Thursday, July 28, 2011


From WATERWORKS, Outdoors Column by Gordon Prickett coming 8/3/2011 in the Aitkin Independent Age

The pleasures of our lake country are at their best in these summer months. When the rest of the country is sweltering in record heat or beset by drought and wild fires, we jump in the lake and cool off, even on the hottest days. And invariably, it is "cooler by the lake."

A common theme in the purposes of our county lake associations is "to protect the lake and preserve it for our enjoyment, and for that of coming generations." But... my enjoyment may not be the same as yours. As the vacant shoreline increasingly fills up with cabins and mansions, after the best campsites have already been taken, this question of whose enjoyment can be tricky.

The DNR has recognized the pressures of lakeshore development and increased lake surface use (boating), and it has attempted to put regulations in place to help us "enjoy the lake."

We should also consider the "enjoyment" and the survival of the various species of fish and wildlife, whose habitat we invade when we come into this lake country. Boating maneuvers that churn up fish spawning grounds and disrupt waterfowl vegetation areas diminish the enjoyment for some of us. That is why the Minnesota Boating Guide restricts the speed of personal watercraft (jetskis) to 5 mph or less (no-wake), when operated within 150 feet (half a football field) from the shore.


Last week I met the new Publisher of the Independent Age, Kevin Anderson, in the office, and told him how much I have enjoyed writing this column for the past thirteen years. It looks as though we may continue the arrangement that I made back then with Dick Norlander. He didn’t charge me for carrying "Waterworks," and I furnished the content without cost, on every first Wednesday of the month.