There was a bit of hesitancy when Bill Yadish and Emilee Cuoso were asked about the parks and lakes in Victoria.
The two, walking on a recent Monday along Victoria Street, said they were relatively new to the area.
“Lakes and Parks? Yes, that’s one reason we kinda moved to this area, to get out and use parks and trails and things like that,” Yadish said. “I’m not sure we know where they are though.”
To the rescue, David Timbausch.
“I know why the city has ‘City of Lakes & Parks’ as its logo,” Timbausch said. “I can tell you where they are; I think.”
When asked to name and locate the 12 lakes or the 34 park areas, Timbausch became slightly more reluctant about his claim.
“Really? Twelve lakes? Thirty-four parks?”
Yes, according to city Parks and Recreation Director Ann Mahnke, that’s what Victoria has. Some of the parks are natural land with few amenities.
“I’ll never get that many,” Timbausch said, listing lakes Stieger, Church, Minnetonka, Auburn and Wasserman before running out of steam. “Really; seven more?”
Sure. There’s Virginia, Schutz, Zumbra, Tamarack, Stone, Kelzer and Carl Krey.
OK, now let’s list off the parks. Can you tell me where Swiss Mountain Park is?
“No. In the Alps?” Timbausch mused. “I have a little more work to do to know this city better.”
“I was amazed when I did the counting of the lakes in the city,” Mahnke admitted. “There will be more as the city boundaries expand.”
There may be some question about whether a body of water is a lake or a pond, but that controversy extends way past the Victoria city limits.
Take for instance Minnesota’s boast of being the land of 10,000 lakes. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says the Badger state has more than 15,000 lakes, but thousands of those lakes are under an acre in size.
Minnesota says a lake must cover at least 10 acres. Using that standard, Minnesota has 11,842 lakes and Wisconsin has 11,981, according to the Wisconsin DNR.
And all those numbers pale in comparison to Alaska, which has more than 3 million lakes. Who knows how they define a lake? Add to it, West Virginia and Maryland reportedly have no natural lakes.
And, if you want to get into a discussion about city lake mottos, there is Minneapolis, the city of lakes; and White Bear Lake, the city of lakes and legends. Minneapolis has 13 lakes that fit the bill, while the legend for White Bear Lake has to do, in part, with a Sioux maiden and Chippewa brave and the death of a white bear.
Back to Victoria.
“The key is we have a lot of recreation area in and around Victoria,” Mahnke said. “Some of our parks are developed and some are not. Some may just be a big wooded area with trails.”
Parks, lakes and playgrounds are routinely named after honored citizens, land owners, organizations, animals, terrain, trees or somebody’s favorite relative.
“The important thing, even with this virus going around, is for people to get out and enjoy what the outdoors offers,” Mahnke said, adding that city parks are open but facilities are closed.
“With all the parks and open spaces we have, we are encouraging people to use the parks and trails closest to them while being considerate and respectful of social distancing,” she said.
That’s what Yadish and Cuoso say they plan to do, adding that they will check the city’s website for locations.