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June is when it falls into place in Minnesota

Have you ever noticed the pieces seem to fall into place in June?

Minnesotans spend so much time dealing with the elements and the other trials of life they let June sneak up on them. Those cold winter months are gone and the ugliness of early spring is just a memory. The bare trees have green leaves in June, the lakes are blue and there are flowers and crops to behold. A person wants to get outside and just live.

A few summers ago I wrote a feature about a retired couple living on Stalker Lake in Otter Tail County. They owned a nice home with an enormous deck. It was a beautiful summer afternoon, and during the time I was there, some neighbor kids came to visit them with smiles on their faces.

Not long after my story about this idyllic lake place appeared in print, a reader contacted me. He did not have a beef with the facts of the story but rather that secret I was sharing with our readers - that Heaven is a place in Minnesota. If this is a secret it sure has not been kept very well.

Four years ago Minnesotans voted in the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that raised the sales tax on items a whopping three-eighth of one percent. America was falling into the Great Recession, we were looking at a "Hobo Nation" and yet Minnesotans were voting for a tax increase. It did not compute.

What those who did not support amendment failed to take into account was that a lot of us love our state and we worry about little things like clean water, clean air and wildlife. When you are handed a jewel, you do not run over and drop it in the garbage disposal.

The amendment is still in its infancy, but many millions have already been directed at efforts to clean up, enhance and protect what Minnesota is all about - a place of natural beauties. One third of the money goes into the clean water fund and another third goes into the outdoor heritage fund. Arts and cultural heritage receive 19.75 percent of the funding while parks and trails are assigned 14.25 percent. The funding will keep coming until 2034 when voters will decide if they wish to renew their commitment.

Perhaps of all the funds, the one most critical to the future of Minnesota is clean water. The Land of 10,000 Lakes might be just a brag on the Minnesota license plate to some folks, but if you live in Minnesota, you can can expect to be judged by future generations on how the precious resource is kept.

My wife and I hit a popular fishing lake in Otter Tail County the first Tuesday evening in June for some fishing. There was very little wind, and the setting sun splashed itself on the blue lake and green hills around us. I have seen times when this lake has been so cloudy that you cannot see the bottom in three feet of water. But on that Tuesday evening, I saw bottom in eight feet of water.

There is another lake just over the hill that I spend a lot of time on because we have property on it. Back in the day when one of our neighbors let his cattle yard wash into the lake and another one planted crops down to the edge of the water, the lake was so dirty that you could not see down a foot. Times have changed. The cow yard is gone and the big field has been put into the Conservation Reserve Progran (CRP). As June began this year, I saw a Secchi disk on very bottom of the lake - 16 feet down.

This all helps to illustrate a point about our resources - take care of them and you can see some pretty impressive results - especially in the beautiful month of June.