I love the water. Lakes, oceans, snow, or streams you name it. There is nothing like being outside to enjoying playing in the water, skiing, fishing, kayaking, or even snowboarding down mountains in glorious powder.
I grew up in Grove, Oklahoma living the lake life on Grand Lake. I have such fond memories of jumping on our boat to go fishing with my dad and my brother. Or the countless times where I was dragged around the lake on a tube with some of my best friends.
My family owned a local restaurant called Catfish John’s for nearly twenty years and that is where I learned the lake was much more important than for just playing. Grand Lake is a huge draw for tourism.
The Grove economy thrives with the tourism that Grand Lake attracts. The population in Grove nearly doubles in the summer time when people move into their lake houses or come to camp at the numerous campsites around the lake.
The city hosts numerous fishing tournaments, boat races, and an annual 4th of July fireworks display on the lake to attract more people to the city.
In 2013 and 2016 Grove hosted the Bassmaster Classic fishing tournament which brought in anglers, fans, and locals out to the shorelines to watch.
All of the appeal that Grand Lake has on tourists definitely comes at a cost. With more people in Grove, more waste is produced and a lot of the times tourists abuse the nature they came to enjoy.
Shorelines and roadways near the lake become littered with trash which gets washed into the lake. The litter takes away from the beauty of the lake, but it is also quite harmful to the marine life.
But most importantly the lake is a source of water for Grove and many other towns on its shorelines. Without water life cannot exist. Period.
Locals have called for a change for better stewardship of the lake and the public nature reserves.
On October 22, 2016 the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) hosted its annual Shoreline Cleanup event and provided lunch for the volunteers. The cleanup is one of the largest organized cleaning events of the year for Grand Lake.
Even more recently the GRDA has published its goals for 2017 that includes Environmental Stewardship. In 2017 they are pushing the 5Es: employees, electricity, environmental stewardship, economic development, and efficiency.
The Oklahoma Conservation Commission began a project focused on”educating citizens, students, and municipal officials on ways to reduce nonpoint source (NPS) runoff through demonstration, training, and volunteer monitoring.” Educating the public is important for locals to see what they can do to prevent negative impact upon the lake and the aquatic ecosystems.
It is important to take care of and preserve Grand Lake for people to enjoy and to embrace nature for many years to come. Love your water sources!
Following is a short video interview with Kendall Knox about the importance of environmental stewardship and keeping Grand Lake clean.