Join The Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association

Our recommended dues levels, updated for the first time in 20 years in 2022, are $50, $100, $250, $500 and $1,000. To join with a credit or debit card click the button below this text that says Membership Dues.  Or write a check to the Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association and send it to P.O. Box 8, Elk Rapids, MI. 49629. ESLA Membership is open to all.


ESLA’s board was uncertain of the reaction when it created a way 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. Enthusiasm for the program has been remarkable and ESLA’s board has decided to make this program ongoing. To support ESLA’s Strategic Environmental Fund, we have extended the program indefinitely. But to be listed in our February member appreciation newsletter as a 2022 ESLA Champion, your contribution must be completed by Dec. 31, 2022. If you have questions or think you might be interested in becoming an ESLA Champion, contact Dean Ginther at 231-676-2928 or [email protected].

Hot Off The Press:

February 2023 ESLA Newsletter (click to open).


To check on whether you’ve paid 2022 dues or for any other questions regarding membership contact Deanna Seifried at 937-602-2295 or through [email protected]. Your dues allow ESLA to support its many initiatives to “protect and preserve” our waters. You must pay dues by Dec. 31 to be listed in our member appreciation newsletter that is mailed in February. You can pay dues by mailing a check to Elk-Skegemog Lakes Assn., Box 8, Elk Rapids, MI  49630, please include your email, and the address of your ESLA waterfront property if it’s not on the check. You may also pay with a credit or debit card on our website.

In more than a decade of living on the east-facing side of Skegemog Point, we’ve been thrilled to many spectacular sunrises.  Still, the one that delivered a slender, brilliant orange spotlight high into the morning sky on March 14 was one of the best, especially arriving in the final weeks of what’s otherwise been a remarkably gray, cloudy winter.

  — Bob Campbell, ESLA president


Members embraced ESLA’s five “It’s a Shore Thing” events with large turnouts this year.

April Shore Thing: Fishing guides Fred Fields of “Coach’s Charters” and Jim Chamberlain of “Fish with Jim Outfitters” were the featured speakers at Twisted Fish Art Gallery. Fields is one of Michigan’s top smallmouth bass guides and Chamberlain’s specialty is trolling for trout and salmon on Elk and Torch lakes and Grand Traverse Bay. Both of these top guides offered fishing tips and observations on trends.

May Shore Thing: Another large crowd of ESLA members turned out in late May to learn more about our weather from meteorologist Pat Bak from the National Weather Service regional office in Gaylord. His visit happened shortly after a devastating tornado struck Gaylord, one of the worst on record for northern Michigan.

July Shore Thing: Our lake biologist Samantha Ogle and environmental committee leader Jan Garvey explained how ESLA’s 2021 drone-assisted survey of shorelines and shoals has helped ESLA identify invasive species challenges and assist waterfront owners looking to make improvements along their shorelines. A huge turnout and technology challenges that convinced ESLA’s board to move future Shore Things to the Elk Rapids Harbor Pavilion on Grand Traverse East Bay to accommodate larger groups and facilitate visual presentations.

August Shore Thing: Mark Stone, Antrim County’s Director of Dams, explained that increased numbers of high-volume rainstorms has revealed vulnerabilities for our waters and dams in the Elk River Chain of Lakes. He challenged ESLA and other lake associations to lead an effort to find solutions. As in the past, Stone – who will be retiring by the end of 2022 – drew a huge crowd and spoke with passion.

September Shore Thing: Our final 2022 gathering was another major draw, filling every seat at the Harbor Pavilion to hear Hans Van Sumeren, director of the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwest, and two of his students discuss their summer deep-water research in Elk Lake. ESLA’s outreach to Van Sumeren early in 2022 instigated the Elk Lake research that will become an ongoing partnership in 2023 and beyond.

Have a Shore Thing speaker or subject suggestion for 2023? Send an email to [email protected].

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, 9:30 a.m., Thurs., Nov. 3 (Zoom)

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