DIAMOND LAKE — After what had already been a hit-and-miss winter recreation season, officials at Diamond Lake Resort made the decision to go on hiatus in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The decision came after an unseasonably dry winter season, which included less than desirable snowpack for snowmobilers, SnoCat skiers and enthusiasts of the resort’s inner-tube sliding hill.
While snowmobile trails are still available, all other amenities at the resort are closed until further notice.
“As of Monday (March 23), we stopped renting rooms,” said Mari Dybowski, who handles the resort’s public relations.
Only the resort’s general store and gas station will remain open, the store only for a few hours each day and strictly to help serve the nearly 40 employees who live at the resort. The gas station will be available for travelers and snowmobilers at request.
“Currently, our employees are considered laid off,” Dybowski said, noting all employees are eligible for unemployment benefits. “But for the most part, being in the middle of nowhere is probably safer than being anywhere else.”
The closure comes just as the lake is beginning its early spring thaw. With warmer daytime temperatures throughout the winter, while the lake did build a cover of ice, it was a coin-flip proposition to attempt ice fishing. With daytime temperatures reaching 50 degrees and dropping to 15 overnight, the thaw is likely to take a while.
“I would not be out there, personally,” Dybowski said. “But it is definitely starting to break up around the edges.”
The closure comes at a generally slow time of the year for the resort, but depending on how long preventative measures are taken, it could run into the hottest part of the late April, early May fishing season.
“Thankfully, this is our slowest time,” Dybowski said. “With the spring snowmelt and the lake thaw, things definitely slow down.
“There are a lot of uncertainties, but we had to close it down.
“We’re hoping for May 1, but who knows.”