• About the Watershed
• Watershed FAQ
• Concerns & Issues
• Management Plans
• MDNR Boat Launch
• Public Access Sites

• About the CLWA
• Water Quality
• Education &
• Zoning & Land Use
• Development
• Ad Hoc & Special
• Calendar
• Membership Form
• Newsletters
• References
• Watershedware

Selected Web Links

Last Revised:

© Copyright
by the Crystal Lake
& Watershed
Association and
ATI Consulting

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter

Crystal Lake and Watershed Association


Crystal Lake &
Watershed Association
P.O. Box 89, Beulah, MI 49617
Phone: (231) 882-4001
FAX: (231) 882-7810
Email Us
Follow us on Facebook

CLWA Activities:
Education &

Interpreting our Watershed through educational programs.

Annual Reports – Education & Communications Committee


See also: About the CLWA

Annual Reports – Education & Communications Committee

The Annual Reports for the Education & Communications Committee and the entire CLWA are available here.


The Crystal Lake "Walkabout"

  • Introduction

"I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering . . ."
- Henry David Thoreau

"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature."
- Henry David Thoreau.

The Crystal Lake "Walkabout" is intended to instill and nurture in young people and adults a sense of awareness of their watershed environment through an interactive program of science education involving "hands-on" observational monitoring and environmental exploring.

Three events are scheduled each year - a Spring event for 6th grade students, a Fall event for 8th grade students, and a Summer event for the general public and summer visitors.

Dedicated to "Winnie" (an awfully good dog!),
the unofficial "Walkabout" mascot (1989-2004).

The Crystal Lake “Walkabout” addresses diverse environmental features of a series of Interpretive Sites, each experienced in its own natural setting. The series of Interpretive Sites has evolved from a progression of interests, concerns, and demands. As the “Walkabout” has continued to develop, various topics have been introduced which are associated with one or more of the Interpretive Sites.

Crystal Lake

Click on the image for a much
larger view. The blue water
droplets show the locations
of the Interpretive Sites.

To easily view the locations of all "Walkabout" Interpretive Sites at once...

  • Click here to view them at Google Maps. There you can:
    • click on a yellow placemark to see that site's name and information.
    • double-click on a placemark to zoom in to that specific site.
    • click on the name of a site from the list on the left to highlight that specific site.
    • zoom in and out and explore on your own.

  • If you have the Google Earth program, download this KMZ file to your computer then open it to view the locations in that program. (If you do not have Google Earth, you can get it free here.)

You can also use the map below to go to a "Walkabout" Interpretive Site in Google Maps.

Use the map above to go to a specific "Walkabout" Interpretive Site at
Google Maps. Details for each site is provided in the list below.

• Click on an blue circle to see that site at Google Maps – the green arrow shows the
exact location. (Note that the magnification can be adjusted to show nearby
roads and intersections as needed to help guide visitors to the site.)

• Click on any general area of the image to see a map of this whole area.

Cumulative list of Interpretive Sites — In the list below, the location of each site is indicated by its latitude, longitude, and elevation above sea level to nearest waterbody, except for Sites D2, I, and K. The elevation given is to the center of the site (not critical except for steep slopes). The"Google Maps view" links point to Google Maps – the green arrow shows the exact location of the site. (Note that the magnification can be adjusted to show nearby roads and intersections as needed to help guide visitors to the site.)

