Finally the mercury has begun to rise and spring is beginning to feel more like … well, spring around here. What better way to take advantage of the warmer temperatures than getting outside and enjoying some of Clinton County’s parks, trails, and natural resources.

But did you know that one of Clinton County’s most beautiful “natural” resources is actually man-made?

Frankfort Lagoons Did You Know

The three ponds known as the Frankfort Lagoons were built by the Del Monte corporation back in 1968 for treatment of their tomato slurry. Back then, underground pipes carried water from the Morrison Street location to the ponds nestled between SR 75 and North Union Road. Now, well water and field run-off keep the ponds filled.

After Del Monte no longer needed the ponds for drainage (beginning in 1977), the Lagoons were occasionally used for fishing but mostly attracted vandalism and garbage dumping. Around 2000, Frankfort resident Barney Avery became a “volunteer caretaker” of the area, cleaning up the garbage, trimming away the overgrowth, and even stocking the ponds with fish. By 2003, nearly “120 individuals, businesses and organizations had contributed both money and physical labor” to turn the Lagoons into a recreational area, Avery told Janis Thornton in a 2003 article picked up by the Associated Press.

Now, while not officially part of the Frankfort park system, the Frankfort Lagoons are managed by the Frankfort Utility Service Board. The largest pond to the north covers about 30 acres. Its depth has varied over the years, and at times it looks and feels more like a wetland. The other two ponds run a little deeper and fishing is still a big part of what the Lagoons have to offer. (They have been stocked with Bluegill, Channel Cat, Bass, Crappie, and Walleye over the years). Plenty of other wildlife also make their home — or at least stop over — at the Lagoons. According to the Frankfort Lagoons Facebook page, recent sightings have included a variety of ducks, geese, turtles, osprey, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets.

Even if you aren’t into fishing or nature watching, the Frankfort Lagoons make a nice place to picnic, relax, and enjoy some of our amazing Hoosier sunsets.

Originally published at Clinton County Daily News on April 16, 2016.