Spirit Trail Manicure

photo (35)Recently John and Jackie Calhoun went to work on the section of the Spirit Trail which connects Oakwood to South Woodlands. The result? The path is now nicely manicured. The accompanying photo really doesn’t do it justice. So next time you’re in that area, please look it over for yourself.

Most residents know that nature tends to take back what she thinks is hers, and it doesn’t take long for it to happen at Clark Lake. This is especially true of the Spirit Trail. Without the work of the many volunteers, including the Calhoun’s, the Trail would not be as nearly inviting as it is. It’s not an accident that so much of the area that surrounds Clark Lake looks this good!

 

High Noon Raft-Ride Count

Rented boat slips on the tip of Eagle Point

Rented boat slips on the tip of Eagle Point

Even if you think you know Clark Lake well, there is always more to know–and that makes life interesting here.  Flip and Linda Reynolds, along with Ann Swain, conducted a raft-ride count Friday, August 30th.  They offer these findings:

Clark Lake has 350 lake front houses.  They counted six condos, ten apartments, one office building, one commercial office, a light house, pineapple house, a lighthouse, and two restaurants.  Both the office building and commercial building are on Hyde Road, adjacent to each other but separated by Vining Street.  The office building at one time housed Hopkins Grocery and the Clark Lake Post Office. Today it provides office space for attorney Dennis Hurst and an organization called KEMA.  The commercial building is Your Hometown USA, a printing business.  The lake also has a wonderful Community Center (located in the County Park)

Clark Lake Yacht Club.  Many of the lake's sailboats are moored here.

Clark Lake Yacht Club. Many of the lake’s sailboats are moored here.

A count of several years ago showed 365 houses on the lake.  Where did the 15 missing houses go?  Likely, it was the combining of lots making it possible for residents to build bigger homes.  Under Vital Statistics and Boat Count on this website, you’ll find that a house count was conducted in 1972 by Bill Ligibel.  His count showed 346.

The “high noon” crew counted 363 docks on the lake.  They noted that there are two permanent piers–Ocean Beach and Clark Lake Boat and Beach Club (formerly Consumers Power Clubhouse), one gas dock (Eagle Point), two bar/restaurant docks, and nineteen docks with rental slips.

This view of the Clarklake Beach and Boat Club does not include most of the many rented boat slips, but it does give a view of the permanent pier.  For many years this facility operated for the benefit of the employees of Consumers Power

This view of the Clarklake Beach and Boat Club does not include most of the many rented boat slips, but it does give a view of the permanent pier. For many years this facility operated for the benefit of the employees of Consumers Power

There are five boat launches on the lake, two of which are available to the public without fee–Hyde Road and Ocean Beach Road.  The other launches are at Eagle Point, Clark Lake Yacht Club, and the Clark Lake Boat and Beach Club.

Flip, Linda and Ann devoted their personal time to this project.  And according to Flip for good reason “don’t you agree we have it ALL–what a wonderful place to live and play.”  And he suggests others also email their news to this website.  clarklakespirit@gmail.com.

Gas Leak Followup

This is the "after" picture.

This is the “after” picture.

Consumers Energy worked yesterday on a natural gas leak reported by a resident on Vining Street (off of Hyde Road).  During the repair, gas service to at least three houses was shut off.  According to neighbors, Consumers late yesterday capped the line they thought was the source of the leak and rerouted service to the affected dwellings.  As of today, Saturday, August 31, this area is no longer blocked by construction equipment. As mentioned in the previous post, a laundromat once stood in this general location.  It met a sudden demise from what might have been a similar problem.

Gas Leak

You can see the edge of the Spirit Trail in the upper right of this photo, taken on Friday, August 30th.

You can see the edge of the Spirit Trail in the upper right of this photo, taken on Friday, August 30th.

A Vining Street household reported smelling the telltale odor of natural gas.  And when Consumers Energy investigated, their suspicions were confirmed as CE’s sensors indicated its presence.  That began a process of identifying the source of the leak.  You can see this work progressing in the accompanying photo taken on Friday, August 30.  There is some irony to the situation.  Some Clark Lakers will remember the laundromat that once stood in that area a number of years ago.  It met a sudden demise possibly from a similar problem that went unchecked.

Those attempting to access Lions Park or the Spirit Trail from Vining Street (off of Hyde Road) may find some equipment partially blocking their destination.

Dam Trouble?

The dam at Ocean Beach on January 31, 2013

The dam at Ocean Beach on January 31, 2013

Last winter, the lake thawed twice.  On January 31st ice floes jammed the dam and the stream beyond it, and it looked like flooding could result.  Columbia Township officials considered options and were preparing for action if it became necessary.  It was thought that a back-hoe might be the right tool to free up the jam.  As it turned out, the situation corrected itself and all was well.  Fortunately the dam reconstruction, undertaken by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, was mostly complete and the dam withstood the extra pounding without problem.

This view shows the stream leaving the dam.

This view shows the stream leaving the dam.

Danny Omo and JFK

Danny and crew getting some sun up on the roof.

Danny and crew getting some sun up on the roof.

Plans for the website continue to unfold, including this new feature called “Round the Lake”. You can expect to find it here periodically and located primarily in the News and Events section. This is the first of the series.

With weather cooperating, Danny Omo has been working hard at reroofing his house on Hyde Road. Danny, a true DIY guy, has been working right alongside the crew from Keiser Construction.

So is there really a connection between Danny and JFK? It was one of the former president’s axioms that fit’s Danny’s situation and turns out to be good advice for the rest of us “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”

 

Great American Crab Races

May the best crab win!

