2008-06-26 / Outdoors

Higgins boat wash designed to curb invasive species

HIGGINS BOAT WASH Officials of the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association and the Department of Natural Resources are pictured at the boat wash under construction near the North Higgins Lake State Park. Left to right, they are: Rick Meeks, chair of the HLPOA's environmental committee; Vicki Springstead, chair of the Higgins Lake Foundation; Carl Doxtator, manager of the North Higgins Lake State Park; and Anna Sylvester, Department of Natural Resources District Parks Supervisor. (RP) HIGGINS BOAT WASH Officials of the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association and the Department of Natural Resources are pictured at the boat wash under construction near the North Higgins Lake State Park. Left to right, they are: Rick Meeks, chair of the HLPOA's environmental committee; Vicki Springstead, chair of the Higgins Lake Foundation; Carl Doxtator, manager of the North Higgins Lake State Park; and Anna Sylvester, Department of Natural Resources District Parks Supervisor. (RP) A boat wash designed to help keep invasive species from spreading is under construction on the north side of Higgins Lake.

The facility is between West Higgins Lake Drive and Old 27 near the North Higgins Lake State Park and the Higgins Lake Public Access Site.

Operating much the same as a car wash, the station will give boaters an opportunity to spray off their boats and trailers, ridding them of any invasive species, such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussel larvae, before entering or leaving the lake.

The project, coordinated by the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association with funding through the Higgins Lake Foundation, is expected to cost approximately $60,000. Other contributors to date include the State of Michigan for the land, Larry Fox of C2AE in Gaylord for engineering services and the Roscommon County Community Foundation and the EnTrust Fund for financial donations.

Rick Meeks, chair of the HLPOA's environmental committee, said Anna Sylvester, Department of Natural Resources District Parks Supervisor, has supported the project from its conception. Carl Doxtator, manager of the North Higgins Lake State Park, is on-site coordinator.

"This project would not have been possible without their cooperation and involvement," Meeks said.

Kiosks at the state park and public access site will direct people to the boat wash, and a kiosk at the boat wash will contain information about types of invasive species and how to remove them. The facility will be open to the public 24 hours a day at no charge.

Vicki Springstead, chair of the Higgins Lake Foundation, said the boat wash project is one of the biggest grants awarded by the foundation to date, but "its potential impact on the health of Higgins Lake is invaluable."

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