It’s been said that in Michigan, you are never more than six miles from a body of water!
All that water means that Michigan is an ideal place for water-lovers to call home. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates that there are over 11,000 inland lakes in the great state of Michigan – that means you have plenty of opportunities to find your perfect Lake home.
But with great opportunity comes great responsibility. It’s important for lake home buyers to know what they want their lake home to look like and how they want to use it, and take the time to find a property that fits. If you don’t take the time to research the lake you choose you might find yourself disappointed, or worse, destructive to the lake environment.
If having a sandy beach and clear water for swimming is very important to you, you’ll probably end up disappointed with a lake that has a natural muck bottom. Alternatively, crystal clear water may not make for the best fishing experience.
Trying to alter your lake frontage by adding sand for a beach, docks, or mowing a natural shoreline can harm many of the features (good water quality, fishing) and values (privacy, natural setting) that you might have liked about the lake in the first place. It can also contribute to the decline of a lake’s water quality.
A great tool that many lake home buyers don’t take advantage of is the DNR’s website, and all the information they have compiled there. You can find information about water quality, depth, historic lake levels, fish kills, harmful algae blooms and lots more. There is a massive amount of data in the DNR’s Water Quality Characteristics of Michigan’s Inland Lakes when looking at properties on different lakes. You can also look at the Inland Lake Maps to get detailed information about lake depths, which is a great resource for fishing and getting an idea of water clarity.
By taking a look at the Water Quality Maps, buyers can see which lakes in their desired area have been found to have Arsenic, Nitrate, or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). This can affect drinking water as well as lake water for swimming or fishing.
If you enjoy fishing, and want to learn more about what the DNR has done with Fish Stocking on the lake you’re interested in, you can search database records on the DNR’s Fish Stocking Database.
And finally, if you are looking for property on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron or Lake Erie, take a look at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water Levels – with historically high lake levels in the Great Lakes this year, this is an important one to get a sense of the historic rise and fall of the lakes. Unfortunately, right now there are homes being lost and beaches that have disappeared, and we imagine there are some current homeowners wishing they had spent more time researching lake levels before buying.
Utilizing the resources available from Michigan’s DNR is a fantastic way to educate yourself about the lake you’re buying property on, and making sure that you’re prepared to be a good steward of the lake you’ll call home!