Ski club jumps in to clean up illegal dumping site at Carter Lake Park

A growing eyesore near Carter Lake prompted a sorely-needed cleanup effort.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 1:45 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CARTER LAKE, Iowa (WOWT) - A growing eyesore next to a popular lake prompted a much-needed cleanup after members of a private club didn’t want to wait any longer for the city to tackle the illegal dumping issue there.

On the southwest shore of Carter Lake, illegal dumping made waves the Silver Hawks Ski Team couldn’t jump.

“We usually don’t have to get the big equipment out,” club member Aaron Grell said. “We usually just got wheelbarrow and rakes; but today when we drove in, we couldn’t even get in the road. So, we had to use extreme measures, I guess.”

The entrance to the ski club property had to be cleared of debris illegally dumped over the winter and early spring.

“It’s starting to turn into a dump, and nobody is picking it up,” club member Megan Prokupek said. “Every year, we come here; and each day, there’s just more and more trash.”

The road to the ski club cuts through Omaha city parkland, which is also blotted with piles of illegally dumped junk and remodeling tear-out material.

“It’s not going away. It’s just getting bigger, getting worse,” Grell said.

Rather than rely on the city to clean up public property, several dozen club members spent hours loading loads of remodeling debris onto a construction trailer.

“It’s gotten worse. So evidently if there’s enough trash around, it looks like it’s OK to dump trash,” said Tim Christensen, president of the ski club. “We want to make it look better so people will at least hesitate.”

It’s a message the ski club hopes might work better than the “No Dumping” sign, which warns about a fine. That sign has been ignored.

“If nobody does anything, then nothing will get done. The city can only do so much,” Christensen said.

A toilet illustrates that parkland is no place to dump debris.

“We are willing to work on it as long as the city can come down and help pick it up,” Prokupek said.

A city parks crew has done so, leaving a more appealing place to spend some time on the shore of Carter Lake.

There’s a stripped and abandoned boat that’s now farther down the western shore of Carter Lake that isn’t part of the ski club cleanup; but it illustrates just how big the problem of illegal dumping has become.

The discarded boat sat for a few weeks just off Lake Shore Drive on land that’s also Omaha city property. Maybe the registration decal or serial number can lead to a suspect who can be docked a fine. The city has also removed that hull of an eyesore.

T Silver Hawks Ski Club located on the Iowa side of the lake has about 50 families who are members. They’ll continue to watch illegal dumping and clean up what they can near their property — and Omaha parkland.