Hot Off The Presses:

FRIDAY, AUG. 26 ESLA SHORE THING: Mark Stone’s Swan Song

If you’ve never heard Mark Stone, Antrim County’s Director of Dams and Drain Commissioner, get to the Elk Rapids Harbor Pavilion at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26. It’ll likely be your final chance to hear from the elected official who arguably has been the Elk River Chain of Lakes’ strongest advocate for a quarter century.

Stone is stepping down, too, from his role as the keeper of the Elk Rapids and Bellaire dams. While he’s on his way out on his own timetable, he’s not going quietly. This summer, Stone has presented findings of the Army Corps of Engineers’ recent hydrological study of the chain of lakes that he was instrumental in bringing to the chain. Recently, he’s been encouraging lake association leaders to plan for uncertain times ahead.

We guarantee he’ll say things that will surprise, challenge, and – perhaps – inspire how you think seriously about the future of our shared waters. Doors of the bayside pavilion open at 5. As usual, we’ll have wine, water, and snacks before Stone’s talk begins around 5:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 22 SHORE THING: A peek at Elk Lake’s depths

We’ve moved Stone’s talk to August to better accommodate his schedule as well as our final Shore Thing speakers on Thursday, Sept. 22 — same time and location.

Hans VanSumeren, director of the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College, and his students will present findings from their summer research using sophisticated technology to get our best idea yet what’s happening in Elk Lake’s deeper waters. ESLA successfully sought the NMC experts, who typically focus on the Great Lakes, last winter. Moving their presentation to September gives the crew a chance to deploy its remote-operated vehicle to capture photos and, possibly, some scoops from the deep waters in early September.

One hint: Some of the most remarkable bottom structure was found around the deep underwater islands just offshore from the Elk Rapids Golf Club. No, it’s not piles of errant white balls.


ESLA’s board was uncertain of the reaction when it created an opportunity for supporters to show a deep commitment to ESLA’s work when it created a “Champion” giving opportunity to those who made a $5,000 contribution in a single year. Then, we modified the program to allow members who committed $1,000 annually for five years by Aug. 31, to become Champions, as well. We’re happy to report that enthusiasm for the program has been remarkable and have extended until Oct. 31 the opportunity to make a commitment of up to 5 years with an initial payment of at least $1,000. Champions’ contributions are being used to establish an ESLA Strategic Environmental Fund.

If you have questions or think you might be interested in becoming an ESLA Champion, contact Dean Ginther at 231-676-2928 or ElkSkegemogLakes@gmail.com

-Bob Campbell, President

Join The Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association

News and Upcoming Events


“Why Are We Enduring More Severe Storms Thing.” The regional National Weather Service office in Gaylord, the site of the tragic F3 tornado (highest intensity ranking in Michigan since 2012), is sending one of its top meteorologists to clue us in on trends they’re documenting. Expect discussion on the increasing frequency of intense, long-lasting rainstorms, why they’re happening and the erosion threat they pose to our waters.

IT’S A (FISHING) SHORE THING – April 22, 2022 (Friday)

ESLA plans to videotape our “Shore Thing” events in 2022 for our members who may be interested but can’t attend in person. The events are held on the fourth Fridays of the months of April, May, July, August, and September at 5 p.m. at Twisted Fish Art Gallery in Elk Rapids. The first Shore Thing this year was Friday, April 22, and featured two fishing guides – smallmouth bass specialist Fred Fields and salmon/trout expert Jim Chamberlain. The video is featured here:

ESLA Meetings and Events 2022

Board/Member Calendar

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs, May 19 (Zoom)

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

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs., July 15

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs., Sept. 15

Board, Thurs. 10 a.m., Dec. 1 (Zoom)

Annual Meeting June  23 – ER Pavillion

For the second straight year, ESLA will hold its annual meeting at the Elk Rapids Harbor Pavillion (next to the boat ramp). Mark your calendars for June 23, a Thursday. We’ll return to a more convivial gathering with pandemic concerns abating. A social hour begins at 5:15 p.m. with appetizers, wine, beer and soft drinks. The formal program will begin around 6 p.m. In a change from our typical featured single speaker, we’ll introduce you to project leaders on our board and our lake biologist and they’ll explain some of the sustained, as well as new projects for 2022. Because we use the occasion to vote on board appointments, you’ll need to be a dues-paying member to attend. Looking forward to a big turnout!


ESLA has two remaining “It’s a Shore Thing” events – Friday, Aug. 26, and Thursday, Sept. 22 – for 2022. All begin at 5 p.m. at the Elk Rapids Harbor Pavilion on East Bay (next to the boat launch).   Wine, water, and snacks will be available before our featured speakers begin around 5:30 p.m.

We recently moved the Shore Things to the harbor pavilion because our attendance had grown beyond what could be accommodated at Twisted Fish Art Gallery. We thank Twisted Fish owners for their years of support for ESLA and hope you continue to patronize the gallery. Details on the remaining events are below.

Friday, Aug. 26: It’s a Hydrology Thing — Mark Stone, Antrim County Director of Dams, will explain the findings of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study, supported by grants from Antrim County and in-kind support from the Intermediate Lake Association. The study is building a mathematical model of the hydrology and hydraulics of the chain of lakes to use as a tool to evaluate flood scenarios and potential solutions to the increasing frequency of multi-day, intense rainstorms.

Thursday, Sept. 22: It’s a Deep Thing — Hans Van Sumeren, director of the Greater Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College, and his students will explain the results of the Elk Lake Deep Water research this summer. It’s a first-time collaboration for ESLA with Van Sumeren and his highly-regarded program.

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 ElkSkegemoglakes@gmail.com.

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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