Every summer from long ago, a team launches early on July 4th morning to count Clark Lake’s boats.  The purpose? To take a census specific to this lake.  Early on, it detected the explosive growth of a kind of craft that originated right here.  Rafts caught on at Clark Lake.  The first few were homemade affairs, but as their popularity grew, manufacturers got into the act.  Now rafts, or pontoon boats as they are known elsewhere, can be found all over the world.  This is one of Clark Lake’s legacy and contributions to mankind. 

Why is the boat count held on July 4th?  Because if a boat is going to be in the water for the summer, it’s likely moored at a dock by then.  And why does it start at 6 am?  Once past the early morning hours, boats take to the lake making the count more difficult.

Another kind of count takes place each year.  This one does not have the same history as the boat count, for reasons that will be come obvious.  This census reaches back only seven years.  How did it come about?  Countless items are lost overboard during any given summer.  Divers will tell you not only do they find boats on the lake bottom, but lawn chairs, sun glasses, and even a jet ski or two.  Usually losing an item is painful to its owner.  But this one is at the top of the chart.  A missing cell phone is not only an inconvenience, but it’s an expensive loss.  So, understanding this problem, a small cadre gathers each August 15th to scour the bottom of the lake for the cell phone count.  Equipped with scuba tanks, googles, and metal detectors, they cover the lake bottom in grid-like fashion.  Using submergible communicators, divers notify the command raft personnel of each find.   Here are the results of the underwater cell phone count over the last seven years.

You might ask, is there an attempt to return them to their owners?  No, that’s not possible.  Even if the phone is waterproof and the electronics intact, there are reclamation regulations that prevent it.  To avoid legal exposure, once a cell phone is found, the team carefully returns it to its eternal resting place. Has the team ever found a working cellphone?  Yes, it’s not common, but it does occur.  Only in the deepest parts of the lake will a phone continue to function after going to the bottom.  The high pressure found in the depths acts as a preservative, diminishing the effects of water-induced deterioration.  In the latest count, the diving team found an iPhone 11, still in working order.  Below is a voicemail message played back on the phone:

To be continued April 1, 2022.