Traveling with your dog, passing NO DOGS ON THE BEACH signs, you are always on the look-out for that unconventional beach - a stretch of overlooked and unregulated sand that can pop up where you least expect it. Such is the case with Leech Lake, deep in the north central woods of Minnesota. In the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” this is the third largest.
Leech Lake is located mostly within the Leech Lake Indian Reservation within the Chippewa National Forest. On an early October day in 1898 the final armed battle between First Nation peoples, the Pillager Chippewas, and the United States Army took place on the shores of Leech Lake. The Battle of Sugar Point resulted in the loss of six soldiers and officers over rifle misfire around an illegal bootlegging operation. Private Oscar Burkard was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in pulling wounded soldiers to safety under heavy fire in the conflict. He became the last man to receive the medal from the Indian Wars.
Driving along the south edge of the lake on Route 200, keep an eye out for a rest stop on the lakeshore that recounts the history of the Battle of Sugar Point. Here your dog will find a generous strip of sand that is long enough for a healthy hike and frisky freshwater waves that will delight any adventurous fetching dog. Since it is not an official beach with no facilities there are no prohibitions against dogs. You will be in no hurry to lave this reststop on your travels.
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