Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles highlighting the work of Kosciusko Economic Development Corp.
WARSAW – Invention and entrepreneurship have a strong backbone in Kosciusko County. As home to the Orthopedic Capital of the World, leading agribusinesses, and a booming recreation sector, the community is known for feeding, healing and restoring, and it’s an optimal place for growth and opportunity.
As part of that, what makes Kosciusko County even more of a gem, is its 100+ lakes. It’s truly a paradise for lake living and vacationing.
“Kosciusko County is incredibly versatile with its career and quality-of-place offerings. And there’s something so special about how our lakes are woven into the fabric of everyday living here. You can’t travel anywhere in the county without finding a lake nearby,” said Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCo) CEO Alan Tio.
And the lakes make quite a splash in Kosciusko County, with a more than $300M economic impact each year, according to the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams.
“We have over 100 lakes in our county, we have Lake Wawasee as the biggest natural lake in Indiana. Lake Tippecanoe is the deepest natural lake in Indiana, and the Tippecanoe River goes right through the county and is considered one of the Top 10 Streams in the U.S. by The Nature Conservancy,” said Nate Bosch, Ph.D., Director of the Lilly Center.
Complementing and enriching our beautiful lakes, is the Lilly Center located at Grace College in Winona Lake, and The Watershed Foundation (TWF) located in North Webster.
Unique to Kosciusko County, the mission of the Lilly Center is to make the freshwater lakes and streams clean, healthy, safe and beautiful. The organization, which celebrates 15 years this year, conducts research, provides valuable resources, engages with and educates residents and businesses, and collaborates with local partners.
Bosch is originally from Holland, Michigan, and even with its well-known title of “Pure Michigan” because of its outdoor offerings, Bosch said the lake landscape in Kosciusko County is very unique. “Our lakes are truly remarkable for recreation, and all of the lakes in the county have something unique to offer,” Bosch said.
Founded in 1997, TWF also takes important action to keep our lakes healthy and clean. TWF focuses on the headwaters of the Tippecanoe River watershed. This Watershed spans across counties, and covers 236 square miles and contains more than 60 lakes. The mission of TWF is to protect and improve water quality in the lakes and streams of the Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed for today and for the future.
“TWF takes action! We identify and fix sources of pollution on the land before they become a problem in our lakes and rivers. TWF works daily with landowners and our partners to protect and improve water quality,” said TWF Executive Director Lyn Crighton.
TWF has worked with 60 farmers, 120 landowners, and other partners to construct more than 200 pollution prevention projects in our community.
“Projects aimed at preventing sediments, fertilizers, and bacteria from entering our waterways provide immediate and long-term benefits to our lakes and community,” said Crighton.
The Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau (KCCVB) also plays a critical role in highlighting our local lakes, and offers insightful ideas for visitors and residents to enjoy while visiting or doing life in K-County. Check out the digital “Blue Spaces” guide from KCCVB which includes several lake maps, and includes a map key showing where beaches, parks, rentals and more are located throughout the county at visitkosciuskocounty.org/blue-spaces or pick up printed guides at KCCVB or The Lilly Center.
“Kosciusko County offers an abundance of beautiful attractions to visitors and residents alike. With over 100 natural lakes, this provides the opportunity to enjoy lake adjacent parks, walking and biking trails, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, dining, and shopping in every corner of the county. Our lakes play a crucial role in making Kosciusko County a great place to live, work, and play,” said KCCVB Executive Director Cori Humes.
An important way all of these organizations are working together to promote the lakes and life in Kosciusko County is with the Clearly Kosciusko brand. Clearly Kosciusko is a county-wide voice created in partnership between the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams, KCCVB, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce and KEDCo. As different organizations that specialize in what makes the county special, Clearly Kosciusko helps create a unified and amplified story. Businesses are invited to become members, and help tell the Clearly Kosciusko story. It’s free to join and businesses can learn more by visiting clearlykc.com.
Lakes unite people. It’s a gathering place for friends, family and neighbors, whether you want to unwind and relax with fishing and swimming, or get up and go with boating and watersports, there’s something for everyone. The Lake City Skiers Water Ski Show Team is Indiana’s only competitive water ski show team. There are several public beaches for families to enjoy, and Kosciusko County has a number of exceptional restaurants folks can experience while dining waterside. Find a list of local lakeside dining options at visitkosciuskocounty.org.
“Our lakes are a rare and unique asset here. Whether someone is considering moving here to live and work, or coming here to work remotely for a company across the country, we have the best of both worlds––ample career opportunities and outstanding amenities,” said Tio.
Find a full directory of Kosciusko County’s lakes from the Lilly Center by visiting lakes.grace.edu/research/lakes.
KEDCo is a resource to help businesses and talent find their way, and make their home here in Kosciusko County. Learn more about the lakes by checking out our interview with Nate Bosch, Episode 23 of the Clearly Kosciusko podcast. The Clearly Kosciusko podcast is powered by KEDCo. Get a glimpse of the lakes and other unique amenities in K-County by watching out video at www.kosciuskoedc.com/QOL. Find more stories and stay connected with KEDCo by following @KosciuskoEDC on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.