Beaver Island Association Newsletter - Winter 2022
President’s Corner
BICS Update - Real Estate Report -Trails Update -
Terrestrial Invasives Report -
Great Lakes Island Alliance Initiative - Pickleball and Bocce Ball Courts -
Broadband Update - BIA Initiative: Dark Sky Sanctuary -
Library Endowment Fund - Year End Appeal

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

President's Corner

by Dick Mulvihill, BIA President

November 13. 2021 is seared in the memory of Beaver Island residents. A tragic accident took the lives of four people in the prime of their lives. A fatal plane crash on Beaver Island left four dead, including Kate Leese and Adam Kendall, Mike Perdue, and the pilot William Julian. Mike Perdue’s 11-year-old daughter Laney survived and was initially life-flighted to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey and was later transferred to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapid. The good news is that Laney is leaving the hospital and returning home on December 1st.

The tragic plane crash not only devastated the Beaver Island community but also impacted the BIA family. Adam Kendall – BIA Board Member, and his wife Kate Leese were lost in the crash.

Kate and Adam’s life as traveling nomads on their airstream had recently started a vineyard on Beaver Island, were featured in a Nov. 6 story in The Detroit News. Both were active in community activities; Adam was on the BIA board and Kate was on the BI Rural Health Care Board and taught online security at the BI Community School

The BIA Board and our members offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of Adam and Kate for their heartbreaking loss as well as to the families of Mike Perdue and William Julian.

Two recurring themes of the catastrophe were the island’s resilience. Thirty Islanders were at the Lessee/Kindal farm on Monday after the crash to work in the vineyard and insulated the farmhouse.

The other was the courage of Christie, Mike Perdue’s wife, who was born on the island. She said Mike was a hero in saving Laney’s life by holding her tight during the crash. “It was a miracle and a tragedy, all in one day,” Christie said on CNN Wednesday. “It’s hard to balance all those emotions.”

Most of Laney’s injuries are on one side, and Christie thinks her daughter “was snuggled in on dad on the other side. In my heart of hearts, I know that he truly did save her, and he protected her,” she said.

Now the island has arrived at the most beautiful time of the year. Winter with snow on the trees and the silence in the forest is deafening. The island returns to a slower pace.
This years’ tourism was a record-breaking success. Island Air’s 2021 July to September traffic was up 24% over the company's 2000 record year.

After the lockdown, there was a distinct attraction for the beauty and serenity most remote inhabited island in the Great Lakes. Visitors want to explore the beauty of a remote island far from the rat race in the cities.

The hotels, restaurants, and shops were packed. Unique island events – BI Music Fest and Baroque on Beaver brought new visitors to the island.

The downside of the economic upswing was labor and housing shortages were exacerbated on the island. It’s more difficult to get seasonal workers for the shops, bars, and restaurants during the tourist season. Especially this year high housing pricing and lack of reasonable year-rental housing aggravated the Island’s housing market

Also, this summer there was an increase in high-speed traffic on the county roads, trespassing on private property, and some ATMs running on the beaches.

The BIA played a leading role in island initiatives this year.

The Township partnered with Great Lake Energy partnership to apply for a broadband grant for an Island-wide fiber to the home network (FTTH) that could ensure financial sustainability for the Island. The Broadband Update article will describe the FTTH broadband grant procedure.

What appeared to be a sleeper event brought the BIA and Beaver Island international visibility. Beaver Island was a finalist for the Land Rover Defender Above and Beyond Service Awards. Pam Grassmick and Shelby Harris produced and narrated a fantastic video that launched BI as a finalist in the Land Rover Defender Awards. The competition was fierce, and we didn’t win the contest. But Beaver Island was the winner with the worldwide exposure. The online Land Rover Defender Awards ceremony was broadcast from London.

As a result of the Defender Above and Beyond Service Awards’ international exposure, the French foundation, the BIA was approached on funding for invasive species work from the French Foundation. The French Foundation is a Pittsburgh Pa base philanthropic organization targeting primarily for conservation and environmental support.

On BIA’s mission in advocating and managing environmental and invasive species, the Townships created a Terrestrial Invasive Species Program managed by Shelby Harris. The program is part of a community effort to curb and/or eradicate invasive species spread in the Beaver Island Archipelago while promoting the knowledge, awareness, and protection of threatened & endangered species.

The BIA supports the Beaver Island Dark Sky Project. Under Cynthia Johnson’s leadership the Dark Sky Project Committee submitted an 86-page application specifying Beaver Island qualification to become a Dark Sky Sanctuary. Factoid – the sky quality measurement (SQM) is on a scale from 16 to 22 with 16 indicating maximum light pollution and 22 indicating the absence of all light. Beaver Island SQM is 21. The US average SQM is 17.5.

