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Letter: Star Lake Casino a bad idea; don't drink the tribal Kool-Aid

Originally published in the Detroit Lakes Tribune, a Forum Communications Co. newspaper.

You'd never realize from that Detroit Lakes Tribune's promotional piece about the Star Lake Casino that the South Arm of Star Lake is a big slough. A swamp. A wetland. A marsh.

Sorry, all you developers who were meant to get all excited, there's no magic wand that will turn mud bottoms with cattails and lily pads into sugar sand. The South Arm's water is so dense with aquatic vegetation, you can't get a motor boat in there in mid summer without choking your motor.

If you did, you'd be disturbing the deer flies and mosquitos and disturbing the habitat of shore land birds.

There's no free lunch, no fairy godmothers, and no lots left worth having in lake country that aren't valued by the foot. What we do have in Otter Tail County are laws and rules and conditions and a moral imperative that applies to wetlands. We now know that's what keeps our lakes clean.

In midsummer the lake where my parents owned a cabin near Detroit Lakes turns an ugly pea green. Burying carcasses of dead fish entwined in a scrum of lake weeds is a daily chore. After 50 years of efforts to fix the problems — from overuse, failed incentives, and lax enforcement—many of the developed lakes in the Detroit Lakes area suffer from a suffocating eutrophication.

The pressure of development is relentless. It's death by a thousand cuts.

On Star Lake, we are determined to buck that trend. We want our children to know the awe of seeing eagles, and looking out at the stars, bright as our grandparents once did, to experience thrill of an osprey swooping down to snatch a fish, and the quiet of fisherman trolling our waters.

But apparently, the Shooting Star spends a lot of advertising dollars in Becker County.

To White Earth tribal members, water is sacred. The hang-around-the fort executives from the Shooting Star hope to convince you and Otter Tail County, which doesn't gain any tax revenue from this venture, that buying up swamp land in this remote area is viable.

The DL Tribune article failed to mention that emergency services are over half an hour away, and there's no police, or fire department in that area.

We welcome hunters and fisherman, birders and kayakers, people who will help protect our lake. But if you've drunk the Shooting Star's Kool-Aid, please, I've got a chunk of the Everglades to sell you.

—Deb Wallwork, Dent, MN