Beautifying Clark Lake

A Toledo church youth group visited Clark Lake on a mission, and their work helped beautify two Spirit Trail locations.  Eight 6th to 8th graders weeded and cleaned up the Township Park garden on Hyde Road and the plantings along the Trail at the County Park.  The group, from Collingwood Presbyterian Church in Toledo, stayed at the cottage of church member, Sue Seeger Wiemer.  Scott Bley, the youth group leader, helped direct the four boys and four girls with their tasks. 

Was there time for the kids to experience more of Clark Lake?  Yes.  Dan Omo took them for a raft ride and showed them around.  And now the kids can take home their memory of Clark Lake.

The breakwater had become completely overgrown. The group eliminated the weeds and cleaned up the bricks.

Peggy Collins Receives Spirit of Clark Lake Award

The Mary Reynolds Spirit of Clark Lake Award recognizes individuals or families who have contributed to the quality of life at Clark Lake.  This year the annual award went to Peggy Collins.  It can be said of Peggy that she has contributed greatly to life at the lake, and in a multitude of ways.  She has tirelessly volunteered her time to organizations such as the Spirit Trail and the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation.  She, and her family, have always made the Beach Bar available as a true center of the community.

The award was presented by Bill Bendele, who was last year’s recipient.  The announcement is traditionally made during post Raft-O-Rama ceremonies. 

The plaque is created each year by Mary Reynold’s daughter, Joey Reynolds Massangale.  According to Joey’s brother, Flip, their mother quietly found ways to make the lake a better place.  Clark Lake meant a lot to her.  Even in her last days, she continued to take part in the community, including Raft-O-Rama.  The award is decided upon by vote of the community with ballots available before Raft-O-Rama at local stores.

Other past winners include Peggy’s late husband, Tom, Bunty Adams, Louie & Michele Ambs, Bill Tuttle, Bev Avis, Loretto Baker, Don Fowler, R. Tucker Boyers, George Svinicki, Joanne Ambs, Ogden Adkins, John & Dotty Karkheck, Dick Cochran, Woody Newman, Ann Swain, Pat Dwyer, Jamie Mercer, Sam & Kathy Pease, Meredith Szostek, John Collins, and Evelyn Menard.

Raft-0-Rama 2017 Results

Skies were cloudy, but the rafts, and people on them, radiated pure sunshine.  Along with that sunshine shone lots of creativity as contestants met the challenge of this year’s theme–TV shows.  It’s amazing how much staying power certain shows retain.  Represented in the parade were three Gilligan Island’s, two Flintstones’, and two Mash’s.  Both the Addams Family and Lawrence Welk were on Clark Lake’s TV screen today as well.  All of these shows went into reruns long ago, but today is living proof of their indelible impact.  And their presentation today revived great memories.

Raft-O-Rama puts on display the creativity, artistry, and engineering capabilities of Clark Lake.  Turning an idea into something that will float successfully on two pontoons and weather a lake breeze is a mark of accomplishment.

The People’s Choice is voted upon by those who visit the R-O-R table starting at noon.  People’s Choice Award – #12 Baywatch

Best Overall, Adults 18+ – #12 Baywatch

Best Overall, Kids 17 and under, R. Tucker Boyers Award – #2 Flintstones


Most Enthusiastic – #11 Mash 4077

Most Original – #16 Addams Family

Funniest – #8 Cops

Closest to the Theme – #1 Lawrence Welk

Most Colorful – #18 Sesame Street

Best Special Effects – #7 Mash

Furthest from the Theme – #25 College Game Day

Rookie Award – #5 Gilligan’s Island

Best Costumes – #4 Gilligan’s Island

Best Attention to Details – #15 Baywatch

Other rafts added to the sights and sounds of the day.

  • #3 Price Is Right
  • #10 Naked and Afraid
  • #14 Flintstones
  • #17 Gilligan's Island
  • #9 Nickelodeon
  • #6 College Game Day

As you leave the story for the moment, take a look at what the Raft-O-Rama parade looks like from above.  The drone takes you around Eagle Point through the cove.  It makes a curiosity stop at the Baywatch raft, then resumes it flight.  Notice the line up of spectators on their rafts watching from the lake side of the parade as people on the shore watch from the other direction.

Thanks to BJ Lyons for the drone photos and videos.