May the best crab win!

Fans will be happy to know that the event returns again next summer.  Plans call for the Crab Races to be held Sunday, July 13 through Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Clark Lake Boat Count 2013

Once again rafts own the big number even though their numbers are off slightly from last year. The upsurge in kayaks continues unabated with every year since 2002 showing an increase.

The crew poses for glamour shot (left to right) Bill Tuttle, Joe Rumler, Mike Beebe, Mike Hendges and Jim Bretes (crouching)

The crew poses for glamor shot (left to right) Bill Tuttle, Joe Rumler, Mike Beebe, Mike Hendges and Jim Bretes (crouching)

Since 1987, Bill Tuttle has conducted this count. To get a handle on the mechanics of the count, scroll below “highlights” on this page. For every data detail imaginable, click Vital Statistics. But we recommend that you start with the highlights below.

Total number of boats
The total number of boats this year is 1254, that’s down from last year (1312) and down from the peak year of 2008 when 1350 were counted. In 1960 there were only 713. Between 1960 and the next available count in 1987, the number grew to 1178. (Counts from 1961 through 1986 are no longer available. Please see the explanation near the end of this post).

Rafts are number one
Rafts dominate with 523, that’s down from the all-time high of 556 in 2012. The low number was 1960 with 222. Since 1960, raft numbers climbed even though some dips occurred along the way (such as 1990 when 232 were counted).

An explosion of kayaks bolster person-powered craft count
The big story is kayaks. This year is their best ever showing with 164 counted. They got their start on the lake around 2000 and have multiplied like Clark Lake chipmunks ever since. Because of kayaks, all person-powered craft (canoes, paddle boats, kayaks) came in with their strongest showing this year (247). Over the years, the number of canoes has varied, but there are no apparent long term trends. There were 29 canoes in 1987, 40 in 1990, 10 in 1996 and 2001, 28 in 2013. Paddle boats peaked in 1989 (111) and have declined steadily ever since. This year they came in at 55.

Sailing craft
The largest count of all sailing craft was recorded in 1987 with 257, and it’s down to 73 this year. Hobies also peaked out in 1987, and other sailing craft been decline for years. Outside of 1960 (50), this year’s count showed the lowest number with only 73. Regular sailboats peaked at 147 in 1987 and are down to 41 this year. There are 24 Hobies this year, down from 29 last year but up from a low of 16 in 2002. In the early 1980s Clark Lake’s Hobie Cat Fleet 58 was the second largest fleet in the world for an inland lake (second only to an inland lake in South Africa).

Bill Tuttle captains

Bill Tuttle captains

Motor powered crafts, not counting rafts and jet skis, are in decline
The remaining motor powered crafts reached a peak in 1991 (460) and touched a low this year with 261. Today, the most motor powered crafts are inboard-outboards (107) followed by inboards (69).

Jet skis are declining
Having reached a peak of 196 in 2005, jet skis declined to 126 this year.

Boats per houses on the lake
There are about 365 houses on the lake. Using this number as a base, the largest number of boats per house were counted in 2006 and 2008 (2.9 per house). This year there were 2.6 per house.

How the boat clubs affect the count
The long-term trend shows a rise of boats docked at clubs compared to boats docked at houses. The total number of boats at clubs is 322, down from a peak of 356 last year. This year 26% of all boats were docked in clubs, about the same as last year (27%). The lowest percentage docked at clubs was 17% in 1992.

About the Boat Count
This is the 55th annual boat count. Traditionally it takes place at 6 am on the 4th of July under the theory that most boats that would be in the water were in the water by then. At 6 am most boats would at their dock rather than on the lake. As always, Bill Tuttle was in charge of the crew that circled the lake. Bill captained the raft, Mike Beebe was scribe, Joe Rumler called out the numbers as the crew passed by each dock. Jim Bretes and Mike Hendges assisted. Because of extreme shallow water, the count of boats in Pierce Bay was done by canoe courtesy of Josie and Frank Hones.

Bill Beebe performing the duties of scribe

Bill Beebe performing the duties of scribe

The history of the count goes back to 1959. For years, it was conducted by Bowser Eagy. After his passing, Bill Tuttle took up the mantle. Unfortunately the counts from years 1961 to 1986 were lost forever when Bowser’s estate was processed.

If you look over the chart in Vital Statistics, you’ll also notice that 2009 and 2010 are missing. Bill Tuttle now says that he has discovered that chipmunks ate the data for those two years. And in support of that story, there are a lot of chipmunks residing here. Bill has, however, discovered an iPhone app that is supposed to recover data from errant animals. We’ll see if it works.

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

The number of boats per house was calculated by subtracting boats docked at clubs from the total number and then dividing by 365. The 365 number is seen to be fairly consistent year-to- year. But reaching back to the early 70s, there were fewer lakefront structures. On August 9, 1972, Bill Ligibel counted 346 lakefront cottages.

 

Water Quality Results

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 continually pour fresh water into the lake.

The latest water quality results are in.  Each year Carolyn Zader works on this project with the purpose of monitoring the lake’s condition based on several different measures.  You can find her interesting report under the Vital Statistics pull-down menu and by clicking on Water Quality.

Meet Dan!

Dan Matthews

Dan Matthews

Meet Dan Matthews.  Neighbors have bestowed upon him the title of “Mayor of Clark Lake.” Dan has earned this title as he has made many friends here at the lake.  Most days you can find Dan on his comfortable swing in his backyard often chatting with others on the swing or catching up on the latest with passers-by.  Dan and his wife, Julaine, live on Lakeview (west end).