Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If You See Lake Delton, Send It Home

Anyone who grew up in the Chicago area knows the Wisconsin Dells. For generations, it has been the prime vacation destination for families with young children.

No Dells vacation was complete without a visit to the Tommy Bartlett water show, with the perky water skiers doing acrobat tricks as they glide atop Lake Delton. Resorts perched at the edge of the lake catered to the weary city dwellers, providing an abundance of clean air and a close-up view of fresh, calming water.

With the recent storms, Lake Delton began to rise, until it rose so high that it overflowed its banks. The surge made its way into the Wisconsin River, and once the flow began, the force of the running water did the rest. Lake Delton overflowed and it just kept going, cutting a channel that connected it to the river.

Lake Delton has run away. At the start of the summer tourist season, Tommy Bartlett's shows have no water on which to perform. Fishermen have no lake in which to cast their lines.

Worst of all, tourists have no lake to sit next to as they relax. Lake Delton ran off to be with the Wisconsin River, to be free and unconfined. All that's left is a mud flat bottom and a sprinkling of dead fish.

If anyone happens to spot Lake Delton, the Wisconsin Dells would like it to know that all is forgiven and please come home. In the meantime, engineers will be called in to figure out how to get the lake back. After all, if a bunch of Victorian-era engineers could reverse the flow of the Chicago River, surely in these modern times they could get the Wisconsin River to send Lake Delton back home.

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