Run Clark Lake 2017 Results

For runners, the weather was spectacular–mid 60s, light breeze, and all under stunningly blue Clark Lake skies.  That was the setting as hundreds gathered along Ocean Beach Road to participate in or view the 42nd Annual Run Clark Lake. 

The competitors were there to win.  With cool temperatures and low humidity, times were good.  Some course records were broken.  Runners assembled here from places as far away as Kenya and California.  As usual Clark Lake runners represented the community well.  For a complete rundown of participants, their times and places, please scroll down.

There is always extra excitement at the start of the race.  Large groups of spectators offered their enthusiastic support.  Check out the video below of the first race of the day, the 12K.

The 12K headed south on Ocean Beach Road, turned right on Lakeview East and then entered the Magic Forest (for reference, see map of the route below the results).  The 5K started 5 minutes after the 12K.  The 5K headed north on Ocean Beach Road.  Here’s the 5K start.

A minute later, the 5K Walk began.

After the three adult events concluded, the kids had their moment in the spotlight with a 3/4K run.  The kids headed north on Ocean Beach, then turned back toward the finish line.

The kids had a great time–and it appeared they had winning on their mind!

For the participants, it was competitive fun, and some of them enjoyed that special moment in the winner’s circle.

 To view these action shots, please click on the first one.  Then click or tap the right edge to advance to the next one.


Click here for complete results.  Below, for your reference, are the routes taken by each event today.

Thanks to BJ Lyons for the drone video and John Stewart for photos at the start and finish line. Other photos by Rick Belcher.


Beerfest Is on the Way

Beerfest is all about 60 different varieties of beer all in one place–at Eagle Point from noon – 4 pm, on Saturday, August 12th.  It’s time to enjoy meeting friends at Clark Lake while the summer sun is still high in the sky.  Expect to hear some great music while you sample some of the many specialties.  Below are some photos from last year’s event.

For ticket information, please click here.

Beerfest is a fundraiser for the Clark Lake Spirit Trail.  This 7.3 mile path is available to runners, walkers and cyclists.  Those on the Trail experience a variety of scenes–the lake, wooded areas, and friendly neighborhoods. There is also a wide range of surfaces.  Without fundraisers and donations it would be impossible to keep this community gem in top condition.  Volunteers handle most chores, but major rebuilds, improvements and extensions require funding.

Big Weekend Revs Up

Two big events dominate Clark Lake this weekend, and both have registrations tonight (Friday) at the Beach Bar.  Run Clark Lake’s packet pick-up and preregistration takes place between 6 – 8 pm.  Race day registration occurs Saturday between 7 – 8:15 am.

Raft-O-Rama registration at the Beach Bar is open today (Friday) between 7 – 9 pm.  Raft-O-Rama will also be at the Shipwreck Party Store at Eagle Point Saturday 7 – 9 pm.

Run Clark Lake attracts nearly a thousand athletes and many spectators along the route. The 12K start is 8:30 am; and 5K, 8:35 am.  The 5K walk begins a minute later at 8:36 am.  The 3/4K Kids run starts at 9:50 am.  And the awards ceremony will be held at 10 am.  All Run Clark Lake events line up and begin on Ocean Beach Road in front of the Beach Bar.  Here’s the route the events will take. 

The 57th Raft-O-Rama parade starts at 10:30 am at the west end of the lake and travels in a counter-clockwise direction around the lake.  This year’s theme is “TV Shows.”

Click here to view complete info on Raft-O-Rama, including “10 things (and more) you want to know.”  That includes free transportation and other essential information for those who have decorated rafts.  If you are in the parade, remember to wave when you go by the Eagle Point Marina gas dock.  The photographer will be taking photos for the People’s Choice Award.  Those photos will also be on this website, later on Sunday.


After the parade, the party continues at Eagle Point.  The Clark Lake Lions will once again be grilling chicken dinners and local corn on the cob.  There are fun activities for kids like air tattoos and photo booth.  The music begins at 1 pm.  When the band is on break, a DJ takes over. Voting for the People’s Choice prize commences runs between noon and 3 pm.  The all-important awards ceremony starts at 3:45 pm.