We look forward to your ideas, support, and contribution to the BIA.

Beaver Island Community School Update

by Wil Cwikiel, BICS Superintendent and BIA Board Member
Restoring Islander Traditions

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Beaver Island Community School has endeavored to provide quality face-to-face instruction. Thanks to the support of our partners at the Beaver Island Rural Health Center and the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, we have been able to help support efforts to vaccinate Island residents and to make sound decisions on quarantining, masking, and school operations. So far this year we have been able to hold in-person instruction every day. For those students who have been out on quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, we have provided remote connections to their teachers so the learning can continue.

In the midst of the pandemic, this fall we welcomed two new teachers to the Island who have already proven themselves excellent members of the BICS teaching team. Sara Mullen comes to us from Anchorage, Alaska and teaches art, kindergarten, and first grade at BICS. Amanda Bedell comes to the Island from Cadillac and teaches second and third grade. Both love the Island and are great additions to the community.

As we have refined our response to COVID-19 in schools, BICS has started restoring Islander traditions that enrich the educational experience and connect students to the community. In September, with the help of dozens of parent and community volunteers, we restored the Beaver Island History Adventure Day. This school-wide activity engages students in the cultural history of Beaver Island and included activities like canoeing with a French fur trapper, shooting archery, and pressing apple cider.

Although the annual GLIA Island Summit has been cancelled, the schools of the “unbridged” Great Lakes Islands renewed the Great Lakes Islands Basketball Tournament after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The Islander Boys and Girls Basketball Teams and a large delegation of parents and community-members traveled to South Bass Island in Lake Erie the first week in December. The Put-in-Bay Panthers were very generous hosts. The Lady Islanders played hard and did a nice job of containing the Panthers’ star three-pointer, but came up just short at the final buzzer. The Beaver Islander Boys’ Basketball team successfully defended their title as the Best Great Lakes Boys Island Basketball Team!

As we continue the school year, we will focus on quality in-person instruction, working to promote health and welfare for all Island residents, and renewing the traditions that make Beaver Island Community School a great place to live and learn.

2021 Beaver Island Real Estate Report

by Sheri Richards, Real Estate One and BIA Board Secretary

Real estate on Beaver Island has been moving! In 2021 the island real estate market saw record sales.

Before running the stats and telling you all about the outstanding year we have had in real estate I would like to tell you what I have learned and contemplated, while meeting the island’s real estate needs, over this past year. The change of property ownership is not just a switch of taxpayers. It is a transition. Our island is large, wild, and beautiful. It has remained this way because of its remoteness and mystery. The internet has changed all of that. I have had the opportunity this past year to spend days with many thoughtful caretakers. It has been fascinating to spend time with them, and see the island through their eyes. Vast fields that were cleared weekend by weekend over time, rolling dunes with towering hardwoods, sandy beaches with untouched growth covering the sandy mounds. Caretakers who laid thick beams amongst the dunes as walkways in order to make the least disturbance to the natural landscape.

I consider the transition of ownership. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn about the plans of these new caretakers. People who also love and appreciate the beauty of Beaver Island as well as people who don’t really know much about Beaver Island other than it’s remoteness and charm. I consider the transition this island may go through in the next ten years, for the better and for the worse. I consider the impact that this transition will have on our community. At the township level I consider the importance of maintaining structure and detailed expectations of those who traverse this precious place. Future goal setting in order to protect and preserve the beauty of what is presently enjoyed by the public as well as what might be beneficial for public use in the future. I consider the importance of working towards making the public lakeshore, that is currently landlocked, accessible to the public in the days to come. Land that is off the tax roll is paid for by the public and should be accessible to the public. With that being said, these hard to reach areas are magical places. It is vital that we protect them. Protecting public land while allowing use is a difficult thing and would require a movement of education and proactiveness on the part of Islanders. Educating those who do not know. Trying to give newcomers a vision of what they are seeing. To appreciate what a treasure the ground is that they are traversing. This work will be necessary in the days to come.

