Vern Vangsness used to be a farmer. He can tell you about the corn, the alfalfa, beets, and all the stuff he used to grow. He says all farmers used to work like that, but when the demand for corn went up, the diversity of the crops went down. Farmers wouldn’t rotate their crops like they used to or even let the land “rest” a season or so. Farmers made enough money from corn to refuse even the “free” money they got from the government to grow nothing.
So Vern sold out and bought a resort down by Osakis. Vern swears that as big as that lake is, in 20 years, it’ll be full of the run-off from the local farmers down there. That’s why Vern is a stern supporter of the Legacy Amendment funds. He’s happy to talk about that too. About how the lake’s got to be clean to keep his guests coming back. Vern was just one of the many folks who talked to us at the Alexandria-Glenwood Legacy Destination Weekend over Valentine’s Day weekend. With not much fish to catch (ok, none, if you read the press reports), outdoorsmen and women were more than happy to talk about what’s important to them. Without exception, they said preserving the Legacy funding was paramount to being a Minnesotan. After all, they said, if we can’t preserve what makes this state so great, then we ‘re not really saving the state at all, budget fix or no.
Whether we visited the lakes, the trails, the theaters, or the museums, the story was the same. Minnesota is a great place and deserves protecting. Especially after this past week of cold and snow. Without our natural resources and cultural assets, we’re missing the answer to that question we all get from far-away friends or from Facebook: “why do you live in Minnesota again?”
To see what Vern and others said about Legacy funds or to submit your own video, go to YouTube.com/ConservationMinn.
We’re collecting video postcards from Minnesotans all over to send to the Capitol about preserving Legacy funding.
And look for stories about Legacy Destination communities on “Finding Minnesota” on WCCO-TV and posters detailing all the weekends at Travelers Information Centers across the state. For convenience, there’s also a website with pictures and links at exploreminnesota.com/legacy