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.
“Okay, good morning, Lowell Deede here. I've been in Detroit Lakes now for about 30 years. I had different ideas about exercise and just going out and walking for exercise. I came across a fellow on Coney 126. On the south end of the refuge during the winter and he was just out for a walk. And he would walk fairly significant distances. Six, eight, ten miles. It was ten below zero and he was bundled up but his attitude was just fantastic. He was enjoying going out and walking.
And that got me to thinking about walking as an exercise. It's a great way to see the landscape and the local trees and the rivers, the fields and all of that. And I got to thinking, "Well, maybe I should try and walk more than just the same path all the time." And I got to thinking, "Well, why not walk all of the roads in the township. Well, why not all of the roads in the county. Wonder if anybody's ever done that." At first I didn't realize how big a project that was going to be. There are 40 townships in Becker County and it took me two and a half years to accomplish that. Becker County has 15 rivers that flow out of the county. And only one that flows in. That's kind of indicative of it's place on the landscape. Being high on the water shed.
So, I got involved in taking a lot of water quality samples. In 2015 I think I took just a little bit less than 300, this last year I bumped that up and did a few over 600. All of the information that I've collected I submit to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as part of their citizen volunteer stream monitor program. Driving a number of roads, you're driving 40-60, 70 miles an hour, you don't get the same perspective.”
Asset ID #3900