A Proposed Park for Columbia Township

Irish Hills Legacy is spearheading a plan to convert an area behind the Columbia Township Hall into a park.  According to Ryan Beal, this could be part of a plan that involves the Clark Lake Spirit Trail.  In September 2015, he spoke at a meeting held at the Township and described a plan to create a new trail that would link the section of the Clark Lake Spirit Trail along Ocean Beach Road to Brooklyn.  At last night’s meeting of the Columbia Township Trustees, he said that the new park in the backyard of the Township hall could be a stopping off place.

Some board members were skeptical because of what they viewed current or future needs for the land.

Below is the article published in September 2015 on this website:

Building on the success of the Clark Lake Spirit Trail, an Irish Hills community group is proposing a trail from Riverside Drive near Ocean Beach Road to the area of the Columbia Township Hall in Brooklyn.  It would, in effect, connect the Spirit Trail to Brooklyn.  The proposed path would run along the north side of Goose Creek.  The headwaters of Goose Creek is Clark Lake.  Water from the dam at Ocean Beach flows into the creek that later joins the River Raisin.

A community development committee, operating under the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce, has been working on this project for the last year.  The Irish Hills Community Legacy was established as a non-profit to support projects such as this.

panel 2015 09-15

L to R: Scott Robbins, Ann Swain, Mark Ott, Vic Marshall

The committee invited property owners along Riverside Drive to a public forum at the Columbia Township Hall tonight (Tuesday).  The chairperson, Ryan Beal, led the meeting that also included Clark Lake’s Ann Swain and Vic Marshall.  Also invited as speakers were County Parks Director Scott Robbins, and President of the Friends of the Falling Waters Trail Mark Ott.

Some residents along Riverside Drive raised concerns that a trail taking this path would invade privacy or possibly put users in danger from hunters or target practicing.  The panel of speakers attempted to allay those concerns based on the experiences at Clark Lake and Jackson’s Falling Waters Trail.  The homes of Vic Marshall, John Calhoun, and Ann Swain are very close to the Clark Lake Spirit Trail. Both John Calhoun and Vic Marshall provided easements to improve the Trail’s continuity.  For example, the cut-thru from South Woodlands to Oakwood is adjacent to John Calhoun’s garage.  Vic Marshall granted an easement on his property that runs parallel to Hyde Road and at one time was part of the Cincinnati Northern Railroad bed.  That portion of the Trail is also close to Ann Swain’s property.  All three testified that their experience with the Trail is excellent, citing no downside issues. They felt that it really improves the Clark Lake experience for all concerned.  Vic Marshall commented that he thought the section west of Hyde Road was actually “a linear park.”  Not only humans enjoy it but it also “benefits wildlife.”

Ryan Beal 2015 09-15

Ryan Beal

On the hunting question, Ann Swain, who chairs the Spirit Trail committee, pointed to the Magic Forest section of the trail that runs from Jefferson to Lakeview East.  During hunting season, that section is cordoned off as the owner of the property sometimes hunts in that area.

Other comments pointed to the economic upside of the proposed Goose Creek Trail, noting that it encourages people to settle here and benefits commerce.

The community development committee calls this “phase one.” Ryan Beal spoke of a vision that extends trails to Lake Columbia and to Vineyard and Wamplers Lakes.

The committee handed out a questionnaire.  To view it, click here.




Rain + Sun = Rainbow

Rain and sun together sometimes means rainbow.  And that’s what happened today at Clark Lake.  Thanks to Cristina Thomson, the moment was captured.

Then, the sun set presented an amazing sculpture in the sky.

Annual Blessing of the Spirit Trail

For one Sunday a year, the congregation of the Clarklake Community Church relocates to the County Park.  The purpose?  The Annual Blessing of the Spirit Trail.  At the service “we ask God to protect those who use our beautiful trail this summer,” comments Walt Reed.  He adds “you’re invited!”

Contributions at the service will support the maintenance of the Trail.  

The service will be held this coming Sunday, June 25th at 10 am.  If weather precludes holding the service outdoors, the congregation will meet at the church.


Brush with NASCAR Fame at Eagle Point

The King, Richard Petty, visited Clark Lake’s Eagle Point this evening, greeted fans, and signed autographs.  Petty has run 1,184 races over his 35 years.   His last win was the 1984 Firecracker 400.  The visit tonight is right on topic as this is race weekend at MIS. 

Both the old and young were represented.  The 79-year old Petty was joined by 27-year old Joey Logano, who races for Team Penske in car 22. According to Wikipedia stats, he has 28 wins, 132 top tens, and 33 poles.

Photos courtesy of John Czyrka

Meanwhile, everyone at the Pointe was enjoying dinner and sunshine splashing off Clark Lake.

A Day of Contrasts

Thursday started with an awe-inspiring sunrise.   Thanks to Nancy Gass,  who captured it from her Oakwood location.

A brief thunderstorm was accompanied by flashes of lightning overnight.  It included a brief downpour that freshened everything in its path.  Once the westerly breeze stirred the waters, one of Clark Lake’s favorite attributes occurred–the sweet aroma of wind touching the waves in a atmosphere cleansed by the change in weather.  Fast forward to the 7:05 pm when a quick burst of rain swept across the lake.  Those eating on the deck at the Pointe huddled under the umbrellas or headed inside. 

