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Food, fun and info at Long Lake

As a way to both celebrate and continue the recent cleanup of a local lake, the group of residents that launched the project will hold its second annual Long Lake Daze in two weeks.

Members of CILL — Citizens for Improving Long Lake — said the festival Aug. 4 is part fun and part education, since a requirement for using the grant money the group received to treat the lake is that they also educate the public.

“There are 230 people who live around the lake,” said Mickey Nickel, a CILL member and Long Lake resident. “We will be talking about ways to keep the lake clean, and hopefully this will grow into something that will fund and sustain ongoing treatment.”

Nickel said the most important piece will be letting people know that the treatment was not “one-time,” but the lake will continue to require algae treatment.

After years of trying to find a way to rid the lake of the invasive plants and the bacteria they kept creating, resident Ken Spohn and others formed CILL and convinced the late Sen. Bob Oke to join their efforts.

With a few more years of research and discussions, and a $750,000 grant distributed through the state Department of Ecology and the Centennial Clean Water Fund, CILL and the company Tetra Tech launched a two-year plan costing $780,000.

Spohn said his group also created a 10-year management plan, and that after the treatments started the group work on keeping the lake in good health.

In April, barges distributed the second scheduled treatment, and so far, residents say the effort has been a success.

“An indication of how its working is that last year, if you saw a boat going across the lake, its wake would be green,” fellow resident and CILL member Lori Barth said. “But this year, we have white wakes.”

Of course, she said there are some drawbacks to having the water cleaner.

“Some of the residents are joking that now they can see all the garbage that’s on the bottom of the lake, so they’re asking Ken if he can clean that up,” Barth joked, explaining that she and her husband have found some interesting items, including a golf club.

Overall, though, Barth said CILL and everyone else who uses the lake on a regular basis is happy with the changes, and the festival Aug. 4 will be a celebration.

“We will have a bouncy house, food and vendors,” she said, explaining that organizers are holding a drawing for prizes, as well.

“Last year, I think it was a barbecue and a patio furniture set,” she said, adding that Sen. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) is scheduled to be there at 2:30 p.m. to announce the winner.

Speaking on Wednesday, Barth said she was still uncertain about how much the event will cost attendees, but was mulling the idea of having a $2 charge that will include all the food items and booths.

Inside the community center, Barth said there will be information on the clean-up efforts and how everyone can do their part to help the lake.

“Because its not just affected by those of us that live around it,” she said. “There are several streams that feed into it, so anyone who lives near one of those should be aware, too.”

Barth said there are still spots available for vendors, and anyone interested can call her at 871-5359, or Roger Hoskins at 871-4374.

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