Clark Lake Boat Count–1914 !

Since 1987, Bill Tuttle has conducted the Clark Lake Boat Count every summer. Bowser Eagy conducted the count through 1986, having originated the boat count idea in 1959. Or did he?

New information has surfaced that gives a fascinating look at a boat count taken much earlier—in the 1900s! Pleasant View Hotel printed stationery that highlighted facts and figures about the lake. This stationery shows a total of 35 “launches” on the lake.  Contrast that with more recent counts–there was a total of 713 boats in 1960 (see Boat Count under Vital Statistics). By 2013, that number had grown to 1,254.

Also noted on the stationery are the kind of boats—steel, canvas, Old Town and Maine canoes, and sailboats. The list of facts doesn’t stop there. The most recent count of springs (artesian wells) along the shoreline of the lake shows a total of 130. In 1914, there were only 30.

Bill Ligibel recorded the 1972 house count on an inside wall of his garage where it remains to this day

Bill Ligibel recorded the 1972 house count on an inside wall of his garage where it remains to this day

In August 1972, a count revealed 346 lakefront houses. Several years ago, the number had risen to 365. In summer 2013 a new count found fewer lakefront houses—350. How many were there in 1914? The Pleasant View stationery shows that there were 150 cottages “around the lake.” It doesn’t specify if those were lakefront cottages.

And then there is another statistic about Clark Lake to ponder. Look carefully and you will see it—No Mosquitos!


Wakeboard Photos from Sept 28, 2013

There are photos from the 2013 Shrinkage Showdown Wakeboard Competition at Eagle Point on Saturday, September 28th.  For more details, scroll down in News and Events.

Wakeboards Wow Clark Lake

IMG_3174Recently Turner Movie Classics showed a newsreel film from the late 1940s that showcased a new sport—water skiing! Each daring participants rode on two skies behind a boat running at about 22 mph. They even took one hand off the tow rope handle, and courageously waved to the camera! Could they have only envisioned what took place today on Clark Lake!

The 2013 Shrinkage Showdown Wakeboard Competition wowed those who came out to view it. Several groups of competitors were scheduled to show their stuff: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced, Outlaw, Wakeskate, and Doubleskate. With each group, the display grew more impressive and exciting (see photos-click on them to enlarge…click again to reduce).



Unlike slalom water skiing competition, the course is not as exact and is determined by distance and not timed. Today’s course ran from near the Yacht Club to the cove north just north of Kentucky Point. Competitors chose their preferred speed and length of tow rope. Each had two passes.


The participant’s starting area was Eagle Point where spectators also gathered to watch. Those coming by saw a Nautique display and other related items. The event was sponsored by Boater’s Choice, Brooklyn.

You can find the results posted below the photos.


1st – Kaitlyn Adams
2nd – Evan Maley
3rd – Rachel Meier


1st – Brendon Thibodeau
2nd – Shannon Sahinbas
3rd – Conner Edger


1st – Mervin Schwartz
2nd – Steve Rokita
3rd – Drew Rokita


1st – Eric Blasiman
2nd – Ryan Tuckfield
3rd – Andrew Lajdziak


1st – Brendon Thibodeau
2nd – Kaitlyn Adams

Double up:

Best Trick – Mervin Schwartz


Beer Fest and Perfect Fall Weather

If there were a perfect day to have Beer Fest, today was it! As one of several recent awesome fall days, today couldn’t be beat. That set the tone for the Third Annual Beer Fest to benefit the Clark Lake Spirit Trail. The event was held at the Beach Bar from noon to 5 pm. Those attending sampled dozens of craft brews and enjoyed live music under the friendly autumn sun.

B.J. and Friends

B.J. and Friends

Trish and Sally

Trish and Sally

Tucker says "yes" to Beer Fest

Tucker says “yes” to Beer Fest

Friendly servers Barry and Becky

Friendly servers Barry and Becky

Third Annual Beerfest Saturday Sept 28th!

8228If you enjoy sampling craft brews, you’ll want to visit the Third Annual Clark Lake Spirit Trail Beerfest. There will be over 50 of America’s best craft brews. Plus the music is hard to beat—live bands all day accompanied by great food at the Beach Bar, 3505 Ocean Beach Road, Clark Lake. Ticket price $25, and for a good cause—the Clark Lake Spirit Trail. Plan now for fun on this Saturday (Sept. 28th), from noon to 5 pm. Twenty-one and over and valid ID required.

