Laverne Morstad’s passion is Lake Alice [UPDATED]Published 4:31am Monday, June 3, 2013 Updated 12:49pm Monday, June 3, 2013
Ninety-five-year-old Laverne Morstad recently encountered a flock of geese that wandered along a grassy area around Lake Alice. She marched right toward the geese and tried shooing them away with the tiny jingle of her car keys.
“They think it’s their home,” Morstad said. “It’s just almost solid geese, Lake Alice.”
Earlier that afternoon, Morstad sat and gazed out the front window of her Fergus Falls home as she recalled memories and her passion for Lake Alice. She was always fascinated with the history of Fergus Falls. She lived on Oakland Place near the lake for 35 years.
“I’ve always been an activist,” Morstad said. “I guess I have a reputation to live up to. I like to see things happen, even if I just plant a seed. I am a take-charge person.”
Morstad also lived on the north end of Lake Alice during high school. The 1935 Fergus Falls graduate used to walk across the ice with a friend. The lake used to be a skating rink.
“It was always full of skaters,” Morstad said. “And I thought it was a nice little lake then.”
Even in the 1906s and 1970s, Lake Alice wasdifferent than it is today. Morstad recalled how people would pull up a blanket on the beautiful green grass to just sit and enjoy the lake. The parks department planted flowers, and a couple dozen ducks would hang around, before the geese showed up in the late 1970s.
In 1977, she wrote her first letter to the editor about the lake that used to draw people from all over so they could walk or bike around what used to be a very scenic spot in town. Over the years, she’s seen the cost estimates to address the future of Lake Alice rise from about $250,000 to more than $5 million.
Morstad thinks the city should contact Minnesota Land Trust to get a second opinion about what should be done at Lake Alice, and then hopefully get some money. The Minnesota Land Trust mission is to protect the natural and scenic heritage of our state through public and private partnerships, according to its website. Morstad would like to see the lake dredged to “get back to a nice little lake.”
“Maybe with a little skating rink again,” Morstad said. “It’s just a beautiful spot.”
If it’s left alone, it will turn into a “mosquito-infested swamp land,” she said. Something should’ve been done long ago, she added, but that’s hindsight.
“But I am not giving up, even if it is 40 years later,” Morstad said. “I’d really like to get something done, because I’m 95, and I can’t wait much longer. My family tells me I should give it up, but I don’t give up that easily. I would appreciate somebody else taking up the cause.”
She’d like some of the young people in Fergus Falls to get involved and continue as activists wherever and whenever she might leave off, because she said it’s important to have activists out there.
“A lot of people probably have ideas, but they just don’t follow up on them,” Morstad said. “Anybody who has any positive ideas about what can be done, we should certainly pursue it.”