“My name is Becky Mitchell and I'm the Executive Director at the Becker County Museum in Detroit Lakes, and I have probably a similar story to many in the area. I grew up in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but of course, our weekends were filled with camping and swimming and coming to Detroit Lakes and the surrounding area. And really enjoying water as a recreation sport, both of course swimming in it, and fishing and water skiing and what have you. But as an adult, I found myself moving to the Toledo, Ohio area for about 10 years and it was then that I really had started to appreciate kind of our natural resources of Minnesota.
Ohio, of course, is pretty densely populated and they don't of course, have as many lakes as we do in Minnesota. A lot of their lakes are manmade lakes that are created when they're building roads or large buildings and ironically, a lot of them are right next to the interstate. So that was really eye-opening for me to see that. To be driving on the interstate and see people camping and swimming in these manmade lakes right alongside the highway. And then of course, Toledo is on Lake Erie, and so being one of the Great Lakes, that was a new experience and going out to recreate on Lake Erie was very different from recreating here in Minnesota.
The water is a lot grayer. It's much more shallow. They've been dealing with pollution and invasive species for far longer than we have here in Minnesota. So when I lived there and would come home on vacation in the summertime, just even the colors, you know kind of the gray, dreary, Lake Erie water versus the bright blue waters of Minnesota. And that's really when I started to appreciate our natural resources here in Minnesota so much more and water and just how blessed we are. And so it becomes more and more important to try and do everything we can to raise awareness and preserve that natural beauty.”
This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded for the Be Here: Main Street project, a collaboration with the MuseWeb Foundation to record stories from rural America.
Asset ID #3884