CRYSTAL FALLS—The Iron County Board of Commissioners will be revisiting a proposal for construction of a boat wash at Pentoga Park, based on input from the Chicaugon Lake Property Owners Association.
Association member Blaise Andreski addressed the board at its March 27 bi-monthly meeting.
He said he hoped the wash could be a joint project between the county, Stambaugh Township and the property owners.
The wash station was originally proposed in 2008-09, he said, with one of its sources of funding the proceeds of a timber sale at the park.
The gross amount of the sale was approximately $15,000. Now he has learned there is about $10,000 in the fund earmarked for a boat wash.
Andreski told the board that invasive species have become a huge problem on the lake.
Eurasian milfoil, which, in 2008, affected three and one half acres, now has spread to about 16 acres.
There is no way to stop it, he said, only control it. The lake association has paid for chemical treatments, and has also tried placing bugs in the lake that feed on milfoil.
The chemicals leave traces of dioxin behind, and the bugs have been only “doing okay,” he said.
A new access road for the boat landing has been built, Andreski said, with the anticipation of erecting a boat wash.
“We’d like the county to complete this project and find the funds for it,” he said.
A permanent boat wash, with drains, costs from $50,000 to $60,000.
He said he would like the wash to be located west of the park’s check-in station, so it is in plain sight.
The roadway may also be part of the proposed bike path, and Andreski thought the state would okay sharing the road.
Since 2008, Andreski continued, zebra mussels have also become a problem in the lake.
They attach themselves to everything, he said, and they have very sharp shells.
“You have a lake with a large county park on it”, he said, “and the wash is necessary not only for what is brought into it, but also what is taken out. It is the only boat launch owned by the county.
“The state should have taken this on years ago,” he said.
Commissioner Fran Wills agreed, saying the DNR cut funding for the project in 2008.
Iron County Sheriff Mark Valesano added that his department had been approached to enforce an ordinance passed by Stambaugh Township requiring a sticker program for watercraft, but didn’t, at that time, feel the county should get involved with a township ordinance.
Now, he said, with a county-owned boat wash that limits the entry point to the lake, it would be easier to enforce.
“I’m supportive of the concept,” he said, “and I think, within these parameters, we would support enforcement.”
Stambaugh Township Eugene Pellizzaro added that riparian property owners on lakes like Hagerman and Golden would appreciate a boat wash at Chicaugon Lake, since fishermen often take their boars from lake to lake.
Neither of those lakes, he said, have a milfoil problem at this time.
County Board Chairman Wayne Wales made a motion that the commission support research of a boat wash.
“At least you know we’re supporting you,” he told Andreski.
He invited the lake property owners to attend a meeting to provide more information.