ALBERT LEA, Minn. – The Fourth of July weekend is usually one of the biggest weekends of the year for lake activities, but record high water levels in Minnesota may have left some waterways more spacious than usual.
As for Fountain Lake in Albert Lea, it was a typical Independence Day weekend, but others might disagree.
“It was probably an average Fourth of July as far as traffic is concerned. You know, we had a good turnout of boats and things like that even though we had high water leading up to it,” says Matt Levorson with the Water Patrol Department with the Freeborn Co. Sheriff’s Office.
Those like Albert Lea resident Kari Brach, who were on the lake, might disagree.
“Well we went out, we got out there early, about noon, and there wasn’t that many people. I’d say there’s more people out today (Sunday),” says Brach.
Officials say, if they weren’t able to lift their wake restriction due to high water, there would have been even fewer folks on the lake.
“You know watching the lake level through the Fourth of July here, we did lift it at one time the water levels were at a level that we could do that. If we weren’t feeling that it was adequate, we wouldn’t have done that, and it really would have been a hindrance on people being out and being able to be in their boats this weekend,” says Levorson.
And let’s face it, the lake is much more fun when you’re not worried about making some waves.
“It definitely does make things more fun for everybody involved. I mean, being able to enjoy the lakes in this town is definitely one of our assets, and we are definitely happy that the water did recede in time that we were able to do that,” says Levorson.
As an asset to the community, like many lake towns, it can have an effect on the local economy. For those who look forward to this holiday traffic in particular.
“We have a lot of people that come from Iowa, Austin, the surrounding area that come to Albert Lea to be on the lake, specifically for the fireworks because we do shoot them off over the lake. It’s something that we take pride in being able to do for our town and have a good turnout. Everybody gathers around the lake as well, to watch the Fourth of July fireworks, so it’s kind of a big attraction for our city,” says Levorson.
Brach agrees, she started to see the lake become less spacious as the sun went down.
“Then around 9 or 10 it picked up, but it wasn’t as many as I thought it would be,” says Brach.
She was surprised by the lack of traffic because she says it was the perfect weather for the Fourth of July weekend.
Officials told us more good news, it was a safe holiday weekend out on the lake, as no injuries were reported.