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.
Hi, my name is Sally Hausken. When I was growing up, we'd come down here as many weekends in the summer as we could. I learned about climbing up this hill and then down through this bog that went (inaudible 00:00:18). I got over to a fisherman's trail that took us to Sucker Creek. When I grew up, and my great-aunt passed from the scene, and I bought the place out of her estate, I realized that I wanted to return it, try to have it as I remembered it. I started learning about native plants. Little did I know the adventure that it was going to take me on.
One day as I was driving out of my driveway onto the road, a neighbor about three doors down stopped me. He was walking. He said, "See that hill up there?" He pointed to my magic place where I had gone to see Sucker Creek and hear it babbling. He said, "That's going to have upscale houses on it, and they're going to get a beautiful view of Detroit Lakes." I was scared because here was something that was threatening to take my magic place away. I found out that they wanted $285,000 for it. I worked every single grant organization that I could find in the state. The Trust for Public Lands stepped up and said they would take hold of the negotiations because I was no match for these land owners.
We got the land. Once we had the land, then I had to find a grant to apply for where we could restore the land. It worked out for me that the DNR was the place to go. It was 64.24 acres. This turned out to be called Sucker Creek Preserve. I found out about mineral springs across the road. As it happened, making a long story short, I had the opportunity to buy it. I did buy it. I went to the city and said, "I just bought such and such a land with mineral springs. Now I want my money back." Now we have two parcels, a preserve and upstream. We call the combination, a total of 117 acres, Greater Sucker Creek.
I have been empowered since that time. I feel much more, much more confident, and much more vocal. I spread the word every chance I get. That's why we've got the nice brochures that we have. If I sit on an airplane, you better believe that the party I'm sitting next is going to know about Greater Sucker Creek and Sucker Creek Preserve. You too, can do it."
Asset ID #3908