The Ups & Downs of Lake Freeman

Historically, Lake Shafer had more tourism-related businesses while Lake Freeman thrived on being more residential. Freeman homeowners on the White County side can enjoy dinner by docking at The Historic Sportsman restaurant, follow the Madam Carroll down the lake as a boat parade, fuel up at Susan’s Freeman Bay, or play beach volleyball at the sandbar. Lake Freeman is FUN, when it has water.

As if the pandemic of 2020 wasn’t stressful enough on our local businesses and livelihood, we also faced another major challenge when the water levels on Lake Freeman were dropping. Dangerously low lake levels were the result of outdated measurements of dam flow output and a documented drought. On August 3rd, the flood gate was stuck open for 45 minutes and the lake dropped 3-4 inches. The progressive decline extended into September and October.

The timing of this travesty was unfortunate for the travel and tourism industry. On October 3rd, lake residents, business owners, and politicians gathered at the Courthouse square for a Save Our Lakes rally. The Indiana Destination Development Corporation was also conveniently hosting a Top 20 IN 20 competition where Indiana residents throughout the state could vote on their favorite destinations in categories. One of the categories was lakes… and guess what? Both Lake Shafer and Lake Freeman were eligible for the recognition. But who votes for a dried-up lake?

Fast forward beyond the damaged seawalls, dried-up residential wells, boat damage, boats stuck on lifts, and the endless ingenuity from our partners across the lake at the Madam Carroll and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! The 12+ inches of snow that inconveniently closed schools and offices has melted – throw a subtle fist pump or air hug to mother nature.

Now, let’s gear up for a spring, summer, and fall to make up for 2020 and make 2021 one for the memory books. Our lakes are our livelihood!