Wakeboard Tournament at Clark Lake on Saturday

1234298_10151906014996873_1650043751_n[1]The 2013 Shrinkage Showdown Wakeboard Competition takes place at Eagle Point starting at 9 am on Saturday (Sept 28th). Competition starts with the beginners, followed by five more classes in this order: Intermediate (no inverts but can clear both wakes), Advanced (1-3 inverts), Outlaw (4 or more inverts), Wakeskate, Double-up (depending on interest). Each class is allowed one fall.

Some vocabulary: an invert is when a rider goes upside down while in the air. A wakeskate is a combination of a wakeboard and skateboard. This board doesn’t have bindings, is smaller, and is covered with grip tape.

Pre-registration is available and registration at the site begins at 7:30 am. Competitors must be WWA or INT members to compete (you can buy a day membership for $30; or yearly, for $60). Proof of membership is necessary on the day of competition.995358_10151702622146873_575372_n[1]

The event is sponsored by Boater’s Choice, Brooklyn. The event organizer is Eric Blasiman, who does sales and marketing for Boater’s Choice. For more information:


How Well Do You Know Clark Lake?

If you’re like many others, you have one view of the lake if you’re boating on it, but it can look quite different when you see it on a map or from the air. On the map the lake seems long and narrow; but when you’re on it, it seems like two round sections that are connected by a narrow spot between Eagle Point and Kentucky Point.

Bill Tuttle at Kentucky Point, measuring the distance to Eagle Point

To fill-in our Clark Lake knowledge-gap, Bill Tuttle has made some new measurements. For years Bill has conducted the annual July 4th Boat Count. So it’s only right that when it comes to updating our knowledge of the lake’s dimension, he is the one to do it.

From past measurements, we know that the lake is 2 and 1/8th miles, end to end. But what is its widest point, if you define width as the measure from north-to-south? The widest point is in a surprising location, and it really does seem counter-intuitive. If you draw a line on a map from a spot near 6000 N. Shore to a spot near 800 Lakeview (west end), you find the greatest width. Further, if you measure the distance, it is 885 yards.

What are some other distances between well-known landmarks?

Kentucky Point to Eagle Point –420 yards
Kentucky Point to Mud Point – 1023 yards
Kentucky Point to Clark Beach and Boat Club – 1100 yards
Eagle Point to Clark Lake Beach and Boat Club – 720 yards
Eagle Point to Mud Point – 1350 yards
Eagle Point to Clark Lake Yacht Club – 800 yards

Clark Lake Beach and Boat Club to Clark Lake Yacht Club – 700 yards
Columbia Township Park to Mud Point – 563 yards


Clark Lake has many springs like this one.  They continually pour fresh water into the lake.

Clark Lake has many springs like this one. They continuously pour fresh water into the lake.

Clark Lake is known for being spring-fed. Not only are the underwater vents continuously pumping vast quantities of fresh water into the lake, but many springs along the shoreline also feed the lake. But how many shoreline springs are there? An actual count shows that there are 130. If you break that down by area, most are located in the southwest section of the lake. Here are the numbers by section:

Southwest – 55
Southeast – 33
Northeast – 27
Northwest – 25

Not only are these springs a reason that Clark Lake sparkles, but they also keep the lake level up during dry spells. The summer of 2012 was a dry one. Clark Lake water levels were down; and at one point, no water was falling over the dam at Ocean Beach. But while this merely seemed like a curiosity to us, it was truly bad news for others, like Devils Lake. There, some people found their boats beached while moored at their docks.

Note–Bill Tuttle’s distance measurements were made with a laser measuring device. The widest distance was determined by use of a highly accurate map, and the springs were painstakingly counted one-by-one during a winter where the ice enabled a person to walk the shoreline. Thanks, Bill!


Sailing Regatta at Clark Lake

CLYCBurgeeForAdNot willing to give into the end of summer, sailboats converged this weekend (Sept 21-22) on Clark Lake for the Fall Invitational Race.  Participants came from a number of locations, including Canada.  According to Hugh Harris, Secretary/Treasurer of the Clark Lake Yacht Club, 30 sailboats competed, each in their own class.  The classes were Interlake, Wayfarer, Rebel, Sunfish, and Laser.  There were three races each day.


A Wayfarer, one of the classes competing in the Regatta.

Regular Sunday afternoon sailboat races sponsored by the Yacht Club are a long time tradition at Clark Lake.  From mid-May to Labor Day, the races are held starting at 1 pm and host Rebels, Lasers, and Sunfishes.  The club also holds several public events each season, including the Sail-O-Rama and a learn-to-sail program in the spring.