The Beaver Island real estate report is as follows:
Vacant Land - 86 properties sold
Price range - $4,000 - $235,000
Median sale price - $55,000
Average days on Market - 319

Residential Properties - 48 Homes
Price range - $73,000 - $845,000
Median Sale price - $319,500
Average days on Market - 332

Beaver Island Archipelago Trails Association


by Dick Mulvihill, BIATA President and
BIA Board President


In 2020 Beaver Island Township gave $6000 for the Beaver Island Archipelago Trails Association (BIATA) to partner with Land Information Access Association (LIAA) to craft a BIATA Trails Master Plan Draft Work Plan
In addition to the Trails Master Plan Draft Work Plan, this year BITA worked with Terrestrial Invasive Species Advisory Council, Cultural Resource Committee, and Historical Society on environmental impact on the trails system. The Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce received a grant to develop a Beaver Island Trails
phone app.
On the App Store search for Beaver Island Travel and download the app.
The overall project goal is to create a master plan for the development of a system of unpaved, multi-use trails to be used for hiking, birding, running, recreational cycling, and cross-country skiing.
Ultimately, the master plan will be used to guide the phased development of multi-use unpaved trails, unpaved mountain biking trails, and associated amenities on Beaver Island and offer recommendations for the most cost-effective means of developing the new trail system by incorporating and improving the paths and roads currently existing on Beaver Island.
In the spring of 2021, the DNR Wildlife Division organized a Beaver Island Trail Development meeting for the stakeholders to begin formulating an approach to the development of a set of trail master plans that will help ensure a successful path to implementation.

Invasive Species Updates

by Katie Garrett, BIA Board Member and
Pam Grassmick, Former BIA Board Member

The Beaver Island Association would like to thank all those who participated in the
Land Rover Defender Above and Beyond Service Awards. Our video showcased the invasive species work that has been accomplished over the years. Being chosen as one of the top five organizations from across the nation in the Environmental Award section was a great honor. Thank you to Barbara Lucas, owner of Insight Video, who guided BIA with the submitted video. While we may not have won a vehicle for invasive species field work, we were approached by the French Foundation to apply for a grant. Our community continues to be a winner by pulling together and getting invasive species under control.

The Beaver Island Terrestrial Invasive Species (TIS) program completed their first year under the guidance of Shelby Harris, TIS Coordinator. Funding for 2022 and 2023 for invasive species control has been secured through a US Fish and Wildlife Service grant which is being administered by St. James Township. The grant will also assist with developing a program to protect the archipelago's rare and endangered plant and animal species. Shelby Harris has done a spectacular job developing a new invasive species program for the islands. She will be hiring two interns to help her with the 2022 field season. The Beaver Island Association has transferred the invasive species equipment locker housed at the Transfer Station to the townships' TIS program.
Elizabeth Lascala and Hunter Torolski were the island's invasive species interns from Central Michigan University who worked with Shelby Harris. The purpose of 2021 project was to provide Beaver Island with two full-time seasonal field support for the summer season to survey, treat and manage invasive species that have been introduced to the island system, and to educate the Beaver Island public on invasive species issues through active outreach and educational events. Liz and Hunter's positions were funded through the Michigan Invasive Species Program administered by Ryan Wheeler with the Michigan DNR through the Charlevoix, Antrim, Kalkaska, and Emmet County (C.A.K.E) agency acting as the fiduciary. Permission for invasive treatment was gathered by Shelby Harris, TIS Coordinator. The treatment of Beaver Island and outer islands for invasive phragmites and narrow-leaf cattail was conducted by Wildlife and Wetland Solutions and funded with assistance of the Wildlife Division, a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and a US Forest Service grant.

Emerald Ash Borer parasatoid collection

For over a decade, the Beaver Island Association has monitored ash trees for the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). When the first EAB was detected in 2017, volunteers reached out to the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University, and the Forestry Division of the DNR for guidance on how best to proceed with EAB control. Parasitoids have been
released in 26 of the 35 U.S. States and 2 provinces of Canada where it is not reasonable to inject tree trunks with systemic pesticides or remove all of the infested trees. It was determined that parasitoids which are host specific to EAB may be a means of controlling EAB on the islands. The program called for one to three species of parasitoids being released every two weeks over a two year period in areas with known EAB infestations. Beaver Island and Garden Island had identified release sites. The question remained, would they live to reproduce to control EAB? Under the watchful eye of Dr. Beth Leuck, several specimens were detected which were sent to the USDA's entomologist for confirmation. Yes, EAB parasitoids were reproducing on Beaver Island. Specimens of Tetrastichus planipennisi were collected as well as a Spathius galinae. The bio-control management objective is to protect ash trees from EAB overwhelming the tree so that they can reach maturity. These findings may confer long term protection of the islands' ash trees.

The townships' ordinance prohibiting the movement of untreated wood remains in place. The goal of the ordinance is to protect our forests from other insect pests being transported to the islands.

Not wanted on our island: Japanese barberry being found in Peaine Township woods can increase chance of contracting Lyme Disease.


