Update on the Fight for Public Access on Eagle LakeFebruary 10th, 2014
Last week, in front of a crowded township hall, the Michigan DNR presented their proposed plan for a public boating access site on Eagle River in Cass County. The hall was filled with supporters and detractors alike but there were far more individuals supporting public access than opposing it.
For those of you who don’t know, Eagle Lake is a 379 acre public lake located in Cass County with no public boating access. Providing public boating access on Eagle Lake has been a priority for the angling community and the DNR for several years, however adequate land has not been available for development of such a site. Last year the DNR attempted to purchase a parcel of land to provide access but the Eagle Lake Improvement Association (ELIA) fought the acquisition and ultimately bought the property themselves to prevent a land deal with the State of Michigan.
This brings us to last Wednesday, February 5th. The DNR presented a new plan to the Ontwa Township Planning Commission to purchase a 2 acre parcel in order to provide public boating access on the lake. A conceptual drawing of the proposed site can be found by clicking here. It calls for 16 vehicle/trailer parking spots, five spots for cars without trailers and a boat launch into the channel going to the Juno Chain.
Two of our local clubs, the Edwardsburg Conservation Club and Cass County Conservation Club, were out to voice their support as were countless other sportsmen and woman from the area. In addition to the local support, this project also received support from several statewide groups. MUCC was joined by representatives from the Michigan Bass Federation, Michiana Walleye Association, and the Michigan Steelhead & Salmon Fishermen’s Association who all attended and voiced support for the proposed plan.
Despite the tremendous support for the project, it is not yet a done deal as members of the ELIA also attended and spoke out against the proposed project. This small group of homeowners is once again, attempting to block public access to a public natural resource that all should be able to enjoy.
The Ontwa Township Planning Commission has another hearing planned for February 25th where they are expected to rule on whether or not the project can move forward. We encourage our members to continue to reach out to the Ontwa Planning Commission and voice their support. A simple letter or email voicing your support for public access can go a long way in the fight for public access.
• Write to the Ontwa Township Planning Commission, PO Box 209, Edwardsburg, MI 49112
• Write a letter to the editor: Cassopolis Vigilant/Edwardsburg Argus, Michael Caldwell, publisher
• Send an email to a member of the Planning Commission or Township Board here.