What if Lake Herrick Wasn't There?

Shanti Shrestha

 

While strolling one fine evening around Lake Herrick, a thought came into my mind. I asked myself why I always come to this place when I need to refresh myself. There are so many forests and walking trails around, but why do I prefer to be here when I need to relieve my stressed graduate mind?

As I was enjoying the ambience, the calm water surrounded by the lush green trees decorated with multicolored flowers and its shadow in the water, those little fishes that float up to the surface to say hi to the visitors, the cool fresh breeze, I realized how beautiful the lake was! People were jogging around, some were fishing, and some were just strolling, like me, with their dogs. I met many of my friends. I always get to meet a few of them in every stroll. Hey! It's not only me, many come around this lake, and this has been a venue for socializing. It is always fun to share updates when we meet each other. I kept wondering where we would go if Lake Herrick wasn't here.

I was once talking to my friend whom I don't meet often around the lake. I jokingly asked one day "Don't you get tired of studying? Don't you need refreshment? You have such a beautiful lake around." I got the answer that was not expected. He said he used to come, but the lake is no longer his favorite place! That left me perplexed with my thoughts. "So why has this lake not been able to attract all?" What additional modifications may be needed to this place? What if you could swim in the lake? Wouldn't people come here to play beach volleyball? Wouldn't it be fun to boat in the water? What if the place is developed as a water park?

Later I got to know that this was once a reality. You could swim in the lake!!! How exciting is that! But I wasn't lucky enough to swim in the lake. I always wondered why the beach area was secluded, now I know! The water is not swimmable. As I observed the lake closely this time, my eyes caught an unsightly scene. One corner of the lake was completely filled with dirt, balls, bottles, and what not! As I passed by, I realized there were two fish floating lifeless. I asked what could be the reason. Was the water not safe for those poor little creatures? How would they survive when their habitat is not suitable for them? I felt bad!!

Do you know that 40% of lakes in the United States are not suitable for fishing and swimming? Is our Lake Herrick going to end up being one of them? Aren't we responsible for this condition? Isn't this lake an asset for UGA? Isn't this lake the property of all residents around? Can't this condition be reverted?

Yes of course!! If we all feel it's our lake. Let's promise we won't leave any trash around, we won't leave our pet's poop around, and we feel it’s OUR responsibility to keep it clean!!!