Bill Moeller Commentary: The Problem With Mineral Lake


OK, contrary to the headline above, there is no problem with Mineral Lake.

It’s the land that surrounds it that’s causing tempers to rise on the shore.

A front page article in the Aug. 31 edition of this newspaper brought out the differences of opinion about the development of a YMCA camp along the northern shore of Mineral Lake.

Proponents want to demonstrate to our youths the pleasures of camping or living in rustic cabins while some of the citizens of the town of Mineral are saying that if the expected crowds of those who will be in the projected cabins and tents are as large as are predicted by some, it will destroy the very things that attracted the YMCA.

I sympathize with them completely.

I often daydream about the small A-frame cabin I built in the Wenatchee National Forest, located no more then 10 paces from the shore of the rippling Entiat River and sited where it was difficult to spot the nearest visible cabin through the bushes.

Our family of four (well, six with grandpa and grandma on occasion) would have hated to have another family clear the brush for another cabin next us. But I can empathize with the other side of the coin as well because, I suspect, the people who lived in the nearby cabin probably thought “there goes the neighborhood” when our construction began.

More people would lessen — if not eventually destroy — the very reason why those of us building first chose that spot to begin with.

On the other hand, one of the strongest memories of time spent in my early teen years centers around just such a situation as is now being suggested.

It happened each summer when one week was spent at a place called “Lutherland,” situated on the shore of Lake Killarney. I can’t give you the exact location anymore.

The lake must have been too small to be put on my only map of the general area but it was east of Highway 99 between Puyallup and Seattle.

I remember the pair of two-story log cabins — one for girls and one for boys — the dock from which we could dive into the lake, the volleyball net tied between two trees and the dining hall which also served as a stage for home-made entertainment on the Saturday night gatherings that signaled the end of a week of fun — at least until next year.

My uncle — Pastor Otto Moeller — was always in charge of everything for those weeks, combining recreation and, of course, instruction on proper Christian theology.

“Auntie Ruth” and her mother cooked the meals, and the time went by far faster than anyone wanted.

While thoughts of juvenile romance — as perhaps created around an evening campfire — may have entered our minds, I think there was only one instance where it may have blossomed a little bit.

That was the rumor, anyway. I was not involved.

The time and the years went by so fast and all I can say is that there should be no objection to similar use of some of the land around Mineral Lake.

I won’t comment on any other facet of the proposal as it now stands except to say that, if you’ve read more than one of these columns you’ll know that I have always opposed growth for the sake of growth.

I suspect a lot of time will pass before things settle down and everyone is satisfied.

In fact, if my judgment of human nature is correct, satisfaction will never be completely attained. It will — to use a comparison — be as rare as a raid on an illegal whiskey still in Lewis County.


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at