MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Thousands of people spend the Fourth of July holiday floating on one of Minnesota 10,000 lakes.
On Tuesday, hundreds of boaters dropped anchor at Lake Minnetonka’s Big Island. But after the party, the area is littered with trash.
WCCO’s Molly Rosenblatt shows us how the clean-up is doing more than just keeping up appearances.
After the wild revelers are gone, it’s what they’ve left behind that leads to a day of work for a group who care about the beauty of Lake Minnetonka.
“It’s our natural resources and we have the obligation to leave it better than we found it. I don’t know if our kids and grandkids are gonna get the chance to enjoy what we have,” Gabriel Jabbour of Tonka Bay Marina said.
Gabriel Jabbour, owner of Tonka Bay Marina, along with the Lake Minnetonka Association, sheriff’s divers and the Life’s-A-Beach crew team up year after year to clean up the mess for free.
“When there’s a problem, it’s imperative that we all come together. It’s a bad thing we have a problem, it’s a good thing we’re all here to solve the problem,” Jabbour said.
And by barge, they make their way to Big Island.
Besides cleaning up the bags left by sheriff’s department, the crew at Life’s-A-Beach dive for the dangerous cans and glass left behind on the bottom of the bay.
“Someone’s gotta do it or else you’re gonna ruin the lake and then the recreational value diminishes of Lake Minnetonka and that’s huge for the city,” Dan Scalzo with Life’s-A-Beach in Minnetonka.
Dan Scalzo runs Life’s-A-Beach Shoreline Services. They do water clean-up on a daily basis, but the day after Fourth of July is by far their biggest job.
For the most part, it’s the tossed beer bottles and cans, but once in a while the divers will come across a treasure. And in the end, it’s righting the wrong from the day before.
“I just would want them to be a little more mindful of the damages that they’re doing to the lake and the ecosystem from having a surplus of trash that ruins the water quality and you see a decline in fish,” Scalzo said.
The Lake Minnetonka Association said trash was actually down a bit this year compared to last because there just wasn’t as many boaters at Big Island.