As Mainers, we pride ourselves on our trees, mountains, beaches and lakes. Whenever we have a spare couple of hours, a day or a weekend, we try to enjoy what we have – but we don’t take a good look.

A few years ago I used to go up to “The County.” While there in the summer, I used to go to Aroostook State Park and swim in Echo Lake.

Imagine my horror when I went to swim and discovered the state had put up black plastic, about waist high, along the length of the beach. When I ventured through one of the small openings into the water, I discovered the water was filled with green algae so thick and green it was like soup.

A few years later, I took my grandson to Kennebunk Pond to paddle around in my inflatable boat. This was a pond widely used by locals. I used to take a group from a boys camp there to swim.

That is no longer possible. One look at the beach showed that the locals no longer used it. Closer inspection showed why – it was just plain ugly, with the same disgusting mess I’d seen at the other end of the state. The camps on the lake must be unsellable.

Perhaps the algae infestation is not as noticeable in bigger lakes like Sebago, Rangeley and Moosehead, but you can be sure it’s there.

If we want people to come here, we can’t tell them to stay out of the water. We must do whatever is necessary to clean our lakes and rivers.

I took my great-granddaughter swimming last week. Will I be able to do the same next year?

Wake up, Mainers! Ohio is not the only state with problems.

Janice Robinson

Westbrook