to the lake. Many access points and resorts offer garbage collection services. If your site doesn’t, make a plan to transport it home for disposal.
  • Use colored garbage bags. In snowy conditions, white trash bags can be difficult to see. Brightly colored bags or black bags are easier to spot making it less likely trash will inadvertently be left behind.
  • Take a moment before you depart the ice to make sure that you have picked up any garbage in your area. And if you notice someone else has left something behind, please take a moment to pick it up and bring it with you.
  • Secure your garbage before traveling. High winds, bumpy ice roads and other conditions on or off the lake can cause unsecured bags of garbage to fall out of truck beds and off of trailers and sleds without you even realizing it.
  • Make sure you have the tools you need to move or remove a fish house. Support blocks, insulation, landscaping fabric, wood and other materials need to be properly disposed of and not left behind.

Why Is It Important to Leave No Trace?

 Garbage and other waste:

  • Damage the health of the lake and its fishery by harming the plant life, ecosystem and fish reproduction.
  • Create year-round safety hazards for anglers and other recreational users who enjoy snowmobiling, snowkiting, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, tubing, water skiing, paddle boarding and more.
  • Harm wildlife because when fish and animals ingest garbage it causes illness and death.
  • Hurt tourism and local businesses as well as the families whose livelihoods rely on the income from the jobs these sectors create. No one wants to spend their hard-earned dollars vacationing in polluted areas.

It takes all of us working together to Keep It Clean! Thank you for taking time to do your part.

To learn more about Keep It Clean and how you as a business or individual can get involved, please send an email to

Mission Statement: Keep It Clean was created to protect, maintain and promote cleanliness for the beautiful landscape, water resources and shorelines of Mille Lacs Lake as a special place for everyone to visit and enjoy.