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Duane Henrikson, center, was honored for his many years as Cormorant Lakes Watershed District administrator. Those helping honor him include other watershed members and associates, from left, Erik Jones, Jeff Moritz, Sheldon Struble, Gene Olson, Ellis Peterson and Woody Olson.

Henrikson honored for years of service to Cormorant Watershed District

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Duane Henrikson, a longtime advocate for local lakes and administrator of the Cormorant Lakes Watershed District, has recently retired, leaving an enduring influence on the organization.

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Henrikson became involved with the CLWD around three decades ago, while running the JoyLand Resort.

“I was in the resort business down there at Big Cormorant Lake, and we had some problems,” he said of high water levels. “So I became involved in getting that (the water level) back down and taken care of. So that’s where it started, and I just kept on there year after year.” “Duane has been a key member of the Watershed, both as a manager, then as administrator in his later years,” said Woody Olson, the current CLWD administrator. “He was instrumental in planning and working out the agreement and DNR permits that regulate outflow of water from Big Cormorant, a multi-year effort,” Olson added.

According to Henrikson, the CLWD has changed its focus over the years in response to the lakes and watershed, becoming more involved in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources. “The watershed has really changed, and it’s changed for the better,” he added.

“We have made a lot of improvements in the lakes,” Henrikson said of his team at the CLWD. “Together we accomplished quite a bit, and made things better for the lakes involved.”

Henrikson emphasized the collaborative efforts to improve the health of local lakes, citing the DNR, the county, and his fellow workers as major components in the projects that have been successfully completed, as well as the benefits produced by the growth of the CLWD Board.

“Way back, when we were really going into this in full force, we accomplished things in the sewer system and we accomplished doing projects that, you know, didn’t really seem it was possible to have them done,” he said. “Working together we were able to accomplish a lot of them, and hopefully they’ll keep on that way in the days ahead — and it looks that way,” he added.

“Key among his skills are knowledge of the area, the people, the Becker County governmental structure and the DNR,” Olson said of Henrikson. “Duane is particularly noted for his skills in working with many people and differing agendas in order to arrive at solutions to issues.”

Reflecting on his years with the CLWD, Henrikson said of his involvement, “it means a lot to me, to know that I was part of something that’s going to accomplish something in the days ahead,” recognizing that the new developments have been made possible by the efforts of the past.

While Henrikson plans to enjoy his retirement and provide care for his wife, he also intends to stay well informed about issues concerning the CLWD. “I don’t ever want to be left out of the watershed- it means a lot to me,” he said.

Olson referenced the valuable contributions that Henrikson continues to make with the CLWD, and he said, “the Watershed continues to view him as a resource for advice and judgment.”

Henrikson’s recognition and awarded plaque on Saturday were symbols of his dedication to preservation and improvement of the lakes, and he expressed optimism that the CLWD will continue moving in a positive direction. “They see things that need to be happening, and they’re doing a good job of it,” he said.

Henrikson was recognized for his service and retirement at the annual meeting of the Cormorant Lake Watershed District on Saturday. “I was very surprised,” Henrikson said. “They called me up and told me to come down. I didn’t know what it was all about.” “It was a really nice gathering, and it was good to see the fellas,” he added. “I appreciate that.”

Of Olson’s new role as administrator, Henrikson said, “he’s a good guy — he just filled in, and he really worked in good with the group that’s down there.”

“It’s been a great life,” Henrikson said of his career with the resort and watershed district, as well as those he’s worked with. “I hope that the people will in the days ahead keep the watershed in mind,” Henrikson said as a reminder of the public’s responsibility to protect the lakes, preserving them in the years to come.

Libby Larson | DL-Online

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