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Green Lake divers give back

This cream can was among the debris that divers pulled from the depths of Green Lake as part of the second annual underwater recovery hosted by Let's Go Fishing with Seniors Minnesota. The Willmar chapter offers the cleanup as a way to give back to the lake that offers it so much, said organizer Joe Holm. Submitted photo

SPICER -- Scuba divers returned to the depths of Green Lake for a second year as part of the commitment by Let's Go Fishing with Seniors Minnesota to give back to the lake that offers it so much.

The divers found that plenty of others have continued to give to the lake what it does not need.

By day's end, the divers had collected a dumpster full of junk.

A number of large drums from old washing machines, creamery cans, even a large piston believed to be from a steam engine were among the debris pulled from the lake bottom during the second annual "underwater recovery'' held on June 12.

A steady rain soaked the volunteers helping aboard the pontoons, but the rain mattered not to the 20 volunteer scuba divers or the spirits of those who helped make it all possible, said Joe Holm, founder and president of Let's Go Fishing. Holm said the event featured both morning and afternoon dives, and time for fun. All of the volunteers enjoyed a pork barbecue meal and lots of banter and joking as "treasures'' were brought to shore.

This year's finds included a woman's shoe believed to date from the early 1900s.

The divers recovered most of the debris off Saulsbury Beach in Spicer. It's a popular destination and access point for the lake. Apparently, it has been the preferred dumping ground for those who want to illegally submerge everything from tires to old chairs, said Holm.

The divers also searched two other areas this year. Teams scoured the sand-packed bottoms in the Lone Tree and Emerald Bay areas. Both are popular areas for recreational boaters.

The divers returned with no more than a few bottles and cans from these areas. Visibility was good and the sand-packed bottom was easily searched, giving the divers reason to believe that only a minimal amount of littering is occurring in these areas.

The annual dive is more than an opportunity to clean up the lake. It's a great way to remind people of the importance of treating our lakes with respect, said Holm. "Use, respect and protect'' are themes the organization hopes the event will promote, he said.

The Willmar chapter of Let's Go Fishing with Seniors hosts many of its outings on Green Lake, and chose the lake for the annual event because of this, he added.

The organization now includes 27 chapters across the state and is on its way to hosting 13,000 guests on the state's lakes this year.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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