Maple Syrup Days @ Maple Wood Nature Center

Maple Syrup Days, our sugar harvest festival is March 16-17 at Maple Wood Nature Center. South Milford Lions serve pancakes 7:00-2:30.We show three different ways to make maple syrup; how we used to do it, how we do it now, and how you can do it at home.
Horse wagons carry visitors into the maple woods to see the tapping operation. Interpreters introduce you to the trees and explain their life cycle. Tours through the woods and through the syrup making operations are 8:00-3:00.
“Syrup on Strings,” a maple themed variety show, returns.
Dress warmly to spend as much time as possible outside and enjoy all Maple Syrup Days has to offer.

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Applications for the 2014 Fish/Royer Lake Scholarship are now available from TJ Hemlinger, 2270 South 460 East Lagrange IN 46761 (

The $250 scholarship is given annually to a Lake Association member current in his or her dues or a family member who is pursuing an education beyond high school. Included are college studies or trade schools, such as Ivy Tech or cosmetology, for example. The application form is simple and requires a short, one-paragraph answer to the question, “What should the purpose of a lake association be?”
The deadline for applications to be received is May 1, 2014. The Association has budgeted $250 for the scholarship, but last year’s winner received $446.67 due to individual donations by Association members.

Water Quality

In the fall newsletter I discussed the extensive water quality testing and watershed management plan development for the Pigeon River Watershed, which includes our lakes.  We continue to design and install best management practices for our agricultural neighbors.  These practices will continue to reduce the excessive nutrient and bacterial loading that occurs at our inlets on both lakes.  At this point we have identified all the sites that need remediation and the landowners are cooperating with our efforts.  Nearly all of the intended best management practices, designed to reduce runoff, will be installed by next fall.  If you have any questions concerning the project, please give me a call at 260-350-1943, or drop me an email at

Thoughts of Spring

Spring is finally approaching which brings a few items to the forefront to keep in mind.  First, with the heavy snow pack we had this winter spring flooding is a likely proposition.  The ground will be saturated so a relatively small rain event could mean rising water on our lakes.  Be sure to keep your docks, boats, and lawn furniture high and dry.  For lake residents at lower elevations, be prepared for potential flooding approaching your doorsteps or decks.


Second, take it easy on the fertilizer.  Use only nitrogen based fertilizer which is readily available at most hardware stores.  Your yard does not need phosphorus which is the nutrient that causes the majority of excessive algal and rooted vegetation growth during the summer.  For folks that water their yards using lake pumps you do not need to fertilize at all.  The lake water contains all the nutrients your grass needs to grow.  Also, keep in mind if you are going to apply nitrogen to your yard this spring, apply only 1 lb. per 1000 square feet.  Research has shown that on average landowners apply 3 lbs. per 1000 square feet, three times what is needed.  Since your lawn will only uptake what it needs, that excess nitrogen ends up in the lake.


New Flood Plane Maps

If you have a mortgage on your lake property you most likely have received a notification that you are in a flood plane.

There is a meeting to discuss this.

If you DO have a Mortgage you need to come to:
Learn how to determine if any of your insured structures are in the flood plane and if they are NOT then how to obtain the documentation from FEMA to satisfy the mortgage company that their collateral is not at risk (relatively).

If you do NOT have a mortgage the topic being discussed will be of assistance to you in making an informed decision on your need for flood insurance.

The Meeting:

Town Hall Meeting
28 Jan 2014
LaGrange County Annex Building
114 West Michigan St

Natural Gas Update

The 2013 natural gas survey has been completed and submitted to NIPSCO’s project engineer, Joe Hartman. This couldn’t have been done without the volunteer help of seven lake association members: Nancy Block, Pam Deetz, T.J. Hemlinger, Ryan Kohlheim, Dave McAlister, Don Stanfield and Cathy Wirth. A gold star and a candy bar go out to them for a job well done.
Mr. Hartman indicated that there would be no decision this year as to a time frame for the project. There are several projects already on the drawing board for the year 2014, and a decision is forthcoming. Doug Bowlby spoke with one of the County Commissioners in regard to the signed petitioners’ interest in having the service and he wants us to keep him abreast as to the future of the project. He would lend his support in our interest. LP gas is a derivative or by product of crude oil refining, and oil prices are always on the rise.

For more information contact Doug Bowlby at