by the Crystal Lake
All Rights Reserved.
Crystal Lake &
P.O. Box 89, Beulah, MI 49617
Phone: (231) 882-4001
FAX: (231) 882-7810
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Boating Access Site
The Mollineaux Road Boat Launch Facility is
See the "Pictorial
History" section below
for recent and older photos of this project.
The Michigan DNRs Crystal Lake
Boating Access Site opened with a formal dedication on June 7, 2012.
The site has seen heavy use on summer holidays and some weekends, with moderate use
at other times.
CLWA continues with plans to build and operate a boat-washing station in the upper
parking area to prevent the spread of invasive species such as quagga mussels and
VHS virus into Crystal Lake.
A lease agreement for the boat wash has been finalized with the DNR. The state is
working with Consumers Energy to bring electrical service to the site.
A CLWA fund-raising event on July 14 generated private donations to finance the building
of the boat wash.
Paving crews began applying asphalt
to the parking lot and interior roads at the site on Saturday, November 5, and installed
the finish layer on November 6.
This is an important step in the construction process, as it will allow rain and
snowmelt to enter the storm water pipes and flow through a filtration system before
being discharged into Crystal Lake.
The paving, along with completion of the storm water system, should also minimize
the erosion that has been a continuing problem since construction began on the hillside
Work still remaining includes:
- finishing the new alignment for
the Betsie Valley Trail
- detail work on the stairway between
the parking lot and the launch ramp
- repairs to concrete damaged by
- bathroom installation
- some excavation, tree planting,
wetland restorationand dormant seeding.
The main floating dock has been
installed. The DNR will build two "skid piers" for the launch ramps over
the winter and install them in the spring.
The revised schedule calls for "substantial completion" by November 18,
and finalcompletion four weeks later. Weather conditions may cause some delays. It's
not clear when boats will be allowed to launch. The site technically remains
a construction site until final completion.
- AUGUST 25, 2011 Work continues
through the summer
Work on the Crystal Lake Boating
Access Site is continuing through the summer, with completion now expected in late
fall. Dredging of the lake bottom is anticipated to begin about Aug. 29. The entry
road off Mollineaux Road has been excavated to its approximate final contours. Drivers
can now visualize the appearance of the project from that location.
Much work remains on the interior of the site, including paving, some concrete work,
some underground drainage, dredging, installation of the launch ramps, and revegetation
of the entire site.
A large water retention basin on the east side of the site has been dug out and shaped.
Workers are installing drainage structures on the road corridor down the bluff between
the parking area and the shoreline. The stairway is under construction. The launch
maneuver area near the shoreline has been cleared and graded, but is not yet ready
CLWA is finalizing plans to build and operate a boat washing station in the upper
parking area, under a lease with the Department of Natural Resources. Work on that
facility must wait for completion of the overall project.
- FEBRUARY 24, 2011 Work limited during
the winter months
Work on the Crystal Lake Boat Launch
has been limited during the winter months. The DNR's contractor, Jaran Construction,
has been on the site part-time, removing trees, moving materials, and doing
other work as weather permits. The construction site has been off-limits to ice fishermen.
Jaran expects to resume excavation and other heavy construction work in April.
The contract with the DNR requires that all disturbed soil must be reseeded or revegetated
quickly. Turf seeds laid along the new Mollineaux Road alignment in late fall may
not have taken. The contractor has indicated he will reseed that area in the
The current construction schedule anticipates completion of the project and opening
of the launch approximately Labor Day 2011.
- NOVEMBER 9, 2010 Mollineaux
Road / M-115 intersection now open; work continues
The barricades came down Nov. 9,
and the rebuilt section of Mollineaux Road reopened to traffic. The new road section
loops slightly to the north and than back to create a right angle intersection with
Crews will clean up and reseed the roadsides in the next few days. Then, weather
permitting, they will move on to the construction of parking lots, access roads,
and storm sewerson the interior of the large boat launch site.
Construction of the actual launch ramps is now expected to wait until spring of 2011.
The contractor hopes to begin earth-moving yet this fall for the access road that
will extend down the bluff to Crystal Lake. Some tree cutting and excavation is also
possible at the base of the bluff.
