Highlights from the 'Birch Lake Scrapbook'

The Birch Lake Association has three scrapbooks that have been kept ever since it began in the early 1980’s. Myrt Erps began the first one with articles take from local newspapers. They begin with information about the first meetings of lake residents who wanted to unite so as to discuss water safety concerns on the lake. They also were interested in discussing how to preserve the lake quality and its adjacent lands so that the maximum benefits in regard to recreation, beauty and other benefits could be enjoyed by everyone. The Birch Lake Association was incorporated as a nonprofit organization on December 13, 1982. The original directors were John Fank, Richard Johnstone, Frank Kovach, Robert Mayer, Melvin Nefstead Sr., LaVerne Nies, Earl Schwanz and Anton Thomas. At the BLA first annual meeting on August 20, 1983 about 60 people were present. Those that joined as charter members paid a $5 membership fee. The following year memberships were $10/family. These members were elected as officers: LaVerne Nies-President, Dave Williams-VP, Echo Bischoff-Secretary, and Barbara Erickson-Treasurer. The lakeshore was divided into 7 areas and directors were named for each section. The first newsletter was published entitled “The Birch Lake Log”.

A fish stocking committee was appointed at the first meeting. Rearing ponds were found and for two consecutive years fry were put in during May and fingerlings were to be released in Birch Lake in the fall. Unfortunately neither of these attempts worked. But finally in May 1985 - 80,000 fry were put in a rearing pond and 10,000 3”-4” fingerlings were able to be introduced to Birch Lake in the fall. Birch Lake Association still works with the DNR to stock our lake every two years.

Many of you long-timers to the area will remember the Owl’s Nest Restaurant blaze that totally destroyed a Hackensack landmark in the winter of 1982. During February 1983 Back to Hack Days was cancelled due to lack of persons interested in organizing it. But many snowmobilers came to town anyway.

It is our plan that each quarterly newsletter from now on will give a chronological synopsis of the scrapbook highlights. We hope you enjoy a little area and lake history.

Diane Zaske