I wanted to share our notes with everyone from our meeting yesterday. Thank you to those who were able to attend the conversation about Lake Rennie access. We are doing our best to listen and respond. Here is a list of the topics and my responses…

GO•REC opened to the public for public recreational use May 2019. Rotary has owned the property since 1924. GO•REC is different from when the property was managed as a residential camp. We manage this private property similar to how a state park would be managed. In fact, we are managing for less impact and more outdoor industry education. Change is unsettling, and we cannot forecast the future. 

But here’s what GO•REC is doing and how we are working to ensure the wellbeing of our community and environment:

concern: access fees

Our Response: There is no fee for day use recreation at GO•REC, which includes public non-motorized watercraft. As our mission is to create passion for our natural world through outdoor experiences, it’s serving our mission to provide outdoor recreational access. As a nonprofit this promotes open practice, equity, and accessibility. It’s common for outdoor recreation users to bring their own gear (discs, mountain bikes, tents, kayaks, etc.). We provide equipment to support those who don’t. There is a fee for facility, event, and equipment rentals that goes to support our financially sustainability. 

concern: non-motorized watercraft

Our Response: The public can carry or trolley their non-motorized watercraft from our main parking lot 700+ feet to the waterfront on Lake Rennie. They can do the same within 5 feet of Scout Camp Road. GO•REC does not have adequate access for the public to launch on Spider Lake. State land on Lake Rennie is already used by the public to access Lake Rennie. It would not serve our mission, promote outdoor recreation, equity, or accessibility to exclude outdoor recreational access from our property to a public lake.

concern: motorized boats

Our Response: Under most circumstances GO•REC does not allow public motorized access to the waterfront. If there is a need for special access in the interest of life or property, we will consider allowing carefully planned exceptions. We are increasing our natural resource-based recreation management by removing waterfront structures and the restoration of riparian areas. 

concern: launch development 

Our Response: We have no plans to develop structured access to any of our lake fronts. Our natural resource-based recreation management plan is removing structures and restoring riparian areas. 

concern: aquatic invasive species (AIS)

Our Response: Public vehicles are not allowed to the waterfront on Lake Rennie. Not allowing motorized access significantly inhibits AIS trafficking. The locked gate and 700 feet distance to carry or trolley non-motorized watercraft to the waterfront naturally limits the number of launches. Our policy is that watercraft must be clean, dry and/or washed before putting in. This is a Michigan law implemented in 2019. Additionally, we will have a boat wash station in the main parking lot by the end of September. We have been adding educational signage about the importance of riparian restoration and will be adding more about invasive species. 

concern: limiting launches

Our Response: We are willing to limit launches once we determine what recreational carry capacity is for Lake Rennie. I have reached out to the DNR to ask if a carrying capacity study may be done. If the neighbors want to do their own study, we’d love to participate. In the absence of any other information, GO•REC will research best practices for recreational capacity and limit our procedures to what seems reasonable. 

concern: capacity limits

Our Response: GO•REC has rented facilities to the public since at least 2016. You can rent bunkhouses, cottages, and campsites. While I do not currently know what limit there may be to these accommodations, we are bound by our Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) easement. We can only develop on the northern half of the property, and we can only develop up to twice our existing footprint. We are within our limits. That easement is publicly available. I am linking it here for your reference. 

concern: keyholing

Our Response: We are not a keyhole. We have conferred with experts, and everything we’re doing is in compliance. 

concern: fish restocking 

Our Response: I have spoken to Chris Kristock and GO•REC would like to participate. We would like to know if the habitat in Lake Rennie can support fish restocking before everyone invests. 

concern: motorized vehicles 

Our Response: Under most circumstances GO•REC does not allow public motorized access. We are limited in this by our GTRLC easement, and snowmobiling as an activity is not allowed. We are increasing our natural resource-based recreation management by further limiting motorized access and the restoration of some trails and roads. 

concern: educational/charitable mission

Our Response: Access to the outdoors through GO•REC is consistent with our mission to create passion for our natural world through outdoor experiences. Allowing outdoor recreational access to our property gives the public an opportunity to enjoy the activities we promote. As a nonprofit this promotes open practice, equity, and accessibility. It gives us an opportunity to provide both passive and informal education — through signage and support — as well as active education through formal educational events. 

concern: educational offerings

Our Response: We teach outdoor industry best practices in activities such as hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, and wilderness medicine. You can see examples online on any of our online platforms/channels. 

concern: COVID-19

Our Response: Along with everyone else, our work and capacity has been limited by COVID-19. We have not been able to do provide overnight accommodations or events as we planned. We plan to resume normal operations when safely able.

concern: promises for the future  

Our Response: The assurance you have is our GTRLC easement, which Rotary committed to as a legacy for the community. The easement limits our development and motorized use. Again, I am linking it here for your reference. 

Let me reiterated what I’ve said before: If there’s an emergency, please call 911. If there’s a concern, contact us at 231.946.4263. And when we reopen for overnight and equipment rentals, we hope you use the neighbor exclusive code NGHBR2020 for a 40% discount. We are listening and doing what we can. 

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GO•REC | Rotary Services of TC · 4754 Scout Camp Rd · Traverse City, MI 49696-9484 · USA