• Site A. Crystal Lake (Lake, East End)
Beulah Public Beach; 44.630124, -86.09563,
600 feet (183 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site B. Cold Creek/Sediment Basin (Tributary)
Clark Street, Beulah; 44.629403, -86.092952,
603 feet (184 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site C. Trapp Farm Nature Preserve (Lake Wetlands)
Narrow Gauge Road; 44.632310, -86.086939,
603 feet (184 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site D1. Crystal Lake Outlet (Discharge)
Mollineaux Road near Outlet Creek; 44.636222, -86.147203,
600 feet (183 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site D2. Railroad Point Natural Area (High Ridge)
Mollineaux Road.; 44.637294, -86.139588,
698 feet (213 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site E1. Crystal Lake (Lake, West End)
CSA Beach; 44.665299,-86.245041,
600 feet (183 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site E2. Crystal Lake (Lake, West End)
Bellows Park; 44.660797, -86.232059,
600 feet (183 meters,
Google Maps view
• Site F. Betsie Valley Trail (River Wetlands)
River Road & M-22 Bridge; 44.619035, -86.221151,
577 feet (176 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site G. Betsie Bay (Bay / Great Lakes / USCG)
Coast Guard Station, Frankfort; 44.630025,-86.244139,
577 feet (176 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site H. Pt. Betsie (Dunes / Lighthouse)
Point Betsie Road at Lake Michigan; 44.690647, -86.255023,
577 feet (176 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site I. Benzie Area Historical Museum (Heritage)     
6941 Traverse Ave, Benzonia; 44.617374, -86.100323,
823 feet (251 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site J. Round Lake (Bay of Crystal Lake).
M-22, entering SBDNL; 44.694187, -86.186623,
606 feet (185 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site K. Hurdman's Bay/Winnetka Point (High Ridge)
Hurdman's Bay Road off of M-22; 44.686811,-86.191598,
744 feet (249 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site L. Betsie Lake Utilities Authority (Wastewater Treatment)
Spring Street at M-22, Frankfort; 44.630407,-86.224051,
592 feet (180 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site M. Crystal Lake Boating Access Site (Fisheries)
E. Mollineaux Road & M-115; 44.636456, -86.127239,
600 feet (183 meters),
Google Maps view
• Site N. Personal Choice
(One’s own special place or in your mind’s eye.)

  • Statistics on Past "Walkabouts"

Crystal Lake "Walkabout" Attendance

  • People / Organizations Involved (1993-2011)

(Links to some of these organizations are available on our Links page.)

Logos for many of these organizations:

(Click on the image for a larger view.)

1. Participants

  • The general public, riparians, visitors, and guests to our Watershed.
  • Benzie County Central Schools
  • Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools
  • Interlochen Arts Academy

2. Sponsors

3. Supporters/Contributors

4. Volunteers/Interpreters

We will walk on our own feet, we will work with our own hands, we will speak our own minds."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar" (1837)

Special thanks are in order to all of the individuals who, since the inception of the “Walkabout” in 1993, have served as willing volunteers in many capacities, as Site Interpreters, coordinators, consultants, moral supporters, and general “go-fers”. Without YOU, the “Walkabout” would not continue to flourish and evolve! Please contact the CLWA if you enjoy working with young people and sharing your experiences. We are interested in learning of willing volunteers with sincere interests in environmental education. 231/352-7043, or
Email Us.

Alan Appelhof
Joanne Applehof
Nancy Baglan
Valerie Bartel
Randy Bell
Dendra Best
Jim Buzzell
Lou Cenname
Chuck Clarke
Eleanor Comings
Blake Compton
Judy Cunningham
Bill Crawford
Stacy L. Daniels
Bill & Char Decker
Nancy Dilts
Roberta Dow
Sean Duperron
Arin Early
Wally Edwards
Ernest Elliott
Eddie Ellsworth
Joan Fenton
Amy Ferris & FPBL
Shauna Fite
AnneMarie Fleming
Tom Fountain
Carl Freeman
Abby Mahan Gartland
Jane Gary
Don Gatz
Paul Gerhart
Doug Gibson
Ted Gostomski
Barbara Graves
Becky Gray McGirr
Lisa Griebel
Lisa Gruber
Ron Harrison
Julie Hay
Bill Herd
Elizabeth Hill
Rebecca Hill
Ed Hoogterp
Heather Huffstutler
Dave & Chris Jahr
Tom Kelly & ISEA
Charles Kehr
Cath Kelder
Kaye Krapohl
Walt Johnson
Jim Laarman
Vic Lane
Natasha Lapinski
Liz Leavens
Darlyne Leete
Shirley Lerose
Luke Lewandowski
Mike & Sarah Litch
Jim Lively
Susan Lutes
EB Maynard
Suz McLaughlin
Dottie & Ted Meier
Paul Murphy
Ann McDonough
Jack McGowen-Stinski
Sarah Naperala
John Nelson
Teresa Newmarch
Meg Niederhofer
Andy Norman
Patty O’Donnell
Mike Okma
Sandra O’Neal
Liz Padalino
Mary Pitcher
Mary Pray
Dan Remahl
Bill Queen
Bob Schmidt
Heather Rigney
Keith Schneider
Marie Scott
Virginia Sorenson
Carolyn Thayer
Toby Tull
Jeff Vitton
Keith Westphal
USCG — Station
Lou Yock

