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History of the LCRPOA

The Lake County Riverside Property Owners Association was formed in 1961 by a group of concerned citizens that cared deeply about the “rivers and streams” and their property –most having acquired the property for privacy, seclusion and contentment.   With the increasing population encroachment in accessing and using the river (i.e., canoeists, rafts, float boats) and government regulations, property owners needed a “watch dog/mouthpiece” as a vehicle for expressing their concerns and taking action in terms of the many social, user and quality issues.  Thus the Association became a ribbon that bound owners together to not only protect their investment but as important, to preserve an environment for generations to follow.  Although zoning was a major focus of the Association in the earlier years (particularly Pleasant Plains Township which was finally zoned primarily as a result of founding member Joe Whinery’s efforts), the focus has grown to “represent, promote and support the interests of property owners on the rivers and streams in Lake County in all matters affecting their rights of ownership, use and enjoyment of their property”.


The earliest meeting on record was held Saturday, September 13, 1961 at the Flint Rainbow Club.  Jerry Eberts, Vice President called the meeting to order with six members present – Blass, Eberts, Jack, Whinery, Stevens and Strouse.  There was $392 in the bank and a bill of $78 was paid to Warner, Norcross & Judd for Articles and Bylaws and $40 to the Lake County Star.


The Association had membership applications for 46 individuals and 2 club memberships.  Dues were set at $5 per year.


The first annual meeting was in September 1962 at St Ann’s church in Baldwin.  Elected to the Association Board were Del Todd, Russell Buck, George McCarger, Jerome Eberts, Howard Davidson, George Blass, Max Strouse, Dr. Joseph Whinery and Thomas Jack.  Jerome Eberts was elected President and Seth Bidwell was appointed Association Counsel.  Of note, one of the 16 members (of 67) present at this first annual meeting was Merle (Zimmy) Nolph a river guide, property owner/protector, friend who over the years distinguished himself in so many ways on behalf of the Association.  He was still on the Board when he died.  His memory is permanently memorialized in a “rock” along the river at the Shrine of Pines.


Fishing was the primary topic at the annual meeting particularly fish planting programs.   A fish epidemic was reported at the Baldwin Hatchery.  Discussion with Lansing officals had been fruitless though they did agree to consult with the Association with respect to the 1963 planting and consented to plant by boat rather than bridge.


At the October 1962 meeting committees were appointed:  Public Relations, Conservation, Membership, Public Health, Sanitation and Publicity.  Metal $100 Reward “Trespassing/Breaking ad Entering” signs were authorized – many are still seen today on member properties.


In 1963 the annual meeting was changed to July in the hopes of attracting more members with selected speakers.  The subject of control of canoes surfaced at this meeting for the first time.  The Association has been working on this matter for over 40 years.  


A river clean up program with the Boy Scouts was authorized which continues to this day.  The annual meeting continues to be held in July with selected speakers.

Past Presidents

1962 Jerome Eberts
1964 Seth Bidwell
1965 Joe Whinery
1967 Warren Southwick
1970 Merle Nolph
1971 Robert Hemkes
1974 George Blass
1980 Lanning Ridenour
1983 Harold Phelps
1984 Don DeFouw
1986 Jim Mervenne
2000 Dick Young
2002 Dave McIntire
2004 Jack Carter
2006 Bob Fairman
2009 Ross Zeerip

2011 Rich Rasmussen

2012 Nancy Ryan

Citizens Appreciation Award

1981 Sheriff Bob Blevins
1982 Zimmy Nolph and Lanning Ridenour
1983 None
1984 Larry Westerville
1985 Tom Jack
1986 Bob Nicholson
1987 Fred Dostal
1988 Pere Marquette Rod & Gun Club
1989 Owen Gustler  USFS Ranger
1990 Trout Unlimited
1991 Fred Kirchner –
           Mason-Lake County Soil Conservation Service
           (now Natural Resource Conservation Services)
1992 Senator Vernon Ehlers
1993 Tom Jack (Founding Member)
1994 None
1995 None
1996 Jim Haveman –
          Executive Director of NW MI RC&D
         (now Conservation Resource Alliance)

Zimmy Nolph Citizens' Appreciation Award

1997 Fred Dostal
1998 Franklin Cornelius
1999 Harold Phelps
2000 Jim Mervenne
2001 John Gorys
2002 Dick Schwikert and Dick Young
2003 Robert L. Murray
2005 Undersheriff Mike Dermyer
2006 None
2007 Connie Perlee
2008 Kim Balke
2009 Paul Bigford
2011 Marty Corson
2012 Marty Corson
2013 Jim Vogt
2014 Rich Rasmussen

2018 Ross Zeerip

2020 Nancy Ryan

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