My name is Steven Danielson, and I have lived within a block of the Little Hope mill pond for over 66 years.
My wife Carolyn and I purchased a home and have lived on the shores of the pond since 1991.
Now, because of the dam removal, many recreational activities are gone.
Fishing is no more. My grandchildren could catch northern pike and bass off our dock.
Fish have all but disappeared, except for minnows.
People used to fish with small motorboats, use 12 and 14-foot row boats, and several people had paddle boats, including us.
Now, because of the depth, kayaks are the only boats that can navigate the water.
Before the dam removal, we could sit outside at night and listen to hundreds of bullfrogs croaking.
In our backyard, we have a 100-gallon pond that always had six to eight bullfrogs in it.
But because of the dam removal in October 2012, the frogs and painted turtles, which had hibernated by that time, all froze to death in the now exposed muck and mud.
In the paper this spring, the DNR wanted volunteers for frog counts on certain bodies of water; well, the frog count for the Little Hope mill pond is now zero.
Also, the beauty of the four seasons on the mill pond is also gone.
All that’s left is a little mucky creek with invasive weeds, such as purple loosestrife, on both sides.
There are three residents that live on the used to be mill pond that agree with the dam removal.
One family said it’s good because it cleared up allergies.
But now with the exposed muck, there is the danger of Blastomycosis.
Two dogs on the pond contracted it since the dam removal, and our Golden Retriever had a fungal and bacterial infection, which $600 later was successfully treated by our veterinarian.
Another family that agrees with the dam removal hasn’t lived in their residence since the removal. They now rent out the home.
The other family’s home has always been on the shallow weedy side of the pond, but now it’s worse.
Above and below the mill pond, the river is known as the Crystal River. It has always been an excellent trout stream and a beautiful river for tubing and canoeing.
Now, below the dam, the river is full of tons and tons of muck that has washed downstream. Reason being because the dam’s planking system was removed too fast.
Common sense wasn’t used in its removal.
All the families, including us that live on the once mill pond, purchased our homes because of the beauty and different water activities to be enjoyed on the pond.
It’s now all gone, and we have been told by a well-known Realtor the property values of our homes have gone down 25 percent or more.
We loved our mill pond, and we hope to get it back.
Steve and Carolyn Danielson