While at the Point, you can stock up on Clark Lake goodies–Raft-O-Rama tees, calendars, shirts for men, women and youth, frisbees, wine glasses and more.  Part of the “more” this year are Dam Strong tees.  Proceeds support rebuilding the dam at Ocean Beach.  Click here to learn why this is so important to the future of Clark Lake.  Without the dam, the level of the lake would go down by two to four feet.  Just imagine what that would do to the shoreline.  The repairs are expensive, and raising the necessary funds will go beyond t-shirt sales.  But buying and wearing this t-shirt will help generate funds, and promote the importance of this project.  The Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, which is organizing and raising funds for the project, thanks the Raft-O-Rama Committee for this effort.

The Raft-O-Rama Committee meets throughout the year.  There is an incredible amount of planning and work involved in putting together this awesome annual event.  The good news is committee members don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  Many have devoted their volunteer efforts to Raft-O-Rama for years, creating anew an engaging and memorable event.  As the group will tell you, the key word is “fun!”  Below is a photo taken last night at the most recent committee meeting, held at the Clark Lake Community Center.  When you see someone wearing a staff t-shirt, consider saying “thanks!”


Speed Limits Posted on Eagle Point Road and Drive

New speed limit signs went up today on both Eagle Point Road and Eagle Point Drive.  Here’s what to expect when you next travel these roads. 

As you turn onto Eagle Point Road from Jefferson Road, the speed limit is 40.

Just before coming to the intersection of Lakeview West and Eagle Point Road, there is a “reduced speed ahead sign for 25.”

A few feet north of the Eagle Point  Road and Lakeview West intersection, the 25 mph sign is posted.

As you head east on Eagle Point Drive, you’ll see a 25 mph sign.

Heading east on Eagle Point Drive, there is another 25 mph sign before you get to the intersection with Hayes Drive.

There are companion signs for 25 mph on Eagle Point Drive, heading west. 

Another 25 mph sign is posted on Eagle Point Road as you head south from the Pointe Bar and Grill parking lot.

On Eagle Point Road, there is a 40 mph sign just south of the intersection of Lakeview West.

Posting these speed limits has been part of a process started in 2015.  Columbia Township Police Chief David Elwell comments that he’s “glad the TCO process is complete and signs are now installed, and that speed limits are appropriately reflective of the neighborhood.” 

TCO stands for traffic control order.  When it comes to establishing speed limits three entities participate–local police, Jackson County Road Department, and Michigan State Police.  Speed limits became a hot topic in July, 2015, when police issued several tickets that were later thrown out.  No signs left questions.

The State Police published this document explaining how speed limits are established.  The process doesn’t automatically include the views of the people who live there.  Neighbors have been vocal about speeders on Eagle Point Road and Eagle Point Drive.  They point out that Eagle Point Drive and a portion of Eagle Point Road Part are part of the Spirit Trail.  People regularly use these roads for walking, running and cycling.  And there is a limited sight area as Eagle Point Road curves on a hill.    


Invasive Weeds at Clark Lake


Representatives from Professional Lake Management (PLM) and SePro surveyed the lake this morning.  PLM’s Steven Hanson and SePro’s J.T. Gravelie examined weed samples to determine the best course of treatment to thwart hybrid Eurasian water milfoil or HEWM. 

This invasive species multiplies quickly and is notorious for taking over lakes.  It curtails recreational uses such as boating and fishing, destroys wildlife habitat and impairs navigation.  Lakes that stood idly by watched property values plunge.

Ninety-five percent of lake front property owners contacted by the Invasive Species Committee signed a petition asking for action. As a result, Columbia Township formed a special assessment district (SAD) that allows treatment anywhere HEWM exists in the lake and supports the cost through property taxes.

Key takeaways

  • PLM and product manufacturer SePro believe a new product called Procellacor shows great promise, and the study today was designed to investigate its potential here. In 2016, the lake was treated with Renovate (active ingredient triclopyr).  Initial results were good, but near the end of the season, HEWM regrowth was detected.  For an  explanation on the challenge, please scroll down to the last paragraph.
  • Procellacor acts both systemically and on contact.  After a few weeks, the invasive plants collapse. Renovate worked differently.  It caused the plants to experience sudden, explosive growth, and then the weed would collapse on itself.
  • Procellacor is getting favorable test results elsewhere.  Samples taken today, and more samples to be taken late in August or September, will be tested in the lab to determine efficacy.
  • EPA approval of Procellacor is expected soon. That will be followed by Michigan DEQ approval process.  How quickly could Clark Lake be treated? J.T. Gravelie says the optimistic answer is “mid-summer 2018.”  More realistically, he said “it will probably be 2019”.
  • PLM has not treated the lake this summer.  When asked about the current state of the lake, Steve Hanson said it “looks better than expected.”  He opined “there is less HEWM in the lake than before treatment began, and that, of course, is favorable.”  But further Renovate treatment was deemed wasteful if a product like Procellacor is on the horizon. 

