Join Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association

ESLA’s only source of annual income is membership dues. Your dues allow ESLA’s volunteer board to pay for projects to protect and enhance the water quality, boating safety and enjoyment of Elk and Skegemog lakes and the Torch and Rapid rivers. Basic membership remains $25 per household, although many members pay $50 (captains), $75 (commodores), $100 (admirals) or more to support our shared precious resource and strengthen our collective voice as advocates for our waters.

JOINING IS EASY for first time or renewing members. Click the button above to JOIN ESLA TODAY! Payment by credit card or PayPal. Or send a check to Elk-Skegemog Lakes Assn., PO Box 8, Elk Rapids, MI., 49629 (2020 dues in memo field). Thanks to all who paid dues recently, bringing memberships for 2020 from 200 early this summer to 426, on Sept. 17 – 135 short of our 2019 total of 561. All dues-paid members will be listed in ESLA’s November newsletter.

ESLA is a 501c3 certified not for profit organization!

Virtual “It’s a Shore Thing”

Stay tuned for more interviews in the coming months. If you’ve joined ESLA but we don’t have your email to alert you to website updates, send your request to

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 board meeting virtually with Zoom on September 17, 2020

ESLA members: Report experience, good or bad, with Swimmers Itch.

Click on the first tab below to report your SI experience. Click on the second tab for the latest tips to avoid SI infection.

FWS Prevention 2020

Flushing the Future – The Challenge of Failing Septic Systems

The premiere showing at the Leelanau Clean Water Symposium. In this 16-minute documentary, we talk with nationally recognized wastewater experts, human health professionals and policy experts to discover the water quality risks posed by failing and broken septic system.
Joe VanderMeulen, M.S., Ph.D.
Science Journalism / Videography

Boat Wash First – Stop Aquatic Hitch Hikers

The date was moved once or twice, but thanks to a first year agreement with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (TOM), ESLA brought the gospel of “Clean, Drain and Dry” to Whitewater Township Park’s boat launch last month.

Trailer boaters launching at the park’s ramp on the morning of Sunday, August 9 received handouts promoting the state’s 2019 law to “Clean, Drain and Dry” their boats and trailers before launching to prevent the spread of aquatic invaders like zebra mussels and Eurasian Water Milfoil.  The invaders use bilge water, bait tanks and hulls and trailer bunks to hitch rides from one body of water to another.
The Whitewater Park boaters also had an opportunity to have their boat power washed by the TOM crew of Lizy Michaelson and Garrett Greer.  Of about 12 boaters who launched, only one took advantage.
A second event was scheduled for the state Department of Natural Resources Baggs Road launch from 2-6 p.m. on Friday, August 21. The portable, self-contained boat wash unit is on loan to TOM from the U.S. Forest Service.

Invasive Species Michigan Law 2019

More Info

To comply with the law and prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, boaters should:

  1. CLEAN boats, trailers and equipment.
  2. DRAIN live wells, bilges and all water.
  3. DRY boats and equipment.
  4. DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.

More Info
Current News

A LOVE STORY: Two of world’s oldest loons, longtime mates return to Seney National Wildlife Refuge

SENEY, Mich. (WJMN) – Two of the world’s oldest documented Common Loons on the planet have returned back to their home on the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. But the history between the male called the ABJ and the female named Fe is much more than that. As their love story began 23 years back on the refuge.

According to Damon McCormick of Common Coast Research and Conservation, the ABJ and Fe have been paired on the refuge since 1997. McCormick has done much of the work on this population of loons.

Read More

Here is a picture I took from our yard.  Around 9 pm I took my camera outside to see if there would be any good sunset pics. No joy on that but as I watched the sun go down behind dense clouds I noticed there was a front with thunder and lightning moving in from the west across the lake. So I switched modes and got my lightning trigger attached to the camera (first time I have ever used it). This was the most interesting catch. It is kind of amazing that a little electronic device can actually anticipate (sometimes) a lightning strike.

Dean W. Ginther

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.