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Deer Lake Association
A member of the Minnesota Lakes Association


Dr. A. Richard "Dick" Baldwin


Dick Baldwin was one of Deer Lake's best friends.  A long-time resident on Sherwood Forest Trail (where he was a avid sawyer on his own mill), Dick was an unstinting advocate of preserving Deer Lake's water quality.  The "3 in 20" program aimed at improving the Secchi visibility of Deer Lake water by three feet in twenty years.  His legacy lives on in the progress we continue to make as a Lake Association dedicated to the Deer Lake environment and community.


Ruminations on Deer Lake
by Dick Baldwin
July 15, 2005
I do my best ruminations lying on my back on the couch on a cool summer day. Here's where these led me a few weeks ago.
It seemed to me that the DLA Board could well become more of an "idea factory" to generate ideas, encourage ideas, discuss the ideas and thereby sort the ideas and finally provide the leadership to implement ideas that are different and will really make a difference toward the achievement of the DLA mission, goals, and objectives.
So here are a few ruminations toward that end. I don't claim originality, or that all, or for that matter any of them in the end will meet the above objectives. But it's a start and something that everyone on Deer Lake has a stake in and can participate
Maintain the septic system program to analyze all of our septic systems for function and encourage correcting any "leakers." This is vital for our "3 in 20" program to preserve the lake.
Fishing: Someone should keep track of and understand our fish populations, spawning, stockings, and promote "catch and release."
Purple loosestrife and other bad invasive species: Keep track of it. Have education programs. Publicize how to identify it. Have eradication programs. Publicize how to identify it and what to do next.
Zebra mussels: Understand it, where it is, how it moves and what are our risks?
Lawn care: Understand and publicize how lakeshore lawns can and do affect the lake. Provide consultations on fertilizing, mowing and use of niter zones.
On other potential pollution problems have someone become "the expert" on the subject, e.g. gray water running into the watershed, dish detergents, laundry detergents or just plain trash.
Measuring water clarity in an organized way (we do this now). Have schedules, keep records, publicize results, and monitor our "3 in 20" program.
Understand the Deer Lake watershed: How does Moose Lake affect Deer Lake? Should the DLA really be involved with and concerned for the whole watershed?
Managing and encouraging the development of the "Deer Lake Community." What is the community? What are all the ways we can build it? Follow up on social activities so they flourish. How can we relate best with Sunday Brunch programs at Hiawatha? We do well and have many social projects going. But how can we do them better? New ideas?
Membership Drives. Very important to understand why some things work and some things don't- Follow up with "drop-outs". Consider dues increase or decrease. Which would help our program the most?
Seriously re-consider our membership structure. It seems unnecessarily complex. Consider one class of membership, anyone who has an interest in Deer Lake to pay the dues and participate. The membership requirement now makes it seem as though the Deer Lake Association is a homeowner's association and it shouldn't be!
Help make the "Commons at Hiawatha" a community center: work with Hiawatha to develop community relations and outreach program. DLA is very fortunate to have it available. Use it, don't abuse it.
Taxes: Understand the local tax situation and develop ideas and programs to get "more for our money."
Clean-up the trash, etc. on our properties, by-ways, and avenues, as we do on Hwy. 62 and ear Island.
Get camps, resorts, and permanent residents more involved in preserving our Lake and community.
Develop, publicize, and sell, (distribute and address map of all properties on Deer Lake.
Build our DLEAP Fund for major projects, to say, $300,000. Use DLEAP Funds for major projects. Be careful not to reduce them by "nickel and dime" projects which can come from the operating account.
Really understand the zoning problems and work to use zoning to preserve the lake. Some of us now do this but not all Deer Lake residents understand it. We can do better.
Look for major opportunities to protect Deer Lake and its watershed. This may seem redundant, but we need to look for new ways to achieve our mission.
Develop new opportunities to raise money and to help fund proposed ventures and keep the DLA sound financially. We don't run a benevolence program:  we are investing in the Lake and the community.
Improve communications:  newsletters, brochures, information letters, news publicity, emails, web site, etc. We must do good work and tell people about it.
Encourage usable motorless craft on the lake, e.g. sailboats, kayaks, canoes by holding regattas, races, etc. For example, we could have a sailing regatta once each year.
Promote safety in, on, and around the lake: education, lessons, publicity, newsletters, etc.
Be exemplary stewards of all we have here and love our neighbors'
Monitor the public access. Promote responsible use of the lake with signs, etc.
Hold occasional garage sales around the lake, a la Hwy. 38 Garage Sale. Use part of the proceeds for lake improvements, or scholarships, etc. It will be a community-builder and fun besides.
Give achievement awards at an annual event for those who make improvements, come up with useful ideas, and do exceptional work on behalf of the Lake.
Understand why the lake level has been so high and has cost so much erosion to the shoreline. This has caused millions of dollars in damage. There is some evidence that there is a sand build-up in the approach to the outlet dam. This should be investigated to see if it may be the cause. Another potential problem with the water flow in this area is the build-up of weeds which slows flow. The DLA could look in to this. Does Moose Lake have the same problem? Should (could) something be done to aid in the regulation of the lake level?
Just ruminations?