Why should I join my Lake Association?
First and foremost, we want all property owners to be members so that we can effectively communicate with everyone concerning matters that affect all of us. In addition, we want to hear from folks like you who have ideas for other projects. The more members we have, the more ideas we can consider. The Lake Association conducts projects that benefit all lake property owners.
What does the Association do?
Most importantly, the Association carries “clout” when approaching government agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Pollution Control Agency (PCA). When one individual goes in, the chances of having an impact and getting desired action is much less than if you can say, “I represent the Upper Hay Lake Association. Seventy percent of our property owners are members and we would like your assistance with a project we have in mind.” That gets action. We have a very good rapport with the DNR and PCA today, and they are quick to lend us assistance and cooperate with us on projects we wish to carry out. The greater the number of members we have, the greater our voice.
The Association continuously contacts the DNR to ensure the lake is being monitored and stocked with walleye each year. As a result, the DNR has been stocking 183,000 walleye fry in Upper Hay annually. We continue to monitor that program and ensure its continuation.
We continue to monitor the vegetation situation. In the spring of 2007, after more than a year of work, the DNR approved our “Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan”. We are permitted to control vegetation near our docks and swimming areas in a 40-ft. wide by 150-ft. out from shore area for nuisance vegetation.
To assist members with vegetation control and deal with swimmer’s itch, the Association gathers applications from members for permits to apply chemicals to deal with these problems. The Association covers the cost of the permit to treat Swimmer’s Itch and $10 toward the cost of the permit to treat for vegetation. (As of 2009, members wishing to apply chemicals for vegetation control pay an additional $25 for the permit.) Members may obtain the chemicals and apply on their own, or they can participate in a professional application program. In 2009 the Association contacted Professional Lake Management (PLM) of Pequot Lakes to apply chemicals for vegetation control and swimmer’s itch for members who request such service. A discounted rate was negotiated thus saving members some cost associated with application. In short, whether you choose to get your own chemicals and apply them yourself or if you wish to have PLM do it for you, you are still included in the Association’s permit. If you have questions, please call me.
We have members who volunteer to monitor water quality. Each month, from May through September, the volunteers go out onto the lake and collect water samples which are sent to labs for analysis. Each week, Secchi disc readings are taken and recorded. (A test for water clarity.) In this way we keep track of Upper Hay and are able to see when and if changes in water quality occur. We are also monitoring the lake level. Readings are taken on a regular basis and forwarded to the DNR for compilation.
In May, we host the Annual Membership meeting held on the Saturday before Memorial weekend. We meet at the VFW in Jenkins at 8:00 a.m. A Burger Night is held in August at the Jenkins VFW.
Each year we put out loon nesting platforms just after “ice out” and bring them in after the nesting period. Every year we have had at least one new chick, some years have produced two.
In 2008, after more than a year of work, we completed our “Lake Management Plan” sponsored by the Initiative Foundation of Little Falls. That work netted almost $2500 for our treasury, but more importantly, positions us to receive valuable assistance from the MPCA, DNR, and corporations willing to spend money on lake projects.
In 2007 we began working on 501(C)3 status for the Association. Approval was received from the IRS in January 2009. This will enable individuals donating money to us to claim those donations on their taxes. We will be soliciting funds from many sources, which will enable us to continue our work to ensure the viability of Upper Hay Lake for generations to come.
We currently are offering $600 to members who engage in a shoreline restoration project up to a maximum of 10 applicants per year.
We have obtained several unique products for members: Upper Hay logo T-shirts, beer glasses and tankards with the logo etched on them, and return address labels and “business” cards that feature the logo. We also have very nice baseball caps with the logo and can order specialty clothing with or without the logo through Cintas Corporation. These items make great gifts for family and visitors as well as conversation pieces.
Of course, membership allows you to vote for Board members and/or become a Board member and have a personal impact on what the Association does.
Please join us!!
Claire Steen, President