This weekend our family plus extra kids spent a night at the cabin. It’s not exactly wilderness, but it sits on the lakeshore, which makes us all happy. The kids love swimming and water sports. Consequently, they spent as much time as they could in the water until the weather turned cold, windy and wet. I loved that they were outside getting some great exercise. One of our guests, a fifteen year old, asked if he could fish from the dock. He went next door to buy some minnows, found a fishing pole in the basement and cast his line. Although he didn’t get a bite, he seemed to have fun.
While I was relaxed and charmed by the water and activities flowing around me, thoughts of water quality crept into my consciousness. How safe was the lake for swimming, recreating or consuming fish from? What were the kids being exposed to? I knew that some years ago the lake hadn’t tested well.
In the past, I’ve recommended www.checkmylake.org. It’s a handy tool for finding out just how safe a Minnesota lake is for swimming or eating the fish from. All you need to do is put in the name of the lake or the county where it’s located. You will get a thumbs up or down for swimming and recreation and consuming the fish. You can also sign up to receive the Parent’s Guide to Safe Recreation. Right now, water testing that informs the site is from 2008, but it will be updated soon. I still find it helpful to know the results of prior testing.
Even if a lake is deemed safe it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and your family. Make it a habit to shower after lake swimming, wait 24 hours after a heavy rain before going for a swim and keep your face and head out of the water as much as possible.
Minnesota is all about our lakes. Just remember to stay healthy when enjoying them.