Nearly 500 individuals, couples, trusts, and businesses generously supported ESLA in 2022. Thank you! In 2023, we’ll again continue work to protect, preserve, monitor, educate, and advocate for water quality and member enjoyment of their properties. And we’ll be adding new projects.


New in 2023 is a shoreline greenbelt workshop with contractors and “plankton drags” to gain insight into levels and distribution of critical, bottom-of-the-food-chain phytoplankton in our waters. We’ll remove invasive species like Eurasian watermilfoil and purple loosestrife that your dollars have helped us effectively control. And we’ll aggressively advocate and educate to keep potential disruptive invasives out. Again, ESLA is offering free personalized Greenbelt analysis for members. Request yours at [email protected] Staff and students from Northwestern Michigan College are back for an encore — at ESLA’s urging — to learn more about the deep waters of Elk Lake.  In 2022, their research confirmed the presence of invasive, ecosystem-disrupting quagga mussels. With three newsletters and monthly emailed ESLA-Blasts, we’ll keep you informed.


From April to October, we have an exciting lineup of Shore Thing events speakers, including a report in July from the DNR’s top fisheries biologist in northwestern Michigan on the results of the 2022 fish netting survey in Elk Lake. We will videotape all major events and share them with our members on this website and via ESLA-Blasts.


ESLA dues, at your discretion, range from $50-$1,000. Not surprisingly, costs for contractors, hosting events, supporting research, ensuring navigational safety with Skegemog-to-Torch River buoys, and other ESLA work have increased. For returning members, consider — if you can — increasing your support level or even becoming a Champion or Legend.  For the more than two-thirds of those of you sharing the waterfront who have not been paid ESLA dues, please consider joining at any level. In 2022, ESLA had 16 Champions with immediate gifts of $5,000 or 5-year pledges to reach $5,000; 23 Business Supporters gave $100-$500; 4 dues contributions were $1,000 or more; 16 were $500-$999; 41 were $250-$499; 211 were $100-$249; 159 were $50-$99. Questions? Contact [email protected] or membership Coordinator Deanna Seifried at 937-602-2295 or a board member who may live near you. Contact Us

To pay 2023 dues or other ESLA support with a credit card, click the button “Membership Dues” below.  Or write a check to the Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association. Send to P.O. Box 8, Elk Rapids, MI. 49629. Membership is open to all.

*ESLA is a 501(c)(3) IRS-certified not-for-profit organization


ESLA’S successful launch in 2022 of a Champion program allowing supporters to show a deep commitment to meet known and future water quality challenges is back in 2023. Champions may make a $5,000 contribution in a single year or commit to reaching $5,000 in support with at least a $1,000 initial contribution. Sixteen individuals, couples, and family trusts stepped up in 2022. Their names were listed in the Member Celebration Newsletter in February ’23. Contributions funded ESLA’s new Strategic Environmental Fund. Questions or Interest in Becoming a Champion? Contact Dean Ginther at 231-676-2928 or [email protected].

Latest ESLA News:

Latest Newsletter

Latest Email Blast


Members turned out in large numbers for ESLA’s Shore Things and Annual Meeting last year. We expect no fewer in 2023. All but the April event will be held at the Pavilion on the bay side of the East Bay boat launch at Elk Rapids Village Marina harbor. The April 19 gathering will be hosted at the Dam Shop restaurant and bar of the Elk Rapids Marina on Elk Lake, 118 Bridge St.

April 19 Wednesday 4 p.m. Shore Thing (@ the Dam Shop): A history lesson featuring four speakers with deep ties to the past of Elk Lake and the village. We’ll gather at 4:30 p.m. for wine, nibbles, and chatting. ESLA President Bob Campbell will emcee. Speakers will be:

  1. Lou Sanford, author of the touching memoir “Meadowpoint,” recounts the love story of his family and Elk Lake. Meadowpoint is the estate where Lou and his wife Karen have lived full-time since the late 1990s. Lou also spent childhood summers at the family estate which once had 800 feet of frontage on Elk Lake.
  2. Norm Veliquette, of cherry growing and processing fame, will talk about Rotary Park’s recent renovations, especially the storyboards and huge mural detailing the connection of greater Elk Rapids to the river and lake.
  3. Bob McCririe, ESLA’s newest board member, will share the passed-down family stories. His great-grandfather owned and operated steamships that delivered passengers to vacation homes and resorts on the Chain of Lakes.
  4. John Conrad, general manager of the ER Marina on Elk Lake, has ties dating back many generations to key movers and shakers in the Elk Rapids business community. He’ll regale us with his stories, too.

We urge ESLA members to stay after the program for a drink at the cash bar and varied food truck menu offerings thedamshop.com/menu for onsite or takeout. Our membership support helps reciprocate the marina owners’ decision this year to include a paid ESLA membership to its nearly 100 boat slip renters as part of their annual contracts.

May 24 Wednesday 5 p.m. Shore Thing (@ the Harbor Pavilion): Glen Chown, the nationally-renowned Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy chief executive, will explain how the organization has achieved such success and highlight acquisitions of sensitive and important properties in and near the Elk and Skegemog watersheds. ESLA past president Bob Kingon will emcee.

June 23 Friday 5 p.m. Annual Meeting (@Harbor Pavilion): We’ll introduce members to ESLA board leaders with key roles carrying out ESLA’s mission to protect, preserve, monitor, educate, and advocate for our precious waters and shorelines. We hope to deliver news from some early summer water quality work. Lots of food goodies, wine, and beer to wash it down.

