Shoreline treks become mission to keep Clear Lake healthy

by Marianne Gasaway

Dave Holstad says he has always enjoyed exploring the outdoors, first as a North Iowa farm boy, then later as a 35-year member of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Bureau.  Even in retirement, he still makes it a point to get out with his dog and walk.  

His walks are a workout — but not always in a good way.  

“When I moved here in 2011, I would take my dogs for a swim in the lake and I would see all the trash along the shoreline.  One day I thought, ‘this is getting ridiculous,’ and I started picking it up as I went along,” Holstad explained.  “The last nine years I have been walking a section of shoreline three-quarters of a mile long on the south side of Clear Lake, starting at the access on Cedar Avenue to Lone Tree Point.  During that time I have been picking up trash that has floated to the shoreline and carrying it out to dispose of properly.”

In 2018 Holstad kept what he had collected in mesh bags so that he could journal what he had found.  He snapped a photo of what he found during six walks that year, from June 16 to Aug. 25.  Common items found were 120 beer cans and bottles, 13 soda cans, six styrofoam cups, six plastic drink cups, 33 water bottles, 15 sport drink bottles, one diaper, 12 liquor bottles, two energy drinks, one snowmobile boot, one trash can lid, one disposable hypodermic needle, straws, many grocery sacks and other various items.

“It’s not an easy walk.  I carry out several pounds of waste each time I walk and I often have to crawl over trees, rocks and tangled fishing line, said Holstad, adding that he wears hip waders to access some discarded items.  His dog, Halle, is a partner in his mission.  Trash spotted floating out of his range is pointed out to Halle with the toss of a pebble in the general direction.  She catches sight of the item and re-

To read more of this article, please login or sign up for our E-Edition

Comments are closed.