Spotlight on Weeds

Clark Lake’s invasive weeds were under the spotlight at tonight’s meeting of the Columbia Township trustees.  Steve Hanson, representing Professional Lake Management (PLM), summed up important way marks in the battle against hybrid Eurasian water milfoil (HEWM) present in Clark Lake.  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.

The first effort to control  or eradicate HEWM took place in 2015.  The effort was funded by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation through donations.  Treatment was limited by riparian rights and only a small portion of the 30 acres of HEWM was treated.

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.

Watch this 8 minute video, and Steve Hanson will take you chronologically through the war on weeds, explain the different treatment options, and point to the future of the program.  Addressing the trustees, Steve Hanson began by noting the results of the 2015 effort. 

 

PLM at Clark Lake Today

A crew from Professional Lake Management (PLM) is on the lake today gathering information to help thwart the spread of invasive weeds.  Clark Lake’s hybrid or hybrids of Eurasian water milfoil (HEWM) are proving somewhat resistant to treatment.  For that reason, treatment was omitted this season with the goal of determining a more effective approach next year.  A number of scientific tests are being conducted, and the visit to Clark Lake today is part of that process.  PLM’s was also at the lake in August.  They found the results of treatment were better than they once thought. But the lack water clarity in August hindered a more accurate assessment.  

PLM visit to Clark Lake on September 18, 2017

John Deming, chairman of the Invasive Species Committee commented this morning, “in a recent examination of the lake, I was encouraged to find the HEWM was not as extensive as some thought it might be, and that was confirmed by PLM’s check in August.  That suggests the 2016 treatment was somewhat effective.”

Photo from August 2017

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.

 

Clark Lake Spy Cam

Doing its duty as its name implies, the Clark Lake Spy Cam spotted this group of gentlemen.  On a stunningly beautiful afternoon at the lake, were they found missing at work?  When asked, one forlorn response echoed across the water “busted.”  Then another tried to create the narrative that they were going to check on the dam.  Nice try.

Earlier, when this person was picked up from a dock, something was said about roasted pork chops.   Names have been omitted as some may be in the witness protection program.

 

Gloria Steinem and the Dam

“I have memories of playing on that dam as a child,” says Gloria Steinem.  The Dam Strong project has focused more attention on the dam.  Though details of its history remain scant, detective work has uncovered some clues.  Flip Reynolds reached out to Gloria Steinem to query what she knew about the dam.  “During the time that my parents, Ruth and Leo Steinem, owned 40 ares or so of lakefront property there, I remember that the dam was said to be the only one in the state of Michigan that was on private property.”  In her email to Flip, she adds “our family was also responsible for its repair as well as for dredging the creek on the other side of Ocean Beach Road.” 

A mysterious name inscribed on the dam’s spillway has fascinated Clark Lakers for years.  Who is “Palmer?”  Gloria Steinem couldn’t help on that one, nor has any definitive information surfaced elsewhere that would identify “Palmer.”

In a previous story on this website, Dr. Philip Riley, who lives on North Shore, said his father told him dam construction took place about 1934 (the Riley’s came to Clark Lake in 1937).  Presumably the 1934 construction was a rebuild.  Indeed circumstantial evidence suggests rebuilds occurred.  Several pieces of large concrete lay around the dam, perhaps discards of previous incarnations.

Nancy Ewing Ashton’s photo c.1943 below raises the question–did the dam pictured have the “Palmer” inscription on it?  And this–examining the photo, John Deming noticed the dead trees in the water.  These trees may have once been on dry land, but water later covered them, causing their demise.  Did the level of the lake rise, and if so, what caused it? 

The next photo shows the 2012 north shoulder rebuild of the dam, funded by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation.  Similar to what is now occurring on the south side, leaks had threatened the integrity of the dam.  A sobering possibility was recognized–should the dam fail, the level of the lake could be reduced 2 1/2 feet or more.  Click here for a video that shows current points of weakness.

