When sophomore dance major Laura Nasca came to UB two years ago, she gazed across Lake LaSalle and thought, “We should be able to paddle out there.” At the time, the 60-acre North Campus lake was off-limits to recreation.
Nasca’s wish was granted last summer, when the university began renting out canoes and kayaks on Lake LaSalle; a public boat launch was installed in the fall. Russ Crispell, UB’s director of outdoor pursuits, hopes access will encourage students to develop greater appreciation. “It’s a recreational lake now. We need to take ownership of it,” he says.
Dozens of students stepped up at a recent lake cleanup, held in April for Earth Week. Some went out on canoes and skimmed the water’s edge for debris, while others stayed on shore and picked up trash that had collected on land.
They had their work cut out for them; among the more outrageous finds in the water were an old satellite dish, several orange construction cones and a metal chair. So far, Lake LaSalle’s natural inhabitants seem to be taking the debris in stride. “Loons are showing up here. I’ve seen turtles and blue herons. The place is loaded with fish,” Crispell says while paddling around one of the lake’s two islands, where wild strawberries, grapes and red dogwood grow.
The lake will remain open to all from sunrise to sunset during boating season. “It’s so relaxing to go out on the water,” says Nasca, who clearly appreciates her new view—across the bow.