A summer of sandbagsPublished 10:59am Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Adverse effects of high water at lakes in Otter Tail County are especially evident at three lakes west of Perham. In many cases, cabins are surrounded by water at Devils Lake, Little McDonald Lake and Paul Lake.
At Devils Lake, retiree Clarence Bernier is more fortunate than many of his neighbors. His cabin is on high ground and he only had to sandbag his beach. For that reason, he’s willing to help his neighbors who have been especially hard hit.
An example is Bernier operating the sump pump for neighbors Penny and Harvey Sullivan. The Sullivans work during weekdays in Moorhead, and spend weekends at the lake.
“I have the time to help neighbors, since my cabin is secure,” said Bernier, who before his retirement worked for National Cash Register (NCR) in Fargo.
Bernier, who spends the winter months in Texas, also helps another neighbor to the north, Jim Berg. His neighbor has high water problems similar to the Sullivans.
At nearby Little McDonald Lake, property owners have petitioned the county board to allow the lake to tap into nearby Ditch 25 to help drain water from their body of water, which is landlocked. If approved, following a public hearing Aug. 22, water would be drained into nearby Berger Lake, which in turn would tap into Ditch 25 and then enter Big McDonald Lake.
Landowners along Ditch 25 will be contacted prior to the public meeting. Those affected downstream, such as lakeshore owners at Star Lake and Dead Lake, will also be part of the discussion prior to any decision by the county board.
“Tapping into Ditch 25 seems like the best solution for our lake,” said Ardell Wiegandt, a property owner at Little McDonald Lake and chairman of the Lake Improvement District.
A cabin and nearby buildings owned by Wade and Sheila Burke, near the Little McDonald Lake public access, are surrounded by water on the southwest side of the lake.
“We keep pumping water from the west side of our driveway, to the east side, but it’s a continuing battle,” said Penny Sullivan.
South of Little McDonald Lake is Paul Lake where high water devastation is especially evident on the west side of the lake.
“You really feel badly for many property owners who have been devastated by the high water,” said Bernier.