New Park City-based nonprofit wants to Protect Our Lakes
Organization raising awareness through service and education
Protect Our Lakes is the name and goal of Park City resident Jenny Pelt’s newly established nonprofit.
“Our mission, in short, is to bring awareness and attention to the importance of protecting our lakes, reservoirs and waterways through service and education,” said Pelt, the nonprofit’s president.
According to Pelt, service includes mostly annual cleanup events, such as the one that took place May 7 at Jordanelle Reservoir.
“Cleanups are important, especially with the low water levels,” she said. “We roam the shorelines, and we find a lot of weird and random stuff — towels, shoes, sunglasses, socks, even batteries. In the past, I don’t think we really thought about our future as much as we do now, so people would just toss things out.”
In addition to these items, volunteers also came across bottles, cans and debris from the 1950s and ‘60s and some ancient artifacts, Pelt said.
“Somebody found an arrowhead, which was incredibly cool,” she said.
Pelt, whose family spends most of the summer on a houseboat, would like to schedule cleanups more often than just once a year.
“It would be nice to do one at the beginning and the end of the summer,” she said. “And even those people who are out boating throughout the year can make it a habit to take 30 minutes to go ashore and look for litter.”
The education aspect of Protect Our Lakes, right now, is just getting the word out through social media and its website, protectourlakelife.org, according to Pelt.
The public can sign up for a newsletter and make donations, she said.
All donations are tax-deductible and allow Protect Our Lakes to continue its preservation work, which starts with the Jordanelle Reservoir, Pelt said.
“There are cameras around the park that provide live streams on the Jordanelle website,” she said. “Protect Our Lakes purchased those cameras, and we pay for the online live stream service.”
In addition, the nonprofit has installed dog-waste stations, complete with plastic bags that pet owners can use for clean up, Pelt said.
“We have put up signage around the park to remind people to leave the park in better shape than they found it,” she said.
Pelt, her husband Chris, the organization’s vice president, and two daughters, Kaitlyn, 14, and Brylee, 12, first got involved with Protect Our Lakes as volunteers.
The organization was founded by Parkite Randy Casper, whom the Pelts got to know over the past four years, Pelt said.
“He founded Protect Our Lakes, but didn’t make it into an official non profit until early last year,” she said. “Until then, he had been feeding it himself, and we just volunteered.”
Once Casper got the ball rolling as a nonprofit, he contacted the Pelts to see if they would be interested in taking the helm.
Not only were the Pelts honored he would ask them, they were also thrilled.
“We have always been service-oriented and have always thought about how we could give back to this world that has given us so much,” Pelt said. “So I won’t ever forget the excitement on our kids’ faces when we told them that Randy reached out to us. They were excited for it, and they are 100% in.”
Although the Pelts have always known the importance of taking care of Utah’s lakes, taking on this new adventure has injected them with a stronger sense of urgency.
“We want to bring attention to conserving water,” she said. “We want to help people think of little things they can do — like taking shorter showers or not watering their lawns five days a week. If we don’t act and protect our lakes now, they will disappear.”
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