By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, DARWIN, MN The Dassel-Cokato area is plentiful in quality, recreational lakes, and lake associations dedicate their time to monitor water quality and educate land owners so that the lakes can be enjoyed for decades to come.
The following is information regarding each of the lake associations in the DC area. For further information about individual lakes, visit the MN Department of Natural Resources’ web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind.
Lake Washington Improvement Association
Lake Washington is nestled between the cities of Darwin and Dassel and is 2,454 acres with a maximum depth of 17 feet.
The Lake Washington Improvement Association meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month from February through October, at the Dassel Rod and Gun Club.
Its main goals are to maintain and improve water quality of the lake, keep all stakeholders informed and involved in all matters that impact the lake and surrounding areas, monitor and develop lake management plans, and develop more direct lines of communication with the DNR, Pollution Control Agency, Meeker County Board of Commissioners, and township boards.
Officers are Ken Klehr, president; Rich Fernstrom, vice president; Steve Ullom, secretary; Lyle Walker, treasurer; and Jen Kjell, membership chair. A Lake Washington directory is published every four to five years. Membership fees are $50 a year and may be sent to PO Box 68, Dassel, MN 55325. Its web site is www.lakewashingtonassn.com.
Brooks Lake Area Association
Brooks Lake is located in the heart of Cokato and is 96 acres. The lake features a public fishing pier and boat landing on its eastern shore in the Veterans Memorial Park.
The Brooks Lake Area Association aims to promote, maintain, and improve the environmental and recreational protection of Brooks Lake and its surrounding area while addressing the wants and needs of the residents, community, lake, and watershed as a whole.
Each year, Brooks Lake Area Association monitors use, clarity, temperature, and water quality through water testing and surveys, with the goal of restoring the lake’s clarity.
The association has annual meetings and publishes a yearly newsletter. Brooks Lake Area Association is actively seeking members, volunteers, and donations.
Officers are Manda Goldsberry, president; Ronald Olson, vice president; Corynn Flood, treasurer; and Jonathan Goldsberry, secretary.
To get involved, contact the association at PO Box 462 Cokato, MN 55321, firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.brookslake.info for more details.
Cokato Lake Improvement Association
The Cokato Lake Improvement Association meets quarterly, and conducts an annual meeting of all the members.
The association is made up of homeowners on and around the lake and people who are concerned about the care and quality of fishing and recreation on the lake.
The association is trying to actively develop a plan to improve panfish numbers, along with water clarity.
The association will be contacting all property owners in future months to create a lake resident listing. It is also planning a membership drive to address concerns about the care and quality of fishing and recreation on the lake, according to Jim Brodd, president of the association.
Other officers are Bernie Evans, vice president; Bette Norton, treasurer, and Ronnie Faschant, secretary. Board members include Mike Carlson, Jerry Doboszenski, Joel Hillmann, Louis King, and Toby Kotila. Contact any officer or board member with questions or to join the association.
Lake Stella Association
Lake Stella is located south of Darwin and has a surface area of 553 acres with a maximum depth of 75 feet.
The association has an annual newsletter and monitors the lake through the Citizens Lake Monitoring Program, DNR Lake Level Program, and Lake Testing Outdoor Corps of the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
The association also monitors lake levels, rainfalls, water temperature, and when the ice goes on and off.
The association hosts an annual picnic, which is scheduled for July 17 at 9 a.m. at the Darwin Rod and Gun Club.
Officers are Daryl Johnson and Kevin Compton, co-presidents; Dave Franzen, treasurer; Duane Hoversten, secretary; and N. Jack Schuster, county lake association representative; all of Darwin.
Dassel Area Environmental Association
The Dassel Area Environmental Association represents both Long Lake and Spring Lake, both of which are north of Dassel along County Road 4.
Long Lake has a surface area of 163 acres and a maximum depth of 28 feet. Spring Lake has a surface area of 218 acres and a maximum depth of 30 feet.
Membership includes more than 80 properties and a resort on Long Lake. Rick Craswell of Dassel is the primary contact, (320) 275-4577, and Dan Holje is the editor of the association’s annual newsletter.
Lake levels, rainfall, and a Crop Production Services’ ditch are monitored.
Officers are Rick Craswell, president; Bill Strandquist, treasurer; and Tom Berggren, secretary; all of Dassel.
Collinwood Lake Community Association
Collinwood Lake is located off of Wright County 31/Meeker County Road 6 and has a surface area of 584 acres with a maximum depth of 28 feet. The association represents 109 properties.
The association treats the lake with copper sulfate for excessive algae growth and acts as a watchdog for abusive pollution practices. It monitors lake level and rainfall, and also is a member of the Wright County Association of Lakes, as well as Meeker County’s association. The association has a newsletter which is published once a year.
Officers are Jeff Peller of Dassel, president; Sonny Nelson of Dassel, vice president; Cathy Bergemann of Cokato, secretary; and Dorothy Halvorson of Dassel, treasurer.
Big Swan Area Lake Association
Big Swan Lake is located south of Dassel off of County Road 4 and has a surface area of 628 acres with a maximum depth of 32 feet.
The association includes 93 properties and monitors lake level. In June, landowners will be receiving educational materials about shoreline restoration and other ways to prevent run-off and high phosphorus levels in the lake.
The association’s officers are Linda Thompson, president; Jerry LeVoi, vice president; Nancy Iverson, secretary; Jan Grossman, treasurer; and Dave Thompson as Meeker County Area Lakes representative; all of Dassel.
Lake Jennie Improvement Corporation
Lake Jennie, located south of Dassel off of County Road 18, has a surface area of 1,056 acres with a maximum depth of 15 feet. The corporation represents 100 properties and is working to form a lake improvement district for water quality and lake improvement projects as well as monitoring lake level and rainfall.
Its officers are Pete Kerber of Victoria, Mike Wendolek, and Mike Kotila, both of Dassel.
Manuella Lake Association
Lake Manuella is located southwest of Darwin on County Road 9. It has a surface area of 286 acres with a maximum depth of 51 feet.
The association monitors clarity and water temperature, transparency, water level, rainfall, and Sucker Creek temperature. The association also has a neighborhood crime watch and a web page link at www.mnlakes.org.
Bob Schwingler of Darwin is the primary contact. Officers are Larry Graf of Darwin, president; Sandy Lennes of Litchfield, secretary; Loren Jilek of Lester Prairie, treasurer; and Steve Stai and Schwingler, county lake association representatives, both of Darwin.