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White Lake Delisted LogoPlanning for White Lake’s Future Beyond Delisting

It is good news that White Lake is delisted! To ensure that existing issues continue to be monitored and new issues are addressed appropriately, we are developing new goals, objectives and tasks to ensure continuous improvement of White Lake. Michael Mack, of Professional Resources is working with the White Lake Public Advisory Council to develop a strategic transition plan for life beyond delisting the White Lake Area of Concern. Mr. Mack is a White Lake area businessman with an extensive background in organizational development; he recently (2012) retired as the Chief Operating Officer for one of the community’s largest employers, MasterTag. Mr. Mack is currently working as a consultant for local entrepreneurs.

Transition Planning

Tasks of the transition planning effort include:

  1. Identifying participants
  2. Agreeing on needs beyond delisting (local water quality monitoring, nutrients/sedimentation, shoreline habitat/development invasive species, monitoring of contaminated sites, education and outreach and stewardship, for example)
  3. Developing a mission, goals, and objectives
  4. Developing a three to five year strategic plan that details the goals, objectives, and activities required to address the identified needs
  5. Soliciting community feedback on the plan via a public meeting, social media, and news media
  6. Promoting the final plan to the public

The final plan is anticipated to be completed by spring. For more information, contact Tanya Cabala via this website.

Perceptions of White and Muskegon Lakes

In Spring and Summer 2014, Avenue ISR, a Traverse City based consulting firm, conducted extensive research to determine fundamental attitudes toward White Lake and Muskegon Lake, two Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs). The goal of the research was to inform future investments, communications and other initiatives to strengthen the AOCs and their communities. Surveys were done of local residents, visitors, and prospective visitors. The White Lake research brought forth a number of conclusions. See report excerpts below.

Prospective Visitors

  1. The vast majority of residents in seven Upper Midwestern cities are not familiar with White Lake.
  2. When they are aware of the lake, they have generally positive impressions. Among other things, White Lake is seen for its significant recreation potential.
  3. Prospective visitors have very low awareness of the AOC status of White Lake.
  4. Although some see the lake as polluted; the vast majority do not.
  5. Overall, prospective visitors know little of the toxic history of the AOC; they just see open freshwater and potential for recreation and fun

Community Members

  1. Community members generally understand that this lake is/was an Area of Concern.
  2. Community members in the White Lake community have seen substantial progress across a range of action areas.
  3. These improvements in the health and quality of the AOC have had positive and wide-reaching impact on their lives.
  4. White Lake is valued for its beauty, natural setting and recreational opportunities.
  5. A majority of community members understood that delisting of White Lake was imminent.
  6. Fundamentally, these results indicate that both the cleanup effort and efforts to communicate progress have gotten through to the White Lake community.

White Lake community members would like to see emphasis placed on preventing new pollution discharges into White Lake and reducing nutrients that produce nuisance weeds and algae. Community members are eager for continued and enhanced support from many levels of government in their ongoing work. White Lake community members are willing to work for improvement/preservation of the lake. Reaching community members with ongoing communications depends on using a variety of traditional and digital media, including the White Lake Beacon, emails communication, printed newsletters and social media.

Those who have worked hard on cleanup and restoration of White Lake should know that their progress is known to and valued by the White Lake community. There is more work to be done, but this moment marks an important milestone of progress. For leaders of tourism and economic development, there is no need to re-tell the AOC story outside of the community; prospective guests and visitors react to what they see and learn today… they see a beautiful inland lake with an abundance of recreation possibilities. External messaging should start with a clean page of what this lake represents—tremendous natural beauty with outstanding recreation potential next to a unique and thriving community.

However, there are lingering questions and concerns among some community members about the health of White Lake. Ongoing monitoring, assessment and community reporting will be important going forward. There is strong support for a short set of ongoing priorities for White Lake, and community members are willing to pitch in to help. Even without the increased public funding that community members would like to see, it should be possible to develop meaningful action plans to continue to make good progress.

Read the full report* Possibilities of Place, Current Awareness and Perceptions of the White Lake and Muskegon Lake Areas of Concern, Muskegon County, Michigan

* Adobe Reader is required to open and view PDF documents. Depending upon your browser, the downloaded document will either open in a new window or be downloaded directly to your computer. You may then print it and/or save it to your computer.

Navigating the White Lake PAC Pages

Use this table of contents to navigate the various PAC pages. You will find this at the bottom of each PAC page.

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