With sun still shining brightly, conditions were right for a rainbow, and Bill Leutz captured it here.

There were only a few clouds in the sky as the sun headed for the horizon.

After the sun dipped behind the landscape, a closer view reveals the richness of the hues surrounding the sun.

A few minutes later…

To sample the feeling of the moment, here’s a short video that starts at the water and takes you upward.

Power Is Back!

A large tree branch crashed to the ground, but not before striking a utility pole.  The impact caused a major short and immediately power went down for a few customers along Eagle Point Road. Once Consumers Energy began work, it was necessary to take down power for a much larger area. Power was restored in the noon hour.  For some, the outage lasted over 4 hours; for others, not as long.  But nonetheless, whenever the power goes out, it’s what everyone talks about.  

When the branch crashed loudly to the ground, the effect was immediate.  One neighbor reported a bright flash, along with the noise.  The branch’s contact with the utility pole left the structure to mangled.

Once the a tree trimmer cleared the area, restorative work began.

Voltage at the pole is 4,800 volts.  From there, it is stepped down so it can be routed through your house via the electrical panel.



A Tuesday Eye-opener

It was hot today.  Good news if you were at Clark Lake because the water was perfect for a long swim.  It was cold enough not to be a heated swimming pool, but it wasn’t the Polar Plunge either.

 Late in the day radar showed a storm was heading toward the lake.  It wimped out.  Just a few sprinkles that weren’t nearly enough to quench the thirst of lawns and plants that look like they could use a real soaker.  What did happen is this–a sunset afterglow full of pink, purple, blue, and from some perspectives, orange and yellow.

Bill Leutz, who also looks west along the Eagle Point shoreline, framed the sunset from his location that revealed some of what was going on above.  Check it out, below.

Sometimes sunsets show promise as their hour approaches, but then fizzle.  That happened Monday.  Once the sun headed toward the horizon, it slipped behind a bank of gray clouds.  Sunsets are hard to predict, and that’s part of the fun.  Here it is while it stilled showed promise.

The Plotters

These people are plotting fun!  The Raft-O-Rama Committee met Friday night, one in a series of many meetings that happen throughout the year. There is much more to Clark Lake’s iconic event than the parade of rafts on Sunday, August 6th.  At this meeting they worked on details of the post-ROR events and getting the word out. (Front to back, left side: Ron Runyan, Josie Hones, Dan Omo; Front to back, right side: Christy Runyan, Frank Hones, Tricia Boyers, Beckey Ligibel, Joe Collins)

You may not know it, but the Raft-O-Rama Committee also takes steps to promote other big events at the lake.  Tricia Boyers is holding a poster that tells the story.  Many of these posters will begin to appear around the lake.  And a precious few will be save for posterity long after the events, posted on cottage walls, in garages, or in a few man caves.

Also about to be launched are these banners.  They will be attached to utility pools on Ocean Beach and Hyde Roads, and perhaps a couple other places.  Joe Collins and Frank Hones show what they look like close up.

Now at Doyles are the latest Clark Lake items, the newest creations of the RoR Committee.  Just to prove that a photo shoot doesn’t have to be dull, Dan Omo and Jessica Tucker have fun showing  off the new t-shirts, kozies, and frisbees.

But wait, there’s more.  Expect an unexpected item this year.   More on this later!




Clark Lake’s Obligatory Ritual

This ritual is something that people at Clark Lake look forward to all day–the sunset.  Tonight’s sunset did not disappoint.

And the afterglow.
This obligatory ritual is what Clark Lakers put on themselves.  As people congregate on docks and shorelines, they time it expertly, never missing a beat, and always camera ready.  Sunsets here are always a well-documented event. 

Do Sunsets Rhyme?

“History may not repeat itself, but it does rhymes” is a quote attributed to Mark Twain.  Does it apply to Clark Lake sunsets?  Sometimes.  It can be said sunsets are governed by the chaos theory, where small initial changes can influence eventual outcomes. The variety of atmospheric conditions that shape sunsets are practically infinite.  And the exact position of the setting sun moves each day.  Just like the weather, there are lots of variables.  So no two sunsets could be exactly the same.

If you’ve been following sunsets on this website, you have seen sunsets that are wildly different.  Others seem to have common characteristics.  But individual similarities don’t mean sameness.  So welcome to nature’s ever changing light show.

Here’s a review of sunsets from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week.

The sunset on Monday started out this way–a bank of clouds blocked the sun.

Once the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, it’s afterglow left this mark.

On Tuesday, lack of clouds cleared the way for the sun to project a bright yellow hue.  Recently there have been several sunsets like this.

A closer view reveals more of the color.

Wednesday night’s sunset had some of the same color, but the design was entirely different.

The richness of the design can be seen here.

Observing the sunset across water adds another variable–a pleasing one.  In this view, the waves get to play a role.

On evenings when boat activity is muted and only a light breeze, there is a common thread–a sense of peace.  This video from Wednesday illustrates a feeling of calm.

And about history rhyming?  Here’s what Wikiquotes has to say.  “This is very often attributed to Mark Twain, but the earliest published source yet located is by Joseph Anthony Wittreich in Feminist Milton (1987) where he writes: ‘History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme, and every gloss by a deconstructionist need not be a loss, pushing us further into an abyss of skepticism and indeterminacy.'”