John Deming and Rick Belcher, on a nearby raft, watched progress and discussed the issues with Steve Hanson and J. T. Gravelie.

John Deming, chairman of the Clark Lake Invasive Species Committee, says “I like that PLM and SePro are approaching this problem in a scientific manner.”  He also noted that “PLM could treat every year, take the money and run.  Instead they are doing their due diligence, customizing the approach for Clark Lake, and not wasting our money.”  John Deming added “some areas of the lake where we saw HEWM two years ago are now devoid of it. So some progress had been made.”

Comments from Township trustees present–Bob Elrod, John Calhoun and Flip Reynolds–indicated that tax moneys collected this year could be rolled into future years.  Fewer treatments with a more effective product could reduce the overall costs of this program.

What’s the challenge in thwarting an invasive plant like HEWM?  PLM also treats other lakes in our region, and they have found each lake to be individual. Take, for example, this chain reaction when Eurasian milfoil enters a lake.  The invader mates with the native plant.  The resulting hybrid mates with other hybrids and native plants.  Or varieties of hybrids travel from lake to lake by boat or other means. Darwinian evolution implies improved sustainability and thus, a greater opportunity to procreate, and become immune to threats like treatment programs.  Take that cycle through several iterations, and you can see the challenge in knocking off an invasive species.

To read more about this program, please click here.

Trustee Flip Reynolds, Supervisor Bob Elrod, and Treasurer John Calhoun also watched the survey from close by, and questioned Steven Hanson and J. T. Gravelie on their findings and recommendations.



Kids Triathlon 2017

It was the thrill of victory and lots of fun at the Clark Lake Yacht Club this morning.  The Kids Triathlon began with the swim, followed by the bike ride, and then, the run.  Seventeen kids, 12 and under, competed for the gold, bronze and silver medals.    Below, Event Director Dan Omo explains to participants how the Triathlon works.  Continue to watch to see the kids swim.

After the swim, the kids raced to their bikes.  The cycle course took them to Eagle Point and back. 

The kids then ditched their bikes and finished the Triathlon on the run course.

And the winners are: 

Gold – Ben Oneil

Silver – Ella Stovall

Bronze – Andrew Russel

Also participating (in alphabetical order): Lili Kate Eason, Kellen Hughes, Scarlett Hughes, Nathan Ketke, Katie Kretzinger, Katelyn Melling, Maddy Mulder, Natalie Oneil, Jackson Pierse, Logan Shelton, Rory Shelton, Denny Stovall, Link Stovall, and Gabby Zimmer.

To add to the fun, the Yacht Club invited kids of all ages to enjoy the giant blow-ups–and there were good things to eat.  And some came to watch the competition and take in a stunningly beautiful day at Clark Lake.

An event like this doesn’t happen on its own.  It takes work!  Combining efforts were the Raft-O-Rama Committee and the Clark Lake Yacht Club.  Some of the people who made it happened are pictured below.

Raft-O-Rama Committee members

Yacht Club group enjoying the blow-ups

A Six Year Old Surfs at Clark Lake

Look what happened to this six-year old on her visit to Clark Lake today.  Leona and her family are from Wisconsin and are visiting their cousins, the Lajdziak’s.  As many at Clark Lake know, Andrew Lajdziak is wake board expert.  There is little he can’t do, including surfing.  Riding behind a boat designed for creating wake, you surf on the wave–no need for a tow rope.  It’s like surfing in California, except at Clark Lake, there are no concerns about undertow, sharks, or the possibility of a tsunami.

Today, Andrew took Leona for the ride of her life.  Here she is under Andrew’s firm protection as they surfed from the west to the east end of the lake.

Clark Lake has spawned champion skiers–people like Jon Broderick, Lynn Vermeulen, Kay Vermeulen, Buzz Belcher, Phil Curtis, Gary Krupa, Tony Krupa, Charlie Timberlake, and others.  In the evolution of skiing has come the wake board.  Slaloms are still around, but skiing has definitely changed, as you can see Andrew demonstrate, below.

If you have questions about the sport, Andrew has answers.  You can find him at Boater’s Choice in Brooklyn.