Lakes vs. Rivers




Story by Katy Macek and Lauren Kritter


When I think of summer, sand and sun, I think of the beach on Lake Michigan in my hometown. I think of volleyball in the sand and challenging my friends to see who could swim out the farthest.

Port Washington is a known city because of its location on the Great Lake, not because of the small river that also runs through it. Sure, it might be a picturesque nature walk, but it doesn’t supply fresh water.

Not to mention the lighthouse in the harbor. Not only is it a tourist attraction, it’s where I had my first date, watched my first sunrise and spent countless hours joking around and having long talks with my friends. How many lighthouses have you seen on a river?

I have spent the majority of my life on or near a lake, whether it was time spent near Lake Michigan in Port Washington or family vacations up to Crooked Lake, a small lake surrounded by rentable cottages.

Half the fun of my youth was attempting to swim halfway out to the raft in the middle of the lake. When I got older, it was attempting to swim to the other side.

When I got to UW-Eau Claire, I was most excited that my campus had a body of water I could enjoy in the warmer months by diving into the cool water and soaking beneath its depths.

… And then they warned me not to swim in it. Floating is okay, but swimming is dangerous. What about human fish like me that need water?

I’ll end by saying this: There is one great river in the United States but there are five Great Lakes.

And let’s not forget about professional sports teams. The Los Angeles Rivers? That certainly doesn’t sound like a team I’d root for.

— Katy Macek, Currents Editor

Seeing as UW-Eau Claire’s campus is located smack dab on the Chippewa River, I’m going to start by stating the obvious: What a lovely view we get to see every single day! No wonder we are Wisconsin’s most beautiful campus.

The Chippewa River runs for 183 miles, with running and biking trails accessible to everyone to enjoy the surrounding beauty. The poetic sound of the flowing river is enough to put any mind at ease.

Summers in Eau Claire just wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t enjoy a nice day of floating on the river. River floating during my freshman year was the first non-university coordinated activity I took part in when I got to Eau Claire.

I went river floating with a group of girls who eventually became my roommates. That says a lot about the friendships you can make while spending a beautiful day floating together.

When you’re ready for more adventure, white water rafting is the way to go. There is much fun and excitement to be had while conquering the rapids on a wild river ride. It gets your blood pumping and your adrenaline rushing; the perfect activity to contrast a lazy river float.

According to, rivers carry nutrients, sediments and other minerals through the landscape and into other systems. Looking through an environmental lens, this provides vital links between land, lakes, wetlands and oceans. What have lakes done for us that is so important?

From a worldwide standpoint, rivers are the veins of the earth. There are 3,500,000 miles of rivers in the U.S. alone, linking us all together through transportation and transferral of goods from one place to another.

Rivers even have an attraction named after them, enjoyed by many people every time they attend a waterpark. I don’t see “lazy lakes’” built anywhere; probably because they aren’t as important or not liked enough to be granted that privilege.

Lauren Kritter, Staff Writer