Mail Pickup Time at Post Office Changes Oct 21st

zip codeStarting October 21st, the last weekday mail pickup at the Clark Lake Post Office will be 2:35 pm (currently 4 pm). The Saturday mail pickup continues to be 11 am. The last weekday pickup at the Brooklyn Post Office moves up to 3:40 pm.

Other hours at the Clark Lake Post Office remain the same. Weekdays, the Clark Lake Post Office opens at 10 am, closes at 1 pm, reopens at 2 pm and closes for the day at 5 pm. Mail will be delivered to boxes in the post office lobby by 11:30 am weekdays; and by 9:30 am, Saturdays.


Clark Lake Gets a Restored Classic

B.J. Lyons

B.J. Lyons

You see a fiberglass inboard from the 1960s that’s showing its years. Who knows how many hours of enjoyment it provided its previous owner? But its best days over. A lot of boats in this tired state face a slow or sudden decline and end up in a salvage yard. But it didn’t happen this time.

About three years ago, B.J. Lyons, and his father, Roger, purchased a 1968 Correct Craft Mustang, and two years ago began an extensive restoration project. The Mustang has become a classic in some circles, and this boat had a well-documented history. It was first used on Whitmore Lake. Then it was sold to someone who used it on Portage Lake near Pinckney; then it moved to its third owner on nearby Ackerson Lake. B. J. said “I’m the fourth owner, and with a classic boat you don’t always get to know its history. In this case, I do!”

The shift lever on the dash and throttle on the floor are the original locations and "correct" for a Mustang of this era.

The shift lever on the dash and throttle on the floor are in the original locations and “correct” for a Mustang of this era.

Finding just the right boat took some time. B.J. commented, “Many of the Mustangs that are still around have been retrofitted in a way that detracts from their classic heritage.” For example, owners often replace the throttle on the floor and gearshift on the dashboard with a simple Morse control for throttle and shifting, as found on most boats today. “My dad and I wanted to preserve the original feel.”

If you think a project like this goes fast and easy, you’ve never owned a boat. A much used definition of boat goes something like this: B O A T = break out another thousand!

For B.J. and Roger, the process began by stripping the Mustang down to the bare bones. In some cases, this meant replacing so much of what was there, it was truly starting over. When the floor was removed, the foam was found to be waterlogged and had the consistency of watermelon. It was cut out.

The many cracks in the hull were ground out and filled in preparation for applying new fiberglass and gel over it.

The many cracks in the hull were ground out and filled in preparation for applying new fiberglass and gel over it.

The wooden stringers, the backbone of the boat that ran its length, had rotted. New ones were installed and fiberglass applied over them. When Indy Body and Marine in Indianapolis prepared to re-gel the hull, they found upwards of 200 cracks. Their resident expert recommended replacing the whole hull. But a donor boat was unavailable, so B.J., his father, and the expert decided the solution was to fix the existing hull. Cracks were meticulously ground out and sanded, filled with epoxy, and re-gelled. The engine had many hours on it and needed work, too. It was lifted out and thoroughly revamped. The seating was reupholstered by someone known for his artistry–Chris Pate of Devils Lake.

According to B.J., “getting the boat to look like a winner was top of mind.” The fittings were pulled off and re-chromed. The old gauges couldn’t be saved and new ones were acquired. When it came to colors, “we wanted something that was in keeping with the classic image but would ‘pop’ when viewed around the boats of today.” The faded red hull and white deck became shiny orange and white.

Vibrant orange gel was applied over the new fiberglass.

Orange gel was applied over the new fiberglass. The hull went from apples to oranges–apple red to vibrant orange

The end of this summer marked the conclusion of the project and the boat’s rebirth. The 16-foot inboard, fitted with a powerful 289 v-8, is now seen cruising Clark Lake as we hold onto the last glimmer of the season. With the project complete, B.J. reflected “The most important thing to me was working together with my dad. Our relationship has always revolved around boats. And this experience is something I’ll always remember.”

B.J. and Roger plan to take the boat on tour next summer at shows where classic Correct Crafts are featured. Their goal? “We hope to win ‘best of show’ wherever we take it,” says B.J.

And when you see the boat on the lake, who’s the proud guy driving it with the smile on his face? Is that B.J.; or is that his father, Roger?

Before on the bottom, after on top. The '68 Mustang went from apple red to orange.  B.J. is married to Sally.  Any speculation that the boat will acquire a name?  Like "Mustang Sally?"

Before below, after above.  B.J. recently married Sally. Any speculation that the boat will acquire a name? Like “Mustang Sally?”