How did DL’s 2019 summer stack up in tourism, weather, lakes and more? Before it turns to autumn Monday, we asked the experts to give us some details about our June, July and August.

Tourism & fun

Several inn and resort owners and managers say July was the busiest month of their year. Each said that they had the same amount of bookings or better as the previous summer.

“We had a wonderful summer again,” Karen Miller, the manager for the American Legion Campground said. “July and August were almost full.”

Amy Wolf, owner of Lakecrest Resort, echoed Miller, saying that it was their busiest year and they continue to grow.

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“It was just fast and busy,” she said.

At Lakes Inn, owner Tim Wesbrook said that they saw a 9% growth when comparing June 10-Aug. 31, 2019, to that same period in 2018.

“We were 50% higher in June than compared to last year,” he said, acknowledging that this steep increase may be because Lakes Inn is only a few years old and still gaining traction.

At the Holiday Inn, Doug Anselmin said that they just saw a slight increase in reservations this year. Anselmin noticed that people didn’t book out that far in advance; he had more last-minute purchases this year.

Cleone Stewart, the tourism director at the Chamber of Commerce, credits the Young Life Triathlon, the Water Carnival, and the monthly Cruise DL Night’s as consistent draws.

Tourism committee chairman Gary Thompson said there were more than 300 cars at the August car event, which is the most they’ve ever had.

Water Carnival Co-Admiral Brian Anderson believes it’s always busier in town during the carnival, whether that’s just with local people or not.

“There’s a lot of (people) that come from the metro area,” Anderson said, explaining that they can see the location of where tickets are purchased from online. “There’s some that are coming from Colorado, Washington, they’ve got some pretty far-out addresses.”

Anderson said that the Bash on the Beach -- which featured Smash Mouth, Eve 6 and Hairball, among others -- had about 1,800 people each night.

Safety & streets

More people equals more calls to police.

This summer, the amount of calls for service jumped by almost 500, from June through August in 2018.

“We had a record-setting month in July as far as calls for service where we were near 1,500 calls for the month,” Police Chief Steve Todd said.

Todd said an increase in residents and weekend visitors are the main factors.

Construction, both with housing and roads, affected both locals and visitors. Larry Remmen, the Community Development Coordinator, said that 2019 wasn’t as monumental as 2018 for building, citing just three projects he considered “big.”

City Engineer Jon Pratt said his department “had a fair amount, we had a lot of (street) length under construction compared to a typical year.”

These include Willow Street, West Avenue and Randolph Road as long lengths of road construction. Put them together and there is about 2.5 to 3 miles of construction, which “I would say is abnormal,” according to Pratt.

Willow Street has been the big one, under construction for almost all summer. Pratt shared that it’s just wrapping up now, but West has a ways to go.

Soybeans aren't expected to have a great year because of wet soil around the area. (Erin Brown / Forum News Service file photo)
Soybeans aren't expected to have a great year because of wet soil around the area. (Erin Brown / Forum News Service file photo)

Weather & ag

Many locals claim this summer was cooler and wetter than usual. They’re right.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Timothy Lynch in Grand Forks, it has been “wetter than normal, especially in August.”

Lynch said that June was cooler and drier in DL, getting almost an inch less of rain. July was also cooler, but had almost an inch more of rain. August was the most notable, being 4.6 degrees below average. The normal amount of rain more than doubled, going from 2.46 inches to 5.7 inches.

The highest temperature we had was 92 degrees in June; the lowest was 41 degrees, in August.

Howard Dickey, the owner of HD Consulting, said many farmers put their crops in late due to wet soil.

“It really hasn’t been a real dynamite crop year,” he said.

Some corn and wheat will make it this year, but there will also be a larger than average amount that don’t.

“Wheat that’s coming off right now if just in very poor quality,” Dickey said. “There may be some corn that won’t get harvested until next spring.”

Soybeans won’t have a great year either, but it will be better than corn and wheat. Dickey thought that these were the three main crops in the lakes area, and all of them are being harvested the “latest I’ve seen in maybe the last decade,” he said.

The warm weather that’s been happening recently is “hugely helpful” for the crops, Dickey said. They need it to continue on, and Lynch said that the climate prediction center is “showing signs of average or maybe slightly higher than average” temperatures in October.

Lakes & fishing

The cooler weather affected the fishing too.

“The fishing was tougher this year,” said Matt Onstad, owner of Quality Bait Shop. “But fishermen that are willing to work and adapt to the year can always do good. It just means you have to try different things and experiment.”

Even with the harder fishing year, Onstad said that they “definitely had more (people) this summer,” but he did note that they upgraded their shop location.

At the state level, the Minnesota DNR found that the number of individual angling licenses took a dip again this year.

From April 27 -- two weeks before fishing opener -- through Labor Day weekend, there were 2,579 fewer licenses sold than in 2018. For all 21 licenses in that same time frame, 14,863 people who bought a license in 2018 did not repurchase in 2019.

Yet Detroit Lake was still filled with boats. An ongoing DNR Creel Survey found that a summer high of 22 fishing boats were on the lake June 2. On Aug. 3, the sandbar had 109 boats on it. On that same day, there were 111 recreational and five fishing boats on the water.