We are all Guardians and the Glen Lake Association recognizes those who go above and beyond and serve as examples for us all.  Homeowners, business owners, contractors and local units of government that have chosen to develop or redevelop their lakeshore or riverfront properties in full compliance with shoreline zoning ordinances, ecologically sensitive and sustainable principles and maintain their property utilizing best management practices are all eligible to apply. The hope is that through these awards, ecologically responsible development along lakeshore and riverbank will become the fashionable trend. Please download our Stewardship Checklist for more information.

Award Categories

  • Lake-Friendly Protection Strategy: For a governmental unit that creates an ordinance or code that helps preserve the environmental integrity of our lake and river systems.
  • Lake-Friendly Home Construction: For a homeowner or contractor who builds a new home or reconstructs an existing building while preserving environmental integrity.
  • Lakescaping: For a homeowner or contractor who uses native vegetation and mostly natural materials to landscape waterfront property that complies with zoning rules and goes even further to protect the shoreline and improve water quality.

The winners of these awards will receive a framed certificate of appreciation and recognition in the local print media. Winners are announced at our annual meeting each year.

Past winners

  • 2019: The Gass Family and Joe & Barbara Backus Family
  • 2018: Leelanau Conservancy; Greg & Carol Halik; Greg & Sue Besio
  • 2017: Jeff and Diane Hamilton, Steve Christiansen/ Drain Commissioner and Harbor Island Association
  • 2016: Michael and Lori Lyman, John Soderholm
  • 2015: Mike and Candy Hesselbeck, Bob and T Boles, Buzz Long
  • 2014: Kristin Smith, Jeff and Diane Hamilton, Joan Kramps
  • 2013: Matt Ralston and the Leelanau Schools, Shirley Hoagland, Mike and Sarah Litch, Jack Laitala
  • 2012: Rob Karner, Sallyanne Morris, Bruce Lichliter, Gerry and June Powley
  • 2011: Brian MacDonnell and Traverse Outdoors, Joan Kramps, Margaret Gass
  • 2010: Karen Richard and Glen Lake School Envirothons, Jodi Marquis and Mama Bear Restorations, Jack Otto, Brendan Burrows and Ann Derrick
  • 2009: Steve Yancho and the National Park Service, Duane and Chris Shugart, Jack and Renee Beam, the Harbor Island Association, Steve and Kathy McShane
  • 2008: Paul and Mary Finnegan, Vik and Susan Theiss, Glen Arbor and Empire Townships, the Leelanau County Road Commission

How to apply

  • Projects on any riparian property (on lakes and rivers)
  • In Empire, Kasson and Glen Arbor Township
  • Deadline one week prior to annual meeting.
  • Accepted from any homeowner, contractor, lake association member, local government unit, developer or other interested party.
  • Neighbors, nonprofit organizations and government units can nominate others’ projects.
  • No entry fees
  • Submit a completed application, or complete the first part of the application and a Glen Lake Association board member will contact the nominee. Email the completed application to Rob Karner at or mail to: Glen Lake Association, P.O. Box 245, Glen Arbor MI 49636.
  • Questions? Call Rob Karner, 334-7645, or
  • Compliance with zoning standards for setbacks, vegetation maintenance, percent impervious surface, density, are a minimum requirement.
  • Use of native vegetation and natural materials in plantings/landscaping
  • Maintenance of aquatic vegetation
  • Degree of preservation of natural vegetation (especially in shoreland area, but may include upland vegetation if applicable)
  • Aesthetics
  • Minimal impact solutions to problems encountered
  • Other environmental factors such as energy-efficient designs, minimization of artificial lighting.
  • Minimizing potential pollution, use of pervious pavement and earth-friendly products such as recycled materials and certified lumber.
  1. I have read, understand, apply and endorse the “Glen Lake/Crystal River Landowner’s Handbook”
  2. I have my septic system inspected and/or pumped a minimum of every two years.
  3. I abstain from the use of phosphate fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides within 100 feet of the shoreline.
  4. Native vegetation makes up 75% or more of my property between my home and the shoreline.

Judges will be a panel selected by the Glen Lake Association Board