Mission Statement

Our Mission Statement

25 Years and Counting

May 1st, 2018

History tells us: Hamilton, a government surveyor, named our chain of lakes. His observations were: three pristine bodies of water totaling 240 acres connected by natural waterways with an abundance of wildlife and fish and bordered by virgin pine forests. Lake Mary and Lake Louise were named for his daughters

The trees were eventually harvested and by means of the Menominee River transported to sawmills in Menominee. Native Americans were the first found encamped on the lake's edge. Area businessmen followed building hunting camps and lakeside cottages.

Prior to 1891, Hamilton lakes was part of Menominee County-Dickinson County, the last county formed in Michigan, was established from parts of Marquette, Iron, and Menominee County.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the tracks of the Wisconsin Michigan Railroad ran from Menominee through Faithorn and passed through the lakes between second and third lake terminating in Iron Mountain. Whisky Mich (nickname) carried freight and passengers and linked Menominee to downstate Ludington by way of a ferry service.

1930's a WPS (Work Progress Administration) project at Hamilton Lakes included the improvement of the first lake channel and the construction of a new channel between 2nd and 3rd Lake.

By 1934 Hamilton Lakes was fast becoming a summer resort area. Area churches staged their annual picnics, games were played, and merry makers danced at the Hamilton Lakes Pavilion. During this year, Dickinson County built the culvert-type bridge on the road we now know as County Road 573. This bridge. over the first lake channel, 84 years later is still in use.

During the 1940's, private investment continued, Lake louise being the primary focus. It was not uncommon to see small outboards, rowboats, or even an airplane flying overhead -as the Lake Mary airport was in business for small airplanes.

In the 1950's, our lakes were busy with the beginning of water skiing and other water sports. Lander's Store was open for convenience shopping as well as, gas and oil. On Lake Mary St. Vincent Log Homes were being built. On Lake Hamilton, the DNR developed a new boat launch site. Second lake had excitement too, especially for the fisherman--the planting of Rainbow Trout.

As observation of the 60's--during the summer Hamilton Lakes was a bustling resort area -winters somewhat more serene as 4 of 5 buildings were closed for the season. Prime shoreline properties designated for sale were scarce leading investors to buy and build on wetlands and back lot parcels.

The first lake association was formed during the 1970's. It existed only for a short time and had few published accomplishments; however, it demonstrated neighbors working together could positively affect the Hamilton Lakes watershed.

It has been written the Hamilton Lakes chain of lakes is the jewel of Dickinson County. The interface suggested has to do with the three lakes with connecting passages filled with fresh spring and stream-fed water. Its lakes were large enough to support summer and winter activities, yet small enough to discourage commercial investment.

As idea as this may seem, we are reminded that nature, without any direct human influence, plays a role in the characteristics and evolution of a lake. In addition, inadvertently and at times carelessly our landowners and patrons have added stress to out lakes and environs. i.e. nurturing plush fertilized lawns, failing to keep septic systems in working order, using large boats and motors that cause erosion, failing to remove dead weeds and leaves, adding grass clippings to the lake, exploding fireworks, and introducing non-native plants (loosestrife) and evasive species (Eurasian milfoil), to name a few.

Keeping out lakes desirable for future generations requires an individual commitment to reduce the stress to our lakes and shorelines and a collective effort where property owners can join together in a common cause. For the last 25 years, the Hamilton Lakes Association has had your back keeping our lakes CLEAN AND SAFE.

In the summer of 1993, Hamilton Lakes residents assembled in the garage of Danny's Market. The discussion that followed led to the formation of the Hamilton Lakes Association. The new organization was charted as a Michigan non-profit corporation under the direction of a nine-member elected board. The late John Bannes, a stanch promoter of a lake association, was elected as its first president. The organization was supported by memberships; by riparians or anyone with an interest in the wellbeing of the lakes.

Following the wishes of the membership, projects/problems were prioritized. The number one issue at the time was the lake level. Rain or shine, each summer the same problem recurred, water levels in the lakes and channels would drop below safe levels to support navigation. The problem was the aging Lake Mary Dam (spillway) that emptied into Hamilton Creek. This was not a new problem, previously addresses by citizens and the first lake association; however, circumstances NOW had drastically changed.

The property was under control of Michigan DNR, the original owner in tax default. The state had little interest in updating the spillway; at most, did band-aid correction. The property was offered for a conditional sale to anyone who would assume liability and rebuild following DNR guidelines at a projected cost of $200,000. There were no buyers. Your lakes association involved the DNR, county, townships, politicians, and the press and finally after a decade of maneuvering an agreement was reached and in 2003 a new $99,300 DNR approved dam was engineered and build by Kiser-Johnson and Cayemberg Construction. The new owner of the dam is Waucedah Township. It was financed by Dickinson County, the DNR Waucedah and Norway townships and at no cost to local taxpayers.

A major emphasis of the lake association has been water quality. Each lake is tested on a regular basis for clarity, phosphorous, and occasionally for e-coli. Results are tabulated with the Michigan Lake and Streams. Another priority has been the control of exotics, both loosestrife and the Eurasian Milfoil. Exotics if left unchecked will cause major problems to our lakes

Following are additional reasons for supporting the Hamilton Lakes Association.

*Adopt a County Road-The Lake Assn. conducts road litter cleanups on 573 and roads surrounding the 3 lakes
*Lake Assn. has secured matching grants that have used to improve channels and private waterfronts
*Lake Assn. has partnered with the Sheriff Dept. on boat inspections and water safety
*Lake Assn. has provided signage for "no wake zones" and at boat launches
*Lake Assn.'s kiosk near Kramer's Three Lakes bar is the area information center
*Lake Assn. has cooperated with Norway Fire Dept. installing a dry hydrant for winter fire protection
*Lake Assn. did the initial natural gas survey-today we have DTE gas service
*Lake Assn. provides educational information through meetings, newsletters, and special mailing
*Lake Assn. has worked with state highway dept. and county road commission to improve safety and reduced speed limits.
*Lake Assn. has paid for required permits i.e. the dam, channel improvements
*Lake Assn. sponsors an annual boat parade and a community picnic
*Lake Assn. has been involved in two fish studies conducted by the DNR
*Lake Assn. holds a general meeting once a year for members and prospective members
*Your Lake Assn. is well respected on a State and Upper Peninsula level for its program of keeping the lakes clean and safe. We are not in the business of law enforcement.