In the beginning
In the Spring of 1970, John Kiser, a longtime lake resident, single-handedly knocked on every door along the lake to wake up the people and make them aware of what a beautiful lake they had. He urged them to take loving care of it to keep it that way.
His diligence lit a flame, and a proposal to form an association was made. A meeting was called to see if there was enough interest to make an organization plausible. The interest was spontaneous, and a board was elected on the spot. Kiser, of course, became the first President, and Mary Juday was Secretary Treasurer. The Board’s primary duty was to establish association by-laws and a meeting schedule, including an annual meeting.
Water Monitoring commenced immediately, with records kept and findings reported to association members. That monitoring was continued over the years by many volunteers of the association.
In the late seventies an ambitious young man named Dick Sharer joined the LCA Board. He (and others) spearheaded the formation of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council to bring together a number of lake communities from surrounding counties, to exchange their knowledge and consolidate efforts. Sharer was the LCA representative on the council, and numerous board members have represented us since that time.
The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council made a complete inventory of the Lake Charlevoix wetlands in May of 1985. Since 1987 the watershed council has been conducting periodic water quality studies.
Over the years, the association has been concerned about protecting the natural resources of the lake. One of its early concerns was in trying to limit the practice of giving large back subdivisions access to the lake of future by “funneling” a right of way to a small frontage designated for that purpose.
Other matters the association has taken up over the years have included:
- Pollutants emptying into the lake from Monroe Creek.
- The outflow from the Jordan Valley Fish Hatchery, a federally permitted operation at the entry of the Jordan River which is perhaps the largest source of lake pollution.
- ” The Aspen” – a large, partially sunken boat that neighbors and boaters deemed a great eyesore.
- Updating the Charlevoix County Sanitary Code when it was adding septic mound systems that encourage building in wet areas.
- Plans for the Hemingway Point Marina originally proposed that it jut into the lake. A compromise allowed its construction inland.
- A proposed bulkhead for commercial multiple docking facilities at Ironton.
- Waters Edge – went to mediation and we were represented on the mediation board. The project was subsequently built within the limits of the mediation agreement – now called Pine Lake Club in Charlevoix Township.
In 1984 John Hall introduced an idea to the board for a project he believed was long overdue – a management plan for Lake Charlevoix to regulate future growth around the lake. Consequently, the Lake Charlevoix Management Plan Advisory Committee was formed. Each of the seven townships and three cities that border Lake Charlevoix were represented on this committee. John Hall was made the permanent chairman. Funding for the management plan was made by Charlevoix County Planning Commission, with matched government funds; as well as WATCH (Water and Air Team Charlevoix).
This was an incredible undertaking, and in June 1987, after two and one-half years of diligent study and preparation, the committee had the management plan ready for submission to the County Planning Commission. Hearings with the townships and the commission were held – the fifth and final one being in October 1987.
Neither the county nor the townships and cities ever formally adopted the plan. But the process of creating it helped build awareness of what was happening around the lake. This plan still is used as a reference when people need some authentic information to fall back on.
Lake Charlevoix Association is a voluntary organization, funded over the years almost entirely by membership dues. In 1986 it was decided at the annual meeting to incorporate as a tax-exempt corporation to allow members to make tax-deductible contributions to Lake Charlevoix Association.
In 1992, a goal was reached that Lake Charlevoix Association has been working toward for some time – “No Wake” lighted buoys were set in the narrows at Ironton. Until last year, the association had been responsible for the buoys and the cooperation of all concerned was overwhelming. LCA arranged to purchase new steel buoys and turned over their installation and maintenance to a local landowner.