Norum, who lives in the area and cites Big Island as one of his favorite destinations, returned to the area over the weekend and was shocked at what he found.
Beer cans, plastic and general garbage blanketed the shoreline and waters off Big Island, and none of the boats that ringed the island just 24 hours before were anywhere in sight.
"It's way worse than it looks," Norum said. "It looks like people dumpped their garbage right in the lake. The pictures don't give it justice."
In 2006, the City of Orono and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District joined forces to purchase 56 acres on the east side of Big Island for a public park.
The City of Orono paid $3 million of the total price of $5.85 million to create the Big Island Nature Park. The city also received a $2 million grant from the State of Minnesota.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District contributed the remaining $850,000 of the purchase price in exchange for a Conservation Easement, which preserves and protects 45 acres of the 56-acre property.
Vandalism has been a problem on Big Island over the years, and all of the existing buildings were demolished in 2011.
There are about 50 private residences on Big Island. The Minnetonka Power Squadron, which is focused on safe boating practices, is also located on Big Island. Members of the Power Squadron have access to the docks and land for picnics and overnight camping.
Big Island Nature Park is open to the public. Visitors may park their boat at the dock on the south end of the park. Overnight camping is prohibited.
Editor's note: some information for this article came from a 2011 Patch post exploring the evolution of Big Island's history.