  • "Walkabout" Pictures



Click here for a larger view of them all.

Information for Crystal Lake Watershed Residents, Visitors, and the Public.

See our Crystal Lake Watershed Management page, which includes

    • Crystal Lake Watershed Management Plan
    • Watershed Management Definition

Concerns and Issues

There are many ways that we may look at the Crystal Lake Watershed -as a student, a visitor, an owner of watershed property (a "lakie," a "townie,", a "fudgie," etc.). All of us have slightly different perspectives, but we all share the benefits -the use and enjoyment of our Watershed for fishing, boating, swimming, recreation, working, and living. We also share the same concerns for maintaining a proper balance between reasonable environmental protection and sustainable development. Together, we are all stewards of the environment that makes up Crystal Lake and its surrounding Watershed.

Concerns and Issues
- Web page includes a broad range of concerns for all involved and/or affected by the Crystal Lake Watershed.

Geographic Names Information System (USGS)

The CLWF initiated a project in 1999 to modify local names contained in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), a national database managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This project supports local water quality monitoring efforts by the CLWF within the Crystal Lake Watershed and elsewhere in Benzie County by creating a comprehensive listing of names and locations of local geographic features.

The CLWF reviewed 183 "existing" features for Benzie County which include: some repetitive entries, a few misspellings, other possible incorrect latitudes/longitudes, and some partial or incorrect names. There are also omissions of some well-known (old and new) features. In addition, 65 potentially "new" features of local interest suggested to the USGS by the CLWF are currently under review.

The CLWF is partnering with county, township, and village governments, and interested local citizens to solicit new, old, and modified names. Locations will be verified, identified on USGS topographic quadrangle maps, and submitted to USGS for approval. The project is a continuing volunteer effort.

Major benefits to be realized from the GNIS project include: (1) creation of an accurate, consistent, and updated listing of geographic features, (2) better recognition of features by local citizens, riparian owners, local government, and schools, and (3) increased publicity of local features for visitors through local information sources and the Internet.

The high ridge promontory east of Outlet Creek on the SE shore of Crystal Lake has been known locally as "Railroad Point" ever since the Toledo Ann Arbor & North Michigan Railroad established service (the famous "Ping-Pong") between Frankfort and Beulah in the 1890's. (A spectacular train wreck occurred near "Bay Point" in 1911!). More recently, the "Railroad Point Natural Area" was established by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (which is used as an interpretive site during the Crystal Lake "Walkabout").

On August 4, 2003, the CLWF received formal notification from Roger L. Payne, Executive Secretary, U.S. Board on Geographic Names, "approving our proposal to change officially the name of Bay Point in Benzie County to Railroad Point." This decision was made in agreement with the findings and recommendations of the Supervisors of Benzonia Township, the Supervisors of Crystal Lake Township, the Commissioners of Benzie County, and the Michigan State Board on Geographic Names.

Other Environmental Attractions

The Crystal Lake Watershed contains many unique sites of environmental diversity. The following four locations are featured as part of the Crystal Lake "Walkabout" cosponsored by the CLWA.