The plan calls for installing temporary sedimentation control devices along with
any hillside excavation. The old railroad berm that supports the Betsie Valley Trail
will be left in place over the winter as an erosion barrier.
- NOVEMBER 3, 2010 Mollineaux
Road / M-115 intersection paved
On Tuesday, Nov. 2, crews
began installing the asphalt paving on the re-aligned intersection of Mollineaux
Road and M-115. The intersection is expected to reopento traffic by the weekend.
The work had been delayed until power lines and poles on the site could be moved.
With completion of the road work, the contractor, Jaran Construction, can begin excavation
of parking lots, drainage lines and access roads inside the site. No more paving
is expected until spring, as the asphalt companies are about to close down for the
winter months. Some work at the site will likely continue this fall, as long as weather
CLWA continues to be concerned about the possibility of winter and spring erosion
on unfinished segments of the project. The contractor and the state officials overseeing
the project are aware of our concern and have committed to take all action to prevent
- SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 Construction
continues: rebuilding Mollineaux Road intersection at M-115
Construction continues at the Crystal
Lake Boat Launch site, with the focus on rebuilding the intersection of M-115 and
Mollineaux Road. Mollineaux Road is closed at the intersection, effective Sept. 15,
and will likely remain closed for two to four weeks.
Contractors have begun excavation of the road shoulder, and are waiting on Consumers
Energy to move a power pole and relocate wires across the site.
A construction entrance will be maintained off M-115. Drivers are reminded to take
extra care at this location, since trucks and equipment may be entering or leaving
The contractor will continue with work on parking lots, access roads drainage and
other site development after the intersection is reopened. At present, it appears
that paving of parking lots and the access road to the lakeshore may take place either
late this fall or in early spring. Completion of the project is anticipated in spring
- AUGUST 2010 Boat Launch Work
For better or worse, the state
boat launch on Crystal Lake is becoming a reality. Work has commenced at the site,
near M-115 and Mollineaux Road, and state officials expect the project to be complete
in the spring of 2011. CLWA challenged the state plans in 2004, and battled long
and hard for design changes to protect wetlands and water quality. In a court settlement
this past spring, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment agreed to changes
that will result in less wetland destructon, less lake-bottom dredging and less hard-surface
CLWA will continue monitoring the site through the construction project, and provide
regular updates on this website. Check back often.
When project is complete....
- Location: Southeast coast
of Crystal Lake, entrance at the eaat intersection of M-115 and Mollineaux Road (just
east of Benzonia).
- Facilities: Boat launch,
parking, stairs from parking lot to lake and boat launch, boat cleaning station
History of the Mollineaux Road Boat Launch Facility
Crystal Lake Boat
Launch Settlement Approved !!!
An agreement between government
agencies and citizen groups will allow construction of a state boat launch on Crystal
Lake, ending years of controversy in Benzie County. As part of a settlement entered
in Benzie County Circuit Court on March 31, 2010, the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources and Environment (DNRE) agreed to make changes that will reduce the projects
impact on the environment and on adjacent property owners. (The former Department
of Natural Resources, MDNR, and Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) were eliminated
with the creation of the new "DNRE" effective January 13, 2010.)
Boat Launch Settlement
Lake Boat Launch Settlement Letter
(PDF document, 2 pages, 152 kB, see here for details.)
Area Alternative Design
Area Alternate Design (PDF
document, 1 page, 1.8 mB, see
here for details.)
Area Site Plan
Parking Area Site Plan
(PDF document, 1 page, 2.1 mB, see here for details.)
Update from Spring/Summer 2010, Vol. 6, No. 2 (PDF document, 8 pages, 2.3 mB, see here
Update from Fall/Winter 2009, Vol. 6, No. 1 (PDF document, 6 pages, 412, see here
Update from Spring/Summer
2007, Vol 3, No. 2 (PDF
document, 4 pages, 328 kB, see here for details.)
