Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan


November 14, 2019

"The waters of Glen Lake are so pure that with increasing depth, on a clear day the water colors shift from sandy hues of the shallows through aquamarine to some of the deepest blue known."
Leelanau Conservancy
January 2012 Newsletter

We are pleased to share the Strategic Plan of the Glen Lake Association for the 2020-2025 period. This Plan represents input from board members, staff, key stakeholders, and 156 Association members who completed a membership survey. The Association was incorporated 66 years ago with a focus of “advancing the general interest of Glen Lake and surrounding Townships.” Our focus has sharpened to be “all about the water” of this very special place. With this Strategic Plan, we are also opening the potential to become involved, as appropriate, in the “quality of life” of the area, largely due to the immense popularity of this region and questions over the carrying capacity of our lands and waters – the place we love.

We will place priority on implementing the Glen Lake/Crystal River Watershed Plan. With a strong cadre of volunteers, we will continue to be involved in leadership, education and collaborative efforts involving swimmer’s itch; reducing nutrient loading of the watershed; eliminating pollutant sources, including storm water and failed septic systems; supporting ordinances to inspect septic tanks and wells upon ownership transfer; invasive species detection and control; and managing the water level control structure on the Crystal River.

Our VALUES reflect what we stand for: openness, transparency, credibility, integrity, dedication, sacrifice, philanthropy and more. We believe in fact-based decisions, education, and building partnerships to achieve shared goals. We want to leave a legacy, making our special waters, dunes and forests better than before.

Our MISSION defines what we do: To preserve and protect the water quality, natural resources and quality of life in the Glen Lake watershed through leadership, education and collaboration.

By the end of 2025, our VISION is: To be the recognized leader in evidence-based strategies for protecting the Glen Lake watershed while advancing environmental education, sustainable policies and quality of life.

Board voting requirement on quality of life issues:Any Board member may request a vote on "Quality of life" issues. Approval requires nine positive Board votes.

To ensure accountability, we will prepare an Annual Work Plan, based on the Strategic Plan that details major activities, expected results, responsibilities and a budget toward achieving broad goals and milestones for our four areas of focus:

1. Watershed Protection

2. Education and Communication

3. Quality of Life

2. Organizational Development

Focus Area




Watershed Protection

To provide leadership, education and fund development to support development and implementation of the watershed plan in a way that unifies partnering organizations and includes specific measures to track progress.

The watershed management plan is implemented and attaining its goals and objectives in keeping with the plan. Monitoring is advanced through technology toward a goal of 24/7 reporting and sources of pollution are measurably dropping, supported in part by a point of sale septic ordinance.

Promote the adoption of Township/County-wide septic ordinances and other ordinances as appropriate.
Protect against invasive aquatic and plant species.
Update and implement the Glen Lake/Crystal River Watershed Management Plan.
Support and implement the Watershed Protection Plan, including overlay zones that protect water quality.
Provide stewardship education tools for owners & renters.

Education and Communication

To develop and implement an education and communications strategy that creates shared understanding and awareness of priorities, issues and opportunities and measurably supports stewardship of the Glen Lake watershed and community.

Residents, visitors and businesses demonstrate improved awareness through demonstrated stewardship activities and programs.

Develop a communication strategy to members.
Expand the stewardship education program (youth and experiential learning).
Convey value to our membership.

Quality of Life

To provide leadership, education and support collaboration to identify the Association’s appropriate role to address quality of life opportunities and threats, particularly related to the increased visitation, use, demand and development pressures on the Glen Lake watershed and community.

Issues and concerns involving carrying capacity have been reduced through policy and program modifications, education and collaboration.

Build relationship with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the four townships within the watershed and Leelanau County government.
Maintain a manageable carrying capacity.

Organizational Development

To enhance the current and future capacities of the Association to provide leadership, develop financial and human resources and effect both environmental protection and preservation and policy changes in best long-term interest of the Association.

The Association has correctly updated its governance and has materially improved operating practices, succession planning, fund development to implement the Strategic Plan and internal and external collaboration in a way that has built unity and shared goals and objectives.

Fund development strategy.
Review governance structure.
Review and potentially update bylaws.
Develop a systematic volunteer program.
Expand member participation.
Grow membership.
Board succession planning.
Conduct regular board training.
Build strategic alliances.

The following table summarizes our intended 2025 Goals and Milestones and Priority Actions. Our Strategic Plan will be revisited annually to ensure we are attaining progress and responding to evolving conditions and priorities.

What can everyone do?

  • Join in protecting our natural resources and advocating for same – be proud of the theme: "It’s all about the Water!"
  • Become a member.
  • Learn about the Association through newsletters and annual plans, including implementation of this Strategic Plan and Annual Work Plans.
  • Become a Glen Lake Guardian and support stewardship education.
  • Volunteer – let us know how you’d like to become involved.
  • As members, learn about our Board and Committees and consider participation.
  • Give us your thoughts and ask questions – about this Strategic Plan or other matters of concern or interest.
  • Donate to help us attain our annual plans and long term goals.
  • Build your legacy to make a difference to protect and preserve this one-of-kind place.