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The Observer Paper 11/26/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow OUR VIEW: Protecting a prime attraction

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OUR VIEW: Protecting a prime attraction

Most people who pour through La Grande on Interstate 84 have no idea the city has its very own lake.

Morgan Lake is a cleverly hidden gem just two miles out of town. Sure, the drive is difficult, two miles up a mountain on a narrow, winding gravel road that in winter can be an especially hair-raising challenge.

The lake can be used year round. But summer is prime time. The lake gives residents quick and inexpensive access to camping, fishing, hiking, motor-free boating, swimming, photography and mountain biking opportunities.

The lake offers many amenities. They include new restrooms, a small floating dock, four fishing piers and improved walking paths and campsites.

The lake is also a prime spot for parties and vandalism and occasionally a magnet for human vultures.

To help keep the lake and its environ pristine, the La Grande City Council approved having a camp host at the lake to help parks staff with litter cleanup and keep lake visitors from violating rules like no camping for more than seven days and obeying speed limits. Bill Theissen is now on the job through the end of September. He reports getting plenty of help from the public, which also supports the notion that Morgan Lake is a treasure that needs protection. 

Natural beauty, of course, is among La Grande’s strengths. A low crime rate is another, and with this growing lake watch group, we have a chance to improve the city’s already prime aesthetic appeal.

The camp host is just part of a broader wise stewardship plan that will help preserve the lake for the enjoyment of future generations. Think about it. Our children’s due inheritance is not just getting our hand-me-downs. It’s a livable planet, especially that part that is within range of us day in and day out.

Consider the T-shirt slogan: Think Globally, Act Locally. Too many people fly off to protect the South American rain forest while ignoring the mess in our own backyard. 

Morgan Lake deserves our support. Together, through our vigilant actions of respecting the resource and making sure others show respect, too, we can protect Morgan Lake and our unique natural heritage.

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