Vigilante justice is what a Beaver Lake board member is calling the dismantling of a fish habitat. Why is it so controversial?
“This is the highest recreational use cove on the lake,” said resident John Krehmke. The thaw would have sunk a fish habitat that some cove residents feared might hook a tragedy. "Someone could dive off a boat and hit their head on something or get trapped underwater.”
Two juniper tree stumps were tied down by 28 concrete blocks that a Beaver Lake board member said would sink so the top was safely at least 12 feet below the surface. “This structure will be 12-feet deep, I mean that's number one in our mind is looking at safety,” said lake board member Russ Parmer. “We wouldn't put any structure in the lake that's too shallow.” Parmer said that it was safely deep enough even when the lake is down.
The pontoons are docked and this is a desolate place now unless you’re an ice fisherman, but neighbors say in the summertime it earns the reputation of a party cove. That's when fun seekers often dive in to cool off and this summer the fish habitat would have been in the dark green water beneath them. “I worry, I got grandkids out there that dive in that lake,” said resident Dave Farris.
After Fact Finders began investigating the issue, someone from the Beaver Lake area went onto the frozen cove this weekend to cut down and remove most of the fish habitat structure. It’s not any of the concerned residents we spoke with.
Parmer called it vigilante justice, but not worth a call to the sheriff. Still, concern persists that sunken fish habitat structures could make this “search party cove.”
There is already a sunken habitat in the cove and a dozen more around Beaver Lake. Parmer said all are safely deep enough and mapped out on the community website. Still, some people who live in the area tell Fact Finders the board should have done more to notify them.