Wash your boat at one of the three boat washes on Higgins Lake – Invasive species are carried on boats and trailers, some are microscopic. VHS disease can be transported by dumping bait or emptying live wells into the lake. There are boat washes at the South and North State Parks and the Gerrish Township Community Marina. Remember to “Spray Before You Play”!
Recycle – If your township has curbside recycling, the items – glass, paper, cardboard, plastic – do not need to be sorted. Contact the township offices if you need a bin. Some townships have recycling centers where recycles can be dropped off. The Roscommon Crawford Conservation District holds hazardous waste collections twice a year in June and September. Items such as paint, electronics, solvents, tires, etc. can be dropped off.
Dispose of unwanted medications properly – Do not flush. Do not pour. Trace quantities of medicines can infiltrate surface, ground and drinking water. Medications and other drugs can be placed in a drop box located on the front of the Gerrish Township Police Station.
Compost leaves & yard waste – Do not rake leaves into the lake. Most townships have compost sites available for their residents.
Maintain your septic system – Septic system tanks should be pumped out on an average of every three years. Have yours inspected if you’re not sure of the past maintenance schedule.
Restrict fertilizer use – Fertilizer runs off into the lake or seeps in through the groundwater. This contributes to weed and algae growth, which not only alters the character of the lake bottom but also attracts ducks that contribute to the Swimmer’s Itch problem.
Install a greenbelt – Natural shorelines with trees and native plants help prevent soil erosion, provide a filter for runoff, and are a habitat for birds and other wildlife. The Higgins Lake Foundation offers a matching fund grant for seawall removal and natural shoreline restoration.
Review current boating regulations – Be safe and courteous to other boaters and residents.
Familiarize yourself with public restrooms on the lake – Don’t be a polluter! There are restrooms at the South and North State Parks, the DNR West Launch site, Gerrish Township Community Marina and Gerrish Township Park.
Learn to swim – The HLF sponsors swimming lessons each summer for area youth. This year the lessons will be held at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake during the weeks of July 13 and July 20. Call the HLF office for more information. 989-275-9183.
Contain litter – Trash has a very long life cycle. Secure your cans, baggies, wrappers, etc. so they don’t blow off your boat and end up in the lake or on the beach.
Refrain from feeding ducks and geese – Feeding can result in migratory birds remaining in one locale. Ducks contribute to Swimmer’s Itch, and geese can make a mess of your lawn or beach.