Flip Reynold’s other research revealed no written records that would contradict the dam is on private property.  The property’s current owner has given permission for the Dam Strong project to proceed so the south shoulder of the dam is also structurally sound. With funds now secure, it’s expected the construction project will commence in October.  The Dam Strong Honor Roll recognizes those who have contributed.  Click here to review it.

 

Who Needs a 4K TV?

…when you can watch a Clark Lake sunset in real time.  Tonight, the sun put on another astonishing performance for those in the right place, at the right time–Clark Lake.  Be sure to scroll down for the bonus shot.

What better time for an autumn evening boat ride.  Roger and Sandy Lyons take a ride and enjoy the color.

September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017–in front of the Columbia Township office.

Never forget.

Clark Lake’s Awesome Lighting

Yesterday’s sunset was impressive, as many are at Clark Lake.  But the real moments came later.  After the sun was long gone, it left behind these amazing colors.

Then much later, and from the opposite direction, Ann Swain caught the moon making its own entrance in the Clark Lake sky.

Today, the noonday sun changed everything for another Clark Lake postcard. 

 

A Dam Factoid

Through the years, many at Clark Lake have speculated about the origin of the dam on Ocean Beach Road.  And no wonder.  Not only is the dam a Clark Lake icon, but it performs the important function of keeping the lake level where it is.

Phil Riley, Jr., on the dock of his North Shore home

Because of the Dam Strong project to fortify the dam’s infrastructure, the dam is receiving more attention than ever.  But the question remains, when was the dam built and who built it?  Given the history of Clark Lake, it is probable that the current structure is not the original.  And here’s where new information contributes to solving the mystery.  Dr. Phil Riley, whose family came to Clark Lake in 1937, recalls learning about the dam from his father.  Philip Riley Sr. once told Phil Jr. the current (or predecessor to current) dam was built in about 1934 by a man named Morehouse–and that he was never paid for the project.  The photo below, from Nancy Ewing Ashton, shows the dam circa 1943.

The Morehouse name at Clark Lake may be familiar to some.  According to Phil, Morehouse’s cottage was in South Woodlands.  The name may also be familiar because of their manufacturing concern which was located in Jackson–Watts Morehouse.  The company manufactured Watts Morehouse Steelwood Touring Car trunks that could be attached to and detached from your automobile and thus serve as a piece of luggage.  They were popular during the 1920’s and 30’s.

Several attempts have been made to learn more about the history of the dam.  This factoid adds to the quest.  

Oktoberfest Nears at Clark Lake

The Clark Lake Community Center has a new venue for the Harvest Moon Party.

The party’s new location is the Clark Lake Yacht Club.  Once known as the Hayes cottage, this historic building has served as the Yacht Club for many years.  You can feel the tradition as you enter  the great room.

The event starts at 5:30 pm on Saturday, October 14.  As the Oktoberfest theme suggests, German fare is on the menu–authentic wurst and chicken schnitzel, potato salad, a variety of cheeses, pretzels and dessert.  BYOB.

The Persuaders will entertain.  The band is from Clark Lake, so they ought to know the genre that Clark Lakers enjoy.

For those interested in showing their flair for connecting to the theme, the Community Center promises a $100 prize for best costume.  Plus don’t miss the 50/50 drawing.

If that isn’t enough, you may want to do some shopping.  Included in items for bid is an 18-foot Hobie, once sailed competitively by Lynn Vermeulen (sail number 15003).

For your tickets ($50 each), mail a check to PO Box 132, Clarklake, MI 49234.  More info, contact John Deming at 529-9117 or John Karkheck at 745-2929, email jcdcl@comcast.net.  

Clark Lake’s Awesome Moon

After a turbulent afternoon storm, weather cleared on Labor Day Monday.  Karen Menard, and others here at the lake, saw a version of the moon not often witnessed.  At about 2 am, Karen took these photos of the moon in the sky over Clark Lake.  Karen comments “the moon was orange due to the wildfires out west–smoke rising into the atmosphere and the wind taking it across the U.S.”