Whether here full time, weekends, or vacations the main reason we all love the Courte Oreilles Lakes is to have fun, to enjoy ourselves. It can start seeing a beautiful sunrise. Then? Swim, snorkel, scuba, get some sun, kayak, paddle board, canoe, float, sail, windsurf, water-ski, bounce on a towed inflatable, cruise on a pontoon, catch eight or more kinds of fish, ice fish, snowmobile, cross country ski, snowshoe, duck or goose hunt, watch eagles or loons, cool off, wash up. Maybe finish the day watching a spectacular reflected sunset. No matter what the season, we depend on the water.
However, whether you own, share, or rent your place near the lakes there is one overriding truth, there is no lake place status quo. Sun, heat, cold, snow, ice, rain, hail, falling trees and limbs, wind, insects, rodents, weeds, poison ivy, thorns, invasive plants, old paint, faded stain, rotten boards, leaking pipes, broken windows, drafts, aged shingles, worn out appliances, antique wiring.
The list of property assaults is endless. All of us, we either work on our cabins and homes and property or they deteriorate.
An 80,000 acre watershed drains into Lac Courte Oreilles’ 5,139 acres, then through a single outlet channel into Little LCO’s 221 acres. These are the two Courte Oreilles Lakes which COLA represents.
And what’s true for your lake place is true for the Courte Oreilles Lakes.
There is no status quo. If we don’t do our parts to help improve and maintain the LCO Lakes they will deteriorate. There is no standing still, no neutral. Collectively, we either help the Lakes, or allow them to suffer, to deteriorate.
COLA was formed decades ago as a way for people to work together to restore and protect the quality of the water we all depend on for keeping this place special. Some fixes may take years, like phosphorus reduction. Some can be immediately satisfying like hand pulling a patch of Curley Leaf Pondweed.
COLA is relying on you to help make these lakes places of beauty and joy for ourselves, kids, grandkids….even people who we will never know but will be here in the future making their own memories. You rely on COLA to do the same.
Over just the past handful of years the COLA Board, the LCO Foundation, Inc., COLA members and others have volunteered literally thousands of hours on the Lakes’ behalf. COLA has obtained and used grants totaling over $350,000 on Lakes’ projects, in addition to tens of thousands of dollars donated through the LCO Foundation, Inc.
The COLA Board struggles with how and where to devote our collective efforts and funds. To misquote Lincoln, we all agree some of the time. Some of us agree all the time. But we do not all agree all the time. And that’s what makes your COLA Board as good as it is.
We agree on one, overriding goal, improving and saving the water quality of the LCO Lakes. Our reasons for why we want to save the lakes may vary in degree among the Board members. Our views of how we meet the goal, the steps we take, the priorities we have to set due to limits on our volunteered time and money mean we do not all agree all the time. We work to reach our best ideas, compromises, decisions…and the voting determines how we’ll proceed. We may end up not all agreeing on steps we will take, but we all agree on why. The Lakes.
So, speaking for the COLA Board: First have fun. Unwind. Enjoy. Appreciate. Love these Lakes. They are jewels.
Second, help save these Lakes. Do your part. We are trying to do ours. Support COLA’s efforts. Maintain your membership, or join if not a member. Volunteer time when we look for help on projects. Volunteer money via LCO Foundation, Inc. so we can keep at the work our Lakes need.
Third, okay, have some more fun on the wonderful waters of the LCO Lakes.
President of COLA
RELATED STORIES IN SHORT EARS, LONG TALES
Issue 27 'How COLA got started—'a bunch of amateur people who cherished the lakes''