Can You Help?

For a long time, a POW-MIA flag has flown with the American flag at the Clark Lake Community Center.  The flag keeps alive the continuing effort to rescue all American prisoners of war and determine the fate of those missing in action.  This winter, the POW-MIA flag disappeared.  At first it was thought someone took it.  But who could do such a thing?  Recently, the more probable cause was discovered. 

The connector holding the flag to the halyard wore through.  In one of Clark Lake’s strong winds, the flag likely took flight. 

If you have seen the flag, the Community Center would like to hear from you and recover it.  Then the flag symbolizing this important reminder could take its rightful place, watching over the Ring of Honor.

The Clark Lake Community Center has created the Ring of Honor around the flag pole as a salute to active duty service members and veterans who are friends or family of current and past Clark Lake residents.  Recently, John Deming and Walt Reed installed new bricks to become part of the forever story of Clark Lake’s military heroes.

The Community Center’s brick program involves not only the military salute at the Ring of Honor, but bricks remembering the names of people who love or loved Clark Lake.  These bricks surround the three sides of the building.  Below, Greg Kerr is at the site of a newly placed brick with his name and his wife’s. 

If you take a stroll around the path there are many names you’ll recognize.  Sometimes, names are grouped by family.

If you’re interested in a brick, or bricks, click here for details.


Illuminating Clark Lake’s Shorelines

Luminaries lining the shores of Clark Lake. Photo courtesy of Jill BentleyWith Independence Day almost here, the Raft-O-Rama Committee has been working hard on the luminary project–to light up Clark Lake’s shorelines on July 3rd.  Every year, more cottagers participate.  The result?  As dusk descends on Clark Lake, the soft glow of luminaries that will be seen lining the shores.

This weekend, committee members will be going door-to-door around the lake so you can join in.  Over the last couple of weeks, the group has been creating the luminaries–a paper bag, sand to stabilize the bag, and a small candle–over 200 of them.  The luminaries are then placed in a Clark Lake commemorative bag provided through donations from sponsors.  A bag of fully prepared luminaries are $15.  A do it yourself version is available for  $10.

In addition the R-O-R crew circulating the lake, you can also purchase luminaries at Doyle’s Market.

This photo was taken by Diane Deming during the 2016 Independence Day celebration at Clark Lake.

Monday, July 3rd is the date for the luminaries and for displays individuals may launch.  The Beach and Boat Club has said that theirs will occur on Tuesday, July 4th.  Typically one of the biggest displays on the lake is at the east end along Ocean Beach Road.  This  year, the Menard family is delaying their display until Saturday, July 8th.  Read about the Menard’s awesome fireworks tradition at Clark Lake by clicking here.

If you are doing it yourself, here’s the recipe for creating a luminary.

Cleaning Up the Crud

It’s a fact of life at the lake.  Fall leaves and other stray items float to the east end and gather along the shoreline.  One place that’s particularly vulnerable is the shore at the County Park.  Part of the shore is unusable to swimmers because of the lily pads and other vegetation.  The swim area becomes unusable because of the collection of flotsam that settles to the bottom.  Today Bendele Construction was on the scene at the behest of Jackson County to clean it up. 

Bill Bendele comments “at one time, prisoners did this kind of work.  When that stopped, the County asked us to do the work.”  Benedele’s crew has been at it for the last three of four years.  “To get a head start, we began work at the boat launch while the ice was still on the lake.”  The work in the swim area requires special equipment. “I designed a special bucket that acts like a strainer…it dips down, scrapes the leaves, but leaves the bottom intact, and the water returns to the lake.” Bill reports that five truckloads of crud were hauled away today.  “The leaves rot, it creates a bad odor–not too healthy.” According the Bill, the refuse goes to a compost pile where it begins a new life as top soil. 

Photos by John Deming

Last Night’s Sunset: Another Look

Last night, Clark Lake experienced an awesome sunset, with plenty to offer those wanting to capture it via camera.  In this piece, you’ll  find some additional photos added to what was first published last night. 

These three photos were taken by Brandi Zak who took special care to emphasize the sunset’s reflection on the surface of the lake, as well as a look at was happening overhead.

If you did not see the original photos last night, here they are again.  They show the progression of the sunset and the broad difference in colors as it moved through its phases.  While the sun was still in the sky, the predominate color was bright yellow against darker clouds.  As the sun dipped behind the horizon, the colors morph into more and more blue, purple, pink and red.

Second group of photos: Rick Belcher

Unsettled Weather & Sunsets

On days when storms roll through, conditions for sunsets can be at their peak.  Some of that happened today, and the sunset progression tonight is the result.  Below is a series showing the sunset going through its phases.  Notice how the sunset starts with bright yellows contrasted against darker clouds.  As the sun dips behind the horizon, the colors morph into more and more blue, purple, pink and red.



Township Park Controversy Continues

At tonight’s Columbia Township Trustee’s meeting, the Township Park at the west end of Clark Lake, was once again a hot topic.  Judi Kelly, who owns Doyle’s Market and lives on Oakwood, spoke to trustees about her view of the situation during public comment at the beginning of the meeting.

The board discussed the problem and what has been done about it.  Police Chief David Elwell said since the June 1st, his department wrote 34 tickets for infractions in the park.  He also suggested that the park’s reputation as a place to party could be changing as the word gets around about enforcement. 

Some have suggested that the Township Park be available for Columbia Township residents only.  Treasurer John Calhoun commented that the deed for the park may not allow for this option.

Flip Reynolds says “we have to do something to control the crowds and bring it back for our taxpayers who are paying for it and are unable to use it.” Here he describes potential solutions.

Trustees discussed the possibility of establishing a parks commission comprised of Clark Lake residents who would advise the trustees in matters relating to it.

As reported previously on this website, trustees in May voted to authorize the personnel committee to work with legal counsel and police chief to draft a new ordinance.  The personnel committee consists of the township supervisor, clerk, and controller.  Supervisor Bob Elrod said the plan is to “put some teeth in the ordinance.” 

Police Chief David Elwell commented “the ordinance should be revised and modernized.”  He believes most prohibitions should remain in place, but the language of the ordinance should comply with current court requirements.  Ordinance 18 was last voted upon in 1981, and some of that may have been carried forward from earlier versions.  The chief notes “the ultimate goal is to revise the ordinance to reflect the Trustees’ intent and to create a family-friendly atmosphere in the park so that issues that come up in the summer are prevented.”

The group working on revisions may look at regulations and formats in place for Blackman Township and County parks but adapt them for local needs.

As it stands, Township Ordinance 18 governs park activity.  If you peruse it below, you will see that it covers a lot of ground, but apparently falls short of getting the job done in its current form.


Painting at the Lake

If you have an artistic flair urging you to set it free, you could be interested in this event.  It’s a two-hour paint party at the Clark Lake Yacht Club on Friday, June 30 at 6 pm.  They are providing a fun local artist, canvas, brushes, and paint.  During the session, you’ll paint along with the artist who will guide you on the way of creating your own 16 x 20 stretched canvas painting that you take home at the end of the evening.

It’s suggested you arrive about 20 minutes to prepare.  Unless weather dictates otherwise, the event will be held outside along the shore in front of the Yacht Club.

The cost is $35 per person.  For more information or to make a reservation, text (517) 960-9654 or email 

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.