A View of the Lake

This article submitted by Linda Lorentzen on 6/23/98.

In researching the history of Lake Koronis one common theme appears to surface again and again. Various clubs and organizations have been established for protection of particular interests. For example, in the early 1920s many people became concerned that commercial fishing on Lake Koronis and Rice Lake would permanently diminish the fish populations in these lakes. Out of this concern a specific organization was formed.

On April 3, 1922, several people gathered at Jackís Theater in Paynesville. State Game and Fish Commissioner Avery was the featured speaker and he outlined the state game department work on increasing game fish and education of the value of wild game and fish to the people of Minnesota. His lecture and three reels of pictures on wild life and fish and game propagation laid the foundation for the establishment of a local protective association. An article in The Paynesville Press recorded, ďMr. Avery made a very good impression on his audience and he appeared to be a man of keen intellect. His talk showed that he was in perfect harmony with his work of making our game and fish one of the big resources of this state, as well as a great recreative field.Ē

Members of the new protective club settled on the name, ďBadger ClubĒ and instituted dues of 50 cents per year. The officers elected included: E.O. Phipps, president; E.A. Schmitt, vice president; F. Schroeder, secretary; and Peter S. Fishbach, treasurer. The following is part of the objective of the organization: ďWe, the undersigned, agree to associate ourselves together for the purpose of advancing the cause of good sportsmanship...to prevent the threatened extinction of game birds and animals and do whatever we can to bring about an increase of game, fish and other wild life wherever possible...will exercise our legal privilege in moderation, and discourage the Ďgame and fish hogí spirit.Ē

Interestingly after selecting the name of the club, the first order of business was to organize a crow hunt. The hunt took place from April 30 to May 31, 1922; all who registered were divided into two teams. E.O. Phipps and Dick Guptill were the captains of the two teams. The winning side would be served a banquet at Lake Koronis on June 4th by the losing side. ďCrows will count 100 points, gophers (all kinds) and rats, 25 points each. The feet of the crows and the tails of the gophers and rats will be kept as evidence of the points.Ē Evidently crows, gophers, and rats were considered outside of threatened wild life.

The organization did pass a resolution requesting that all commercial fishing be prohibited in the townships of Paynesville, Eden Lake, and Union Grove. Later in that summer, the organization changed their tactic to change commercial fishing regulations to allow the taking of certain kinds of rough fish such as suckers and bullheads.

Over one hundred and fifty men attended the banquet at Lake Koronis given by the Badger Club. ďThe big dinner began promptly at one oíclock when the crowd began to arrive, and it lasted until everyone was generously treated to the sumptuous repast that was set before them. There was plenty to eat...The principle item on the menu was fried fish. The fish had been freshly caught that morning by members of the club and they were so well served at the banquet that even the most fastidious were well pleased.Ē

Blending fun with business appears to be the most successful way of reaching goals in an organization. The Badger Club was no exception and through sport and food raised the awareness of the community to the importance of preserving wild life and game for future sport as part of the view from the lake.

Information for this column was taken from the following issues of The Paynesville Press: March 30, 1922; April 6, 1922; April 20, 1922; April 27, 1922; June 8, 1922.

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