by Megan Reeves
“Wait, there’s a lake over there?” That was the question a friend of mine asked when we passed by Lake Herrick. She had no clue that there was a lake and beach area over by the intramural fields. Lake Herrick is a part of the University of Georgia that has been overlooked and not recognized for its true potential. Some in the University community have made it their purpose to bring back Lake Herrick and make it so it is usable again. I applaud these people because with their help we could see what Lake Herrick can truly be.
My grandma (Lois Rosenthal) and grandpa (Glenn Rosenthal) have been residents of Athens Clarke County for 28 years, and one day when I was visiting my grandma I told her about how I was working with Watershed UGA, and mentioned something about the project to restore Lake Herrick. She immediately chimed in, and asked if I remembered going there as a child. From there I had to hear more, so I asked if I could interview her to highlight the wonderful stories that Lake Herrick had to offer.
She started off telling me that “on a weekend, we’d pack a picnic and head on over” to Lake Herrick with my family. Picnics seemed like they were a must when we went, because they always popped up in one of the stories she told. However when it came to getting into the water, my grandma said that she did not want to get in because of the “little fish,” but she said that “you kids never minded the little fish.” The other fond memory she holds with Lake Herrick are the faculty picnics. My grandpa, Glenn Rosenthal, was the Director of Career Planning and Placement for 12 years, from 1988-2000 here at UGA. She explained to me that Dwight Douglas, the VP of Student Affairs at the time, would cater spring picnics for all of the department under student affairs and their families at Lake Herrick. The families were encouraged to bring their kids so they could “go down to the water and splash around and play in the sand.” Along with these memories, she added that “of course Lake Herrick has wonderful trails that you can hike all around the lake.” She told me that she always took the dogs on walks around the trails, and there was a pond that you could let your dog swim in. As you can see, Lake Herrick gave my grandma and grandpa multiple cherished memories. When I asked her if she would go back if she knew the water was safe to swim, she immediately said yes and told me how she would make sure to take her great grandchild (my niece), Nora, to swim. When I informed my grandma that a group was planning on restoring Lake Herrick, she exclaimed that she “would be thrilled to death if that came back to being.”
Next, I asked by grandma what Lake Herrick means to the community? She believes that if it was advertised more than more people would be aware fully of this great place. In her own words, “I think it would be a big hit.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have a day where you could pile in a car with friends or family and go lay in the sand or splash in the water? Maybe you could even pack a picnic or make some barbeque. All of these great adventures could be right at your fingertips and right around the corner at Lake Herrick. Just imagine one of those sweltering, hot days in Athens, where all you want to do is cool off; doesn’t a refreshing lake sound nice? Lake Herrick is just the place to bring the community together for enjoyable times. With the help of those restoring the lake, I can already see a new future for this incredible gem in Athens. Wouldn’t you want to help bring this incredible place back too?