By Ruth Nerhaugen, New Richmond News
Published Thursday, May 08, 2008
Ever since the historical sighting on April 28, 1871, there have been stories about a monster in Lake Pepin and those rumor surface every few years.
Now, the Lake City Tourism Bureau has decided to try and find out the truth.
The bureau is enlisting the public's help by offering a $50,000 reward to anyone who can prove the existence of the creature living in Lake Pepin that is commonly referred to as "Pepie."
The native Dakota people who lived along the Mississippi River were afraid to travel on Lake Pepin in birchbark canoes because of "large creatures" that would surface on the Lake and puncture the thin birchbark skin, according to tourism bureau spokesman Larry Nielson.
They would only travel on the lake in the more stoutly made dugout canoes.
Sightings have been reported in reputable publications. The Almanac of State History published by the Minnesota Historical Society states that on April 28, 1871, a "lake monster" was seen swimming in Lake Pepin.
Numerous people have reported strange sightings on the lake over the years, Nielson said.
The largest lake on the Mississippi River at 22 miles long and two miles wide, Lake Pepin is almost identical in size to Scotland's Loch Ness.
However, Lake Pepin is relatively shallow with a depth of only 63 feet whereas Loch Ness is over 750 feet deep.
People have often wondered if the creature could be related to Scotland's Nessie, or Lake Champlain's Champ.
Lake Pepin's creature is said to be similarly shy and elusive, Nielson said.
To claim the $50,000 reward, you must submit undisputable photographic and scientific evidence of a previously un-cataloged biological specimen known as Pepie.
Proof should include photographs and/or samples of skin or fins that can studied for DNA analysis, Nielson said.
Photos should include visible landmarks, villages or Lake Pepin's paddlewheel boat Pearl of the Lake to verify that the photos were actually taken on Lake Pepin.
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