Why are you here?
It was a warm and sunny August day in 1963 and a ten-year-old girl sported a smart brown checkered two piece and an equally smart bathing cap as she and her sisters splashed in the crystal-clear waters of Torch Lake. The cottage the family rented for their annual vacation perched on the edge of the sandbar where the sand underfoot was rock solid. The girls had the whole of the sandbar to themselves…not another person or boat in sight. Later in the day they would delight in watching the swinging bridge open for the rare boat too large to safely navigate below. That vacation began a nearly sixty-year love affair with Torch Lake. That girl was me. My family went on to purchase a home on the lake where memories were made with grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends for more than 45 years. My husband and I continued the family legacy and have been homeowners on Torch for nearly 30 years. And we’ve been TLPA members since the beginning.
What does this story have to do with you? Well…why are you here? What brought you here? The crystal-clear waters? The rock-hard sand underfoot? The solitude? The slower lifestyle? A place to get away from it all? Why are you here? And more importantly what are you willing to do to ensure that the lake remains an amazing and valuable natural resource for generations to come?
Did you know that only 30 percent of homeowners on Torch Lake are members of the Torch Lake Protection Alliance? Thirty percent. So the 30 percent work tirelessly volunteering or supporting the TLPA to carry the water…so to speak…for the other 70 percent who equally…equally…enjoy the beauty and solitude the lake has to offer. The 70 percent who are not contributing to efforts to research and eradicate Eurasian watermilfoil or golden-brown algae, or to challenge overdevelopment or clear cutting along the shoreline. You could see this 70 percent as an obstacle…or an opportunity.
What can you do? Plenty.
- Volunteer with the TLPA. There are many opportunities from monitoring township activities to serving on TLPA committees. This can be as little as two hours a month. But everything makes a difference.
- Be a lake steward. Does your lawn really need to be that green? Don’t fertilize, or at least reduce the number of applications. Plant a lake buffer at your shoreline. It’s easy, enhances your property value and more importantly protects the lake from road or driveway runoff. Plant a rain garden to absorb excess runoff during heavy rains. Plant native plants that have deeper root systems that absorb negative nutrients and for a bonus attract pollinators! Don’t clear cut your lot.
- Pump your septic. Have your septic system pumped and inspected at least every other year…more often if it’s located in a low water table area.
- Make every homeowner on the lake a TLPA member. Most important…recruit your neighbors and friends, they will join if you ask them. It’s no secret that we have many new homeowners on the lake. This is a fantastic opportunity to share your love of the lake and the importance of being a part of the TLPA. And you don’t have to do it alone. TLPA board members are happy to assist you or do it all! If every TLPA member identified and/or recruited just two potential members think how quickly the 70 percent goes down to zero. Just two. And membership in the TLPA is the best bargain going these days. For less than $9 a month members collectively make a dramatic difference in protecting our gorgeous and environmentally valuable natural resource.
Simple things make for great outcomes for our beautiful lake. Please don’t depend on someone else to make these things happen. Don’t pass the buck. This is everyone’s responsibility. Don’t be part of the problem…be part of the solution. Let’s hear from you! Contact Bruce Hulteen at email@example.com. Let’s get that 70 percent to zero and secure the legacy of Torch Lake for generations to come.