About the DLA

About the Deer Lake Association

The Deer Lake Association (DLA) is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) Minnesota non-profit serving as a steward for Deer Lake, a body of water owned by the people of Minnesota.  The DLA was founded in 1991 to protest a development in what is now the Wabu Woods scientific area. DLA is organized primarily to preserve and improve Deer Lake water quality. To achieve this mission, DLA tries to represent or engage the broader Deer Lake community – including anglers, recreational boaters, visitors, resorts, camps, campgrounds, guests, hunters, wildlife advocacy organizations, local and state government, homeowners on the lake as well as those who own watershed property, and the businesses that serve lake residents and enthusiasts. The DLA also builds community by providing services, education, and social activities for our members and surrounding area residents.

The DLA is funded entirely through membership and donations. Click here to Join or Renew your membership or to make a donation.

But What has the DLA done for me?

Glad you asked.

  • The Purchase and conservation of Bear Island as a public Wildlife Management Area.
    • Using matching Reinvest-in-Minnesota funds along with donations by local homeowners, the DLA bought Bear Island and then donated it to the State of Minnesota so that it might be preserved for everyone who uses the lake.
  • Leadership in aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention
    • The DLA built and staffs the boat inspection station at the public access, attempting to block the spread of AIS to Deer Lake.
    • We have the Five-Star Initiative to encourage homeowners on the lake to use vendors who have a record of compliance with AIS safety procedures.
    • The DLA staffs and manages early detection initiative including AIS divers, and volunteer sentries
  • The DLA has sought to communicate with homeowners and help finance septic replacement to reduce water phosphorous levels and maintain Deer Lake’s water quality.
  • Reduction in phosphorus dumped to Deer Lake by streams.
  • The DLA helps promote community information events, including Business Water Summit, Lake Service Provider AIS Summit, Resorts AIS Summit, and a Septic Secrets Seminar.
  • The DLA purchased and subsequently donated two fragile Muskie and walleye spawning areas in the northeast of Deer Lake to the state of Minnesota. These are now designated as a Wildlife Management Area.
  • The DLA purchased 435’ of forested Deer Lake shoreline including 43 unimproved acres of land that serves as a critical natural filter for Deer Lake water quality. We have worked with the Minnesota DNR to ensure the land and shoreline are conserved.
  • The DLA works to ensure the conservation of uninhabited islands on Deer Lake
  • We won effective water quality safeguards for commercial development on Deer Lake, protecting vital and vulnerable fish-spawning areas and the Deer Lake eco-system.
  • The DLA established Deer Lake Legacy Fund, which provides assets and investment income to conserve water quality now and for future generations.
  • The DLA finds volunteers who consistently monitor and test water quality, water clarity, and lake levels.
  • The DLA manages service, educational, and social activities including DLA Deer Readers Book Club, DLA Golf, DLA Creative Endeavors, DLA Spaghetti Dinner, Deer Lake Frolic, DLA Bear Island Trail Maintenance, DLA Highway 62 Clean-up.
  • The DLA has worked with Minnesota DNR Loon Restoration Project, including in a new initiative to build and deploy Artificial Nesting Platforms.
  • We wrote and distributed the Deer Lake Property Owners Handbook
  • The DLA annually gives a college scholarships to a local high school student.
  • We create and maintain the DLA Member Directory
  • DLA Facebook Group Page (click “Join” to be added to the group)
  • Questions? beautifuldeerlake@gmail.com
  • Join/Renew
    • We invite you to join the Deer Lake Association.  Annual membership dues are $25 per family for lakeshore owners, $12.50 for non-lakeshore owners.  1st year free for new property owners. 
    • Lifetime membership is $500.

Deer Lake Association