Lake of the Woods County Commissioners on June 16 selected a site one to 1.5 miles southeast of downtown Angle Inlet to build a new airport that will open the remote area of northern Minnesota to general aviation.
“AOPA is pleased to see the county board take such a strong step toward establishing the nation’s newest general aviation airport,” said AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager Bryan Budds. “The county has approached the issue in a deliberate and thoughtful manner and should be commended for their dedication to improving access and economic development in a sensible manner.”
The county has been working toward a new airport in the area not far from the U.S.-Canada border for the past three years and has selected site three (see map above) after facing challenges at four other sites that included “wetland mitigation needs, lack of vehicular access to sites, poor soil, and the need for constructive collaboration with several levels of government, including the sovereign community of Red Lake Band of Chippewa,” Budds said.
Now that a site has been selected, the Minnesota Department of Transportation can take steps to secure much of the construction, annual operation, and maintenance costs. Meanwhile, the county’s consultant team can formulate the airport layout plan.
During the multi-year process, Budds met with the Lake of the Woods County Board in Baudette, Minnesota, to explain the importance of building a GA airport in the area. The Minnesota aviation community also rallied to provide information to the county on what a vital resource the airport would be not only to the local community but the entire region. Jim Hanson, manager of Albert Lea Municipal Airport, the Recreational Aviation Foundation’s Minnesota Liaison Kirk Hiner, and representatives from the Minnesota Department of Transportation served as knowledgeable resources to the county.