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Ogar Speaks To Rotary About Restoring Saginaw Bay Access

Phragmites Control, Boardwalk, Groomed Beach, Fishing Pier, Scenic Area

May 28, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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Laura Ogar
Laura Ogar, Bay Co-Director of Environmental Affairs & Community Development, spoke to Rotary about the status of updates to the Bay city State Recreation Area.

Today it's hard to imagine the Saginaw Bay of 100 years ago. That was a time when the bay and beaches were destinations. Many people remember, or have heard of Wenona Beach Amusement Park. But going back to earlier days, there was O-At-Ka Beach Resort and Bay View Resort (1876), Reservation Beach (1874), Paraleon Pier - Waterworks Park (with a dance hall, pier, boat docks and food), Bokatondon Beach Resort, Tobico Beach Hotel, and Cottage Grove Summer Resort in Linwood.

The best remembered was Wenonah Beach with its pavilion, dance hall, casino, pier, docking facilities, food courts, amusements the famous Jack Rabbit roller coaster. Wenona operated into the 1950's and 60's. Paraleon was operating into the 1950's. (If you don't remember Wenona, visit the exhibit at the Museum next to City Hall.)

With 130 miles of coast on the inner Saginaw Bay, this should be a major selling point to the area. In fact, though, there are only 475 feet of public shoreline in the Bay County Pinconning Park and another 1,200 feet at the Bay City State Recreation Area.

A significant problem in recent years has been the muck that washes up on all of these Saginaw Bay beaches. That combined with the invasive phragmites, twelve-foot tall grasses, has severely limited access or has made what access there is to be unusable.

For some time, the Dept of Natural Resources (DNR) has restricted property owners from cleaning of modifying their beaches, which were considered wetlands. In the last couple of years, those restrictions have been relaxed and the DNR just awarded a $334,398 grant to treat the 725 acres of Phrag along the Bay shoreline. The beaches are coming back. Many residents are still afraid to touch their beaches, said Ogar, but if they call her office she can tell them about their new rights.

Other projects include a boardwalk across the wetlands at the Start Park, which will provide access to the newly groomed beach. A long talked about fishing pier is nearing start. Next steps to bay utilization include marketing analysis, cost-benefit analysis, design work, permits for areas near eagle nest areas, and a planned Saginaw Bay Blueways Trail.


Do you like the new banner? Thank Andy Rogers! He made all of the banners we've used for the Breezes and this is the latest.

A special SKYPE conference will be held following the meeting in two weeks (June 7). Everyone is encouraged to attend. The conference will be with the group the club sponsors in Guatemala. Don't miss it.

The Club Golf Outing is scheduled for June 16, 2016, at Maple Leaf Golf Course. Registration is at 7:30am with a shotgun start at 9:00am. Cost is $75 per person with net proceeds going to technology upgrades for Bay City Public Schools. Tim Holsworth read the names of sponsors and announced that raffle tickets are being sold for the 49 inch, LG smart TV.

President Brenda gave a wrap-up of events at the just concluded District Conference.

Chris Girard reported on the planning for the Zombie Run in a few months. The committee is meeting and pulling details together. If you area available to serve, please see Chris.

Matt Felan reported that Vocation Day 2016 has been scheduled for November 1. Seven area schools will participate. Some new hosts have been identified. If you would like to take a student, please see Matt.

The first half of the Rotary year is rapidly coming to a close. Dues for the July to December term will be in the mail shortly. Please do your best to get your payment in promptly. You will note a slight change to the dues invoice format. We are trying to better show the breakdown and distribution of the dues. Comments are welcome.

Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH newsletters MAY be available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below. These are not always updated, but it's worth trying.


June 16th, Thursday, Annual Golf Outing - Maple Leaf Golf Course, 9:00 a.m. start.
Full details are on the club website.

November 1, 2016 Vocational Day

Upcoming Programs

(See the official schedule at )

May 31, 2016 Martial Arts

June 7, 2016 Bay Future Inc. Fundraising Campaign Update by Trevor Keyes, Mark Liton, and Paul Santiago

June 21, 2016 Community grant recipient update: Kathy Rayner Literacy Council of Bay County

July 5, 2016 Passing of the Gavel. Be sure to attend as Brenda Scramlin ends her year as club President by passing the gavel to Incoming President Andrea Hales.

Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH newsletters are available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below.

Get connected with ROTARY on Facebook.
Over 450 people like us. Let's go for 500 people liking our page!

Rotary Bay City on Facebook
Rotary Bay City on Facebook!
Click on the Blue Facebook to visit us there.

Remember! Check attendance sheets at the front desk.

District 6310 Web Site District Dispatch Archive
Rotary International Make-up On-Line at
The Rotary Global History Fellowship
Rotary Global History.

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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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