To the Editor,
Once upon a time, there were two lakes. One built a town on the side of the lake and one built small cabins all around the lake.
Over time, the lake with the attached town thrives on tourism and economical development, has attractions and activities year round. The lake with the town attracts tourism through festivals, carnivals, contests, music, theater, arts and sporting events. The lake is surrounded by restaurants, bars, rental cabins. hotels, marinas and gift shops. This lake has a huge public beach, bike paths, walking paths and multiple boat launches. The lake is lit up at night by manmade lights. Public roads surround the lake. Cars and trucks fill intersections and pedestrian crosswalks on weekends and holidays. Economic development and commercialism is the “culture” of this lake. It’s lively and fun. The newest lake toys and snow toys abound. “Build it and they will come” could be their motto. It’s unclear if one is at the lake or in town. Not sure how the water quality will be maintained or the noise and light pollution kept to a minimal.
The people who live on the lake with the attached town have chosen economic growth over the peace and quiet of going to the lake.
The lake without the town attached has resisted development. Few businesses exist on the lake for a reason and those businesses that do exist promote the “up north” feeling. The lakeshore consists mostly of family weekend cabins with a smattering of year round residents. The cabins are multi-generational and filled with tradition and quality family time. Much of the lake is preserved with old trees. The view toward shore from the lake is dense green and natural vs open manicured lawns and building structures. Small, older trailer parks and small resorts have, over time, privatized into shared ownership. Cabins are accessed by beach roads which are owned and maintained by property owners. Native plants are treasured. Residents complain about the birds, deer, moose, woodchucks, racoons and skunks eating their gardens while being grateful that they still have wildlife. The orchestra of orioles, wrens, mourning doves, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, ducks and loons is enjoyed. Families fish for food. Residents enjoy star gazing under a naturally dark sky because of the lack of manmade yard and street lights, bars and night life. One wishes it would achieve an International “dark sky” status for night sky gazing.
Peace and quiet is a priority. Peaceful Place could be their motto. Families swim in the lake without concern or needing to shower afterward and water quality is good.
Why do you come to the lake? To, view natural, tree lined, green shorelines or view buildings and boat lift covers that resemble circus tents?
Maintain a second tier of green woods and fields or have a second tier of commercial development and parking lots?
Enjoy a celestial, dark night sky or a shore line dotted with bright electric lights?
Have boaters using their docking lights as headlights while cruising the lake at night or have boat captains that understand the red light, green light safety system?
Hear wrens, orioles, mourning doves, loons, owls, ratta tat wood peckers, trumpeter swans, ducks, the quick fly by buzz of humming birds and children laughing as they canon ball into the chilly water or hear a big base sound of music coming from multiple boats?
Have sediment stay in an undisturbed ecosystem on the bottom of the lake or a lake churned up by deep wake boats lifting up the silt, disturbing the ecosystem that has kept the lake clean for centuries?
Fish with family for dinner or encourage non-local boats to come to the lake to search for non-native and non-edible trophy fish?
Have as many boats on the lake as people desire or only the number of boats that mother nature can support and still maintain good water quality?
Encourage boaters who are perhaps unfamiliar with environmental best practices to launch vessels from infested waters into the lake or restrict their entry?
Be surrounded by short term boaters who are less concerned about the future of the lake or be surrounded by boaters who are concerned about the long term impact of their behavior on and in the water?
See and hear boats congregating on the water to socialize for the day or would you rather watch a pair of loons duck down and wonder where they will resurface, observe the width and shape of the sun sparkling on the lake, watch the wind come up, die down, shift, watch the lake change color as storms approach, see a brood of ducklings cared for by mother ducks, watch a heron take flight?
Have the DNR, County and State promote the lake for tourism or strive for a natural low key lake life?
Develop a lake management plan that prevents abuse and overuse of the lake or let other people who live afar determine what is right for the area?
And lastly, do you want to assume someone else will protect the lake for you? Afterall, it could be a lot of work. You might have to be vocal or meet with authorities or organize a movement or go to a meeting or influence government. Yikes, that’s not why you come to the lake! What a dilemma. Do you want to work to protect the lake or sit back and let others decide?