Trapp Farm Nature Preserve (Lake Wetlands)

For over sixty years, up until 1982, much of the land that is now the Trapp Farm Nature Preserve was managed as a produce farm yielding abundant crops of celery, cabbage, broccoli, radishes, and onions. In 1991, the land, which contains regional significant wetlands (land covered or saturated with water for extended periods) was donated to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. The Preserve has now increased in size through subsequent donations to encompass 132 Acres. A number of trails have been developed to facilitate interpretive nature hikes through the diversity of ecosystems ranging from open fields to cedar stands, and including remnant orchards and mature woodlands. The Sediment Basin in downtown Beulah receives the combined flow of Cold Creek, the major tributary to Crystal Lake. The CLWF was instrumental in the creation of the TFNP and has been monitoring the chemical and biological parameters of the Cold Creek subwatersheds for several years. (Please see our Water Quality page for details of the CLWA studies.)

Railroad Point Natural Area (High Ridge)

Located on the southeastern side of Crystal Lake, Railroad Point is one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels on the Lake. It consists of 61 Acres including more than one-third mile of shoreline and featuring high-forested ridges ("bluffs") that are visible from many vantage points on the Lake. It also affords the viewer a spectacular vista of Crystal Lake. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy received a $2.1 million grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to conserve this resource. Acquisition of Railroad Point is the catalyst for a Benzie County Parks System with the support of many local organizations. Recently the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has proposed the construction of a boat launch facility nearby to provide access to Crystal Lake for use area fishermen and visitors. (Please see our Zoning & Land Use page for comments by the CLWA and its predecessors.)

Betsie Valley Trail (River Wetlands)

The Crystal Lake Watershed (a "lucustrine0/0 or lake watershed) is considered part of the Betsie River Watershed (a "riverine0/0 or river watershed). Crystal Lake overflows into the Betsie River by way of Outlet Creek. The Betsie Valley Trail, a 22-mile rail-trail, stretches between Thompsonville and Elberta/Frankfort, Michigan, and runs adjacent to Crystal Lake at Railroad Point, the Outlet, and Cold Creek. Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies have been used extensively to highlight sites of special interest along the Trail, including the extensive wetlands near Betsie Bay.

Pt. Betsie (Dunes / Lighthouse)

Pt. Betsie is the site of the world-famous Pt. Betsie Lighthouse, now under the stewardship of Benzie County and the Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse. It is a prominent location mentioned in the early travels of Frs. Marquette and Charlevoix, and appears on many early maps. It is situated on the east shore of Lake Michigan with only 1-1/2 mile of sand dunes separating it from the Crystal Lake Watershed. The Point Betsie Dunes Preserve of 94.5 Acres is maintained by The Nature Conservancy - MI Chapter. It features interdunal wetlands, open dunes, cobble and sand beach, and pockets of boreal (northern conifer) forest. Pitcher's thistle and Lake Huron locust are two species found only on Great Lakes shores. Spotted sandpiper and American redstarts are commonly seen there, as are migrating birds of prey, such as peregrine falcons.

Other Educational Presentations

Crystal Lake & Watershed Association - A "New" Organization !

The Crystal Lake Watershed - The Value of Having a Lake Association?!


Historical information on environmental issues as reported by the former Crystal Lake Watershed Fund, Inc. Biannual newsletter (published in annual updates) contains information on activities and environmental issues of interest to residents and visitors of the Crystal Lake Watershed. Crystal Lake Watershed Management.

As a prototypical Lake Owners' Manual, Crystal Lake - Life or Death (CLLD) is a significant book. It resulted from discussions by local citizens who formed an Ad Hoc Committee to the Benzie County Public Works Department. This Committee raised concerns about two issues: (1) present and future water quality problems of the Crystal Lake Watershed, and (2) absence of an equitable and effective plan for watershed management.

Updates appeared as
Crystal Shorelines - the Newsletters of the CLWF.

    • "Crystal Facets" - The Newsletter of the CLA - Historical information on environmental issues as reported by the former Crystal Lake Association.
    • "Crystal Lake Handbook" (CLA) - A publication jointly sponsored by the Crystal Lake Association and Michigan State University Extension, (2002).


About the Watershed

Watershed FAQ

Concerns & Issues

Management Plan

MDNR Boat Launch

Public Access Sites
About the CLWA

• Water Quality

Education & Communications

• Zoning & Land Use

• Development

• Ad Hoc & Special Committees

• Calendar
• Membership Form

• Newsletters

• References

• Watershedware

Selected Web Links