July 27 Thursday 5 p.m. Shore Thing (@ Harbor Pavilion):  ESLA’s favorite DNR fisheries biologist Heather Hettinger will discuss the findings of last summer’s first fish survey on Elk Lake in more than a decade. ESLA’s “Fish Guy” Ken Krentz will emcee. Our lake association’s advocacy for the survey was a key factor in bringing DNR boats and specialists to our waters for the sampling. Spoiler alert: There’ll be good and worrisome news.

August 25 Friday 5 p.m. Shore Thing (@ Harbor Pavilion): Leslie Meyers, Antrim County’s new Director of Dams, will discuss how she’s following in predecessor Mark Stone’s path to better understand the risks and potential fixes to prevent damage from more frequent high-volume rainstorms. The phenomenon has revealed potential vulnerabilities for our shorelines and the dams in the Elk River Chain of Lakes. ESLA this year helped fund a follow-up to the studies that is specifically focused on the Elk River and Torch Lake outlet into Torch River. ESLA Vice President George Seifried will emcee.

September 21 Thursday 5 p.m. Shore Thing (@ Harbor Pavilion): This date is temporarily leaving this date open for several possible programs with potential revelations from research this summer.

Have a Shore Thing speaker or subject suggestion? Send an email to [email protected].

ESLA Meetings and Events 2023

Board/Member Calendar

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs, May 25 in person, Elk Rapids Old Village Council Chambers

All Member Annual Meeting, 5 p.m. Thursday, June 23, ER Harbor Pavilion

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs., July 20, Old Village Council Chambers

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs., Sept. 15. Old Village Council Chambers

Board, 9:30 a.m., Thurs., Oct. 19 (Zoom)

Board, Thurs. 10 a.m., Dec. 7 (Zoom)

Annual Meeting June  23 – ER Pavillion

ESLA held its annual membership meeting for the second straight year on June  23 at the Elk Rapids Harbor Pavilion with a large crowd that enjoyed wine, beer, and food and a chance to learn more about ESLA’s volunteer board.

Instead, of what’s been single topics from one speaker, the audience got a chance to learn more about the details of what various team leaders were doing. The meeting ended with a rousing pitch for ESLA’s new Champion support program. By the next day, a handful of board members and others had committed to support ESLA’s effort to create a Strategic Environmental Fund by either making a one-time $5,000 donation or a commitment to give $5,000 over a period of time up to five years.

As of mid-October, about a dozen individuals or couples had made the commitment.

Most Recent Blog Posts

Boat Wash First – Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

Boat Wash First – Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

Boat washes can help stop aquatic hitchhikers and reduce the spread of invasive species in our waters. Every year ESLA partners with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council to promote the State’s 2019 law, “Clean, Drain and Dry.” Again, in 2022, ESLA will team up with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (TOM) at various ESLA boat launches. We’re waiting to get on TOM’S schedule for events. These events have added purpose in 2022 with a fast-spreading virus affecting bass showing up regularly last year in the bays of Grand Traverse. We’ll strongly encourage anglers of the importance of draining and wiping down their bait and fish wells to stop the transfer. We need volunteers to pass out literature and talk to trailer boaters. If you want to help, send an email to [email protected].

Virtual “It’s a Shore Thing”

ESLA works with government, non-profits, foundations and private business to promote the health of our lakes and rivers. Watch the interviews here to learn more about issues facing our waters and how you can help. Want more? Check our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter.

Andrea Albert

Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Andrea Albert talks to ESLA’s virtual “It’s a Shore Thing” host Bob Campbell about issues she encounters on our waters and how our members can help her and other officers when they see something amiss.

Mark Stone

Antrim County Director of Dams and Drain Commissioner Mark Stone talks to ESLA’s board about the safety of the Elk Rapids and Bellaire dams and his excitement about a critical study underway of the hydrology of our lakes, rivers and connecting waterways.

Ron Reimink

Ron Reimink, founder of Freshwater Solutions, L.L.C., reveals in an interview with ESLA Environment Committee chair Jan Garvey and VP Bob Campbell what his 2020 research into Swimmers Itch for ESLA showed. Spoiler alert: Think – duck, duck (uh-oh)!

Heather Hettinger

Heather Hettinger, the top Department of Natural Resources biologist in the northwest corner of lower Michigan, answers questions from the ESLA board’s fishing fanatics about the present and future of fishing our waters.

ESLA Committees

Environmental Protection

Researches issues and proposes ESLA positions and programs. Manages protection activities.

Finance Committee

Responsible for reviewing and providing guidance for all of the organization’s financial matters.

Government Relations

Organizes and Maintains ESLA representation with township, county, state and federal agencies.


Manages ESLA newsletter, website, email broadcasts, handbooks, membership directory etc.

Recreation & Safety

Develops programs for water and ice safety, boat and snowmobile safety, water level control.

Governance and Membership

Maintains oversight of all committees. Promotes membership and member services.

Water permit violation notice issued to ER firm

State environmental regulators have ramped up their investigation of an Elk Rapids fruit processing plant’s waste discharges onto its land that drains to Elk Lake. In late 2021, the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy issued a violation notice citing more than 50 occasions where Burnette Foods Inc. exceeded maximum volumes of fruit processing wastes. ESLA first brought the issue to the state’s attention in 2019 and has been carefully monitoring it since then. Click here to read more, including the state’s allegations and Burnette’s response.


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