The dam at Ocean Beach is at risk. An evaluation showed water seeping around the south side and underneath it. If not corrected, it could lead to catastrophic failure. Such collapse could lower the level of the lake by two to four feet. To get an idea of where that would put the new shoreline, take a yard stick and rest one end on the bottom. Where water covers the top end suggests the location of the new shoreline. Many lakefront properties would have far more front lawn and Clark Lake would dramatically shrink in size.
This is the second threat to the dam this decade. In 2012 the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation contracted to have the north side of the dam repaired under similar circumstances. No level of government or government agency claimed ownership or accepted responsibility for repair. Knowing what the dam means to the preservation of Clark Lake, the Foundation accepted donations and oversaw restoration.
Bendele Construction, contractor for the north side work, has been scheduled to repair the damaged south side. The cost will exceed $10,000.
The Foundation, a 501c3, is accepting funds for this repair work. So far there have been several donations to the Dam Strong Fund. Donations of any amount are gratefully received. In view of the overall cost of repair, a special fundraising effort is underway–The Dam Strong Honor Roll. Suggested giving amounts are each accompanied by Dam Dots.
$100 – One Dam Dot
$250 – Two Dam Dots
$500 – Three Dam Dots
$800 – Four Dam Dots
$1000 or more – Five Dam Dots
To inspire others to give, it is hoped contributors will allow the Foundation to place their names and appropriate number of Dam Dots on a special page on this website.
Donations can be made through this website via credit card or by mailing a check made out to “Clark Lake Spirit Foundation”, PO Box 224, Clark Lake, MI 49234.
[The following option is now closed] A second option for giving is to purchase a Spirit Trail bench located around the dam. Through a donation from M-R Builder’s Mike McKay, the area around the dam is being landscaped. Those underwriting a bench will have the option of inscribing their name, family name, or using it to memorialize someone who held Clark Lake close to his or her heart. So far, three of the four benches have been spoken for. If you know someone who has an interest, please contact the Foundation soon. The donation for each bench is at $3000, which is divided as follows. One-thousand dollars pays for the bench and inscription. Another $500 goes to the Spirit Trail fund. The remaining $1500 becomes part of the Dam Strong Fund.
A common question for this fundraiser is “what if the amount donated exceeds the cost of repairs?” At the time when the expected cost is met, it will be announced on this website. Any overage will be invested safely in the Foundation’s general fund. The Foundation is very conservative with expenditures, and funds are kept for real needs. The Foundation has adapted the mission statement Standing Up for Clark Lake. Examples of expenditures include repair of the north side of the dam, launching weed control, refurbishing the cemetery, and maintaining this website. No Foundation officer or director is compensated.
No one has been able to determine the origins of this dam or how long it has been in place. From a structural point of view, it is under a great deal of stress. Tree and brush roots have penetrated the ground around it and possibly have burrowed into it. Water seeping in freezes and thaws through winters, creating the potential of fissures.
Below is an artist rendering of the top view of how the dam will look once the work is finished.
For further information, contact the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation–Rick Belcher, president, at 529-2121; or Ann Swain, treasurer, 529-9485.