Update from Fall/Winter 2006, Vol 3, No. 1 (PDF document12 pages, 1.8 mB, see here
The MDNR has searched for a suitable
site on Crystal Lake to construct a boat launch for use by the public. After rejection
of several sites, the current site on the steep slope between the junction of Mollineaux
Road and State Route M-115 and the southwest shoreline of Crystal Lake was finally
selected. A series of informational meetings were held at which conceptionalized
drawings were presented for informal comment. A permit application by MDNR was received
by MDNR on October 29, 2003. Engineering drawings and specifications were made available
to the public in early 2004. A public hearing was held on February 25, 2004. A permit
was issued by MDEQ on May 25, 2004 which is being contested at the present time.
During the initial discussions of the proposed project, the Crystal Lake Watershed
Fund, Inc. (CLWF) and the Crystal Lake Association (CLA) partnered in
the development of a joint resolution as follows:
"Be it resolved that, the
Crystal Lake Association and the Crystal Lake Watershed Fund support open access
to Crystal Lake for fishing and recreational activities consistent with retaining
the ongoing natural resource of this world class lake. The organizations support
the view that the lake should be protected for the benefit of future generations
of Benzie County residents and others seeking the beauty of this unspoiled environment."
A joint letter, addressed to Mr.
William Boik of the State of Michigan Parks Department was sent jointly from the
two organizations. The letter requested the assurance of the DNR/DEQ to abide by
the same rules and regulations that govern public citizens in the development and
implementation of their plans.
[See the CLWF newsletter Crystal Shorelines Update #15, Winter 2002 for the complete list of concerns. (PDF
document, 42 kB. See
here for details.)]
The issue, the concerns, a proposed alternative, and precedents are outlined in the
- Crystal Lake, Benzie Co., is a
very large deepwater Lake.
- The small watershed is surrounded
by forested ridges.
- Water quality is extremely oligotrophic.
- MDNR has proposed a public boat
launch. A permit has been issued.
- (MDEQ File No. 03-10-0044-P)
- General: location, size, traffic,
- Environmental: stormwater runoff
and sanitary wastes.
- Stormwater to be treated in a
package treatment plant.
- Sediment & gasoline/oil to
be removed and disposed.
- Nutrients & coliform bacteria
removal not specified.
- Overflow to be discharged directly
into Crystal Lake.
- Topography is very steep between
ridge & lakeshore.
- Site is split bet. Crystal Lake
& Betsie River Watersheds.
- Intercept stormwater & wastewater
at the shore.
- Pump combined flows to ridge top
- Divert treated effluent into wetlands
- Crystal Lake Overlay District
has been established.
- Septic systems are inspected before
any property sale.
- Direct discharges into the Lake
- Cold Creek flows through Sediment
Basin before the Lake.
- Village of Beulah sewage is diverted
to disposal ponds.
Detailed comments were provided
on behalf of the CLWF at the public hearing conducted by MDEQ on February 25, 2004.
These comments addressed the inadequacy of the proposed water and wastewater treatment
system which is to be discharged directly into Crystal Lake. an alternative system
was proposed consisting of onsite collection and treatment of storm water and wastewater
followed by offsite diversion of treated effluent into the wetlands of the neighboring
Betsie River Watershed for final polishing.
- Alternative Stormwater and
Wastewater Treatment - CLWF Comments with Map
- (PDF document, 332 kB. See here
The proposed MDNR boat launch facility
design does not consider the feasible alternative of onsite collection and treatment
followed by offsite diversion of treated stormwater/wastewater. The proposed package
treatment system only removes gross solids and oils, and not soluble nutrients or
coliform bacteria. Partially treated wastewater, still containing these undesirable
and invisible pollutants, is to be pumped directly into Crystal Lake through an 18"
Alternatively, stormwater and wastewater could be intercepted at the shoreline, but
then treated and diverted away from the Lake into wetlands of the adjoining Betsie
River Watershed. A detention basin and the package treatment plant can be built as
low impact environmentally pleasing structures near the high ridge running across
the SW corner of the site near Mollineaux Road. Treated effluent is diverted entirely
away from Crystal Lake and into uninhabited portions of wetlands for final polishing
to remove nutrients and bacteria just like our septic system drain fields.
Permit Application (10/29/03) & Permit Granted (05/25/03)
- (PDF document, 5.3 mB. See here
For additional observations and viewpoints
on the boat launch facility, see the following MLUI articles: