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Shared Celebrations: GLA and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Education, News December 21, 2020 No Response

Little Glen with Dune View

  The year 2020 will be etched in history for many reasons. But despite the pandemic, chaotic politics and a world turned upside down, there have been bright spots. Among them are two neighboring Leelanau County entities that share like missions and vision: the Glen Lake Association and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL). GLA marked 75 years since its founding in 1945 by forward-thinking area residents, followed by the SBDNL’s establishment in 1970 and its celebration of 50 years as part of the National Park Service. Not surprisingly, both the national park and GLA have experienced challenges over the years as they address the paramount task of preserving and protecting the fragile natural wonders they oversee. Both organizations have adhered to their goals of environmental stewardship. The fact that 40 percent of the Glen Lake/ Crystal River is adjacent to or within the park’s boundaries is another protection, and most acknowledge how different this region would be without the park’s existence. Click here to view GLA’s 75th Tribute video. SBDNL has attracted over 50 million visitors since its founding. The National Park Service is the prime caretaker of the dunes, forests and waters it seeks to preserve while inviting the public to enjoy and not destroy. On the other hand, GLA espouses sound stewardship of their watershed, educating their members, visitors and community, while imparting the fragility of this natural beauty we’re privileged to share. In the words of retired park ranger, historian and author, Tom VanZoeren, it’s time to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead: “Abraham Lincoln helped lay the groundwork for the world’s first National Parks—an American invention, said by some to be our country’s best idea.” Many decades later, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was born of terrible struggle and difficulty. Those who sacrificed their homes deserve our gratitude. Creation of the park—Michigan’s crown jewel—has now paid off many times over.  Glen Lake rests splendidly at the center of our park. For those of us lucky enough to live or visit here, surely it is incumbent that we pass this place on to our grandchildren and their grandchildren, as pure as the place we’ve been privileged to enjoy. The Glen Lake Association has assumed the mission of caring for this deep blue body of fresh water. We’ve learned much about how to do so in recent decades. In observance of a half-century of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, let’s resolve to redouble our efforts—and leave our children the cleanest, purest, noblest lake and park that we can. Happy Anniversary to our partner—SBDNL—and best wishes for the next 50 years!

Overlay District: Hard to be a Visionary

Education, News December 7, 2020 No Response

Gaining support for a plan for the future is not easy, especially when the need isn’t apparent.

The Glen Lake/Crystal River Watershed is a case in point.

A casual look around our hills and shorelines suggests that “all is well.”  It begs the question: why do we need to plan ahead?  Observations around the watershed include: “Why, our water quality is as good as ever. It hasn’t changed much over the last several decades.”

In fact, water quality degradation is often slow and incremental over time. Increased recreational use of our lakes and river, combined with the aging process accelerated by many septic systems (even when they are functioning well), can cause irreversible aging.  Our renowned vibrant blue lakes may even turn green. Once they do that, it’s impossible to roll back the clock.

One protection tool that can be used to slow their aging process is to add supplemental zoning focused on protecting our ground and surface water.  This supplement zoning is often called an Overlay District. 

A three-year, science based process involving the work of multiple community members has resulted in an opportunity to step up efforts to guide future development. As responsible watershed residents, it’s well worth our time to inspect the proposed Glen Lake/Crystal River Watershed Overlay District.

Remember, what we have today is for tomorrow, but only if we plan ahead.


Today’s the Day!

Education, News November 30, 2020 No Response

Help us celebrate Giving Tuesday and protect, preserve and continue to improve our water resources in the beautiful Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed.

By giving a gift to the Glen Lake Association, you will join friends, neighbors and the community to keep our lakes, streams and groundwater clean – today and for future generations.

 We invite you to support GLA’s Watershed Scientist position to ensure water quality by:

  •          providing ongoing testing and research
  •          preventing and removing invasive species from our waters
  •          educating our community on best management practices
  •          advocating for clean water with our partners and constituents

GLA’s 75th Anniversary Celebration is coming to a close at year’s end. But the need to protect our precious waters continues.

Click here to donate to GLA

Ways to get involved:

  •  Donate online on Giving Tuesday on the GLA website.
  •  Become a GLA member or volunteer.
  •  Donations are also welcome to our General Fund for operating expenses including invasive species research and the critically important boat wash program.

Your gift today will help fund GLA’s Watershed Scientist position into the future.