Really, all you have to do is look.
The Feb. 22 counterpoint by Jim Fuller (“Tourists on Lake Minnetonka? Surely you jest”) was long on opinion and devoid of facts, other than that he parked illegally and got a ticket.
Mr. Fuller and his guest could have gone to Gray’s Bay Causeway, Gray’s Bay Marina, Libb’s Lake Beach or Minnehaha Creek Headwaters in Minnetonka, all with public parking with no fee.
Or they could have gone to Lake Street in downtown Wayzata, parked for free and picnicked at the Wayzata Depot or Wayzata Beach.
Or they could have parked at Deephaven City Hall, walked on the trail maintained by Three Rivers Park District for about 400 paces, and fished or picnicked at several sites maintained by the city of Deephaven.
If they were lucky enough to have a boat, they could have used the public boat launch maintained and paid for by Deephaven taxpayers. All for free.
Or they could have gone a bit farther west to Excelsior and parked for free in one of two municipal lots paid for by Excelsior taxpayers. There, they could have walked a block to the Excelsior Commons Park.
If they wanted to walk only 100 paces, they could have parked at one of the dozens of public spots, next to the lake, with a parking meter. There, they could have fished, picnicked or watched the sun set over Excelsior Bay to their hearts’s content … for free.
Or they could have gone to the Three Rivers Park District’s Lake Minnetonka Regional Park. Or the district’s Gale Woods Park. All for free.
Who, I ask, is subsidizing whom?
The facts are clear. In a brief space, I have listed 10 no-cost, no-permit options available to anyone visiting Lake Minnetonka. I could go on and on. The funding is varied — some local, some regional, some state and probably some federal — and in some cases it is combined.
Just as when I travel to Duluth’s Canal Park or Minneapolis’ Lake Calhoun, visitors to Lake Minnetonka can spend as little or as much as they want. We are the beneficiaries of a mix of taxpayer dollars, paying for a public good, without regard to creed, color, net worth, politics or residence. Whether for a picnic in a park or an expensive dinner across the street from one in Wabasha, Walker or Wayzata, one of the truly great aspects of open spaces, parks, trails and waterways is that all are welcome.
Mr. Fuller and his guest should come back. They would be welcomed with open arms. They should, however, obey the parking regulations. If they do so, they will have a better and more cost-effective visit.
Craig Shaver, of Deephaven, is a former member of the Minnesota House representing Minnetonka, Plymouth and Wayzata.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.