Besides displacing native plants this ornamental plant can easily escape from your yard and could be bad for human health. According to research from the University of Connecticut, it provides a haven for all life stages of black-legged ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. And areas with a lot of Japanese barberry often have more of those ticks. “To a tick, a barberry is a skyscraper; it’s got this huge protective cover that provides this little microclimate on the forest floor,” Wurzbacher said. Ticks prefer humid places, and a barberry provides a little humid shelter for them, she said. “Barberry provides this thorny-structured, very dense cover for white-footed mice that carry the ticks to thrive, with some protection from predators,” she said. If you have questions or see this plant along the roads or in the woods, contact Shelby Harris, TIS Coordinator.

More information regarding the Beaver Island Terrestrial Invasive Species program can be found:
http://www.stjamestwp.org/government_departments/ terrestrial_invasive_species_watch.php

Shelby Harris can be reached at: (231) 330-0422 or invasivespadm.bi@gmail.com
Photo by Pam Grassmick - Liz and Hunter doing invasive work.

2021 TIS Program Report

by Shelby Harris, Terrestrial Invasives Species Coordinator

This past 2021 season, the island’s new Terrestrial Invasive Species (TIS) Program can easily be said was quite a success. This program, growing from the grass root movements and pursued passions of islanders and island organizations alike, along with the help of local, state, federal and tribal agencies, was able to accomplish much needed and continued acts of service towards our island’s native ecosystems and inhabitants.

With help from CAKE-CISMA (Charlevoix, Antrim, Kalkaska, Emmett Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area) through their Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Grant, the program was able to have two, wonderful Central Michigan University (CMU) interns; Liz LaScala and Hunter Torolski, join us on the island as a “Strike Team” to conduct surveys, monitor for invasive, threatened and endangered plant species, reach out to the public via education outreach and assist in invasive species removal from over a dozen private properties throughout the island.

All together the CAKE CISMA Strike Team helped us survey the 41 miles of shoreline on Beaver Island for the invasive Phragmites and Narrow-leaf Cattail, over 80 miles of road and trail sides for invasive species such as Autumn Olive, Garlic Mustard and many more, along with surveying and treating over 500 acres of the island for invasive species. Our thanks and appreciation cannot be shared enough to the man-hours they worked in the field and the summer commitment they showed to helping protect our rare and fragile island home from the threat of invasive species.

CAKE CISMA’s GLRI grant also provided the funds for the hired Wildlife and Wetland Solutions Pesticide Application team to conduct almost 30 acres of shoreline treatment towards invasive Phragmites and Narrow-leaf Cattail throughout the Beaver Island Archipelago. These treatments were only able to be completed thanks to the surveys conducted by Liz and Hunter, along with outer island surveys conducted by Little Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa Indians (LTBB) Conservationist, Noah Jansen. It is with great efforts from these multiple organizations and people that help keep our beaches open, healthy and full of native biodiversity for all island inhabitants, whether it be people, White-tail Deer or our precious Piping Plover, to utilize and enjoy. Our thanks and appreciation again, cannot be expressed enough.

Beyond shoreline work, it was with help from a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and St. James Township that allowed the TIS Program to acquire equipment and supplies for field work, conduct treatments towards invasive species not listed in the GLRI grant, such as the Glossy Buckthorn on Garden Island, and join in a Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Collaborative Lake Management Program (CLMP) that has begun to monitor the island’s inland lakes for aquatic invasive species, overall water quality and shoreline health.

As was stated, it can be easily said that the island’s new TIS Program had a successful first year. Looking to next season in 2022, the TIS Program will have its own US Fish and Wildlife Services GLRI Grant and another MOA from the MDNR to fund our management efforts, along with continued help from our partners such as CAKE CISMA, LTBB and many more. These efforts will again include shoreline surveys and treatments of Beaver and the outer islands, road and trail side surveys and treatments, monitoring and management of high priority and Environmental Reference Areas, private landowner education, outreach and invasive species removals, and continued work with the CLMP towards monitoring and data collection of our island inland lakes. We will also be working more with the Beaver Island Archipelago Trails Association, the Beaver Island Historical Society, and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) of MSU Extension in providing trail maps and descriptions of local fauna and invasive species threats, land owner guides and public education on how YOU as islanders or as visitors can aid in our help of protecting and allowing our island’s native ecosystems thrive.

There is much to do and the fight never ends against the threat of invasive species spreading throughout our islands and damaging our home but it is with committed and collaborative actions seen from the likes such as the island’s TIS Program, partners such as CAKE CISMA, the MDNR, LTBB, the Beaver Island Association (BIA), and from grass root members and islanders like you that can keep our islands sustainable, full of evermore rare, native biodiversity and purely beautiful.

Special thanks deserve to go to the TIS Committee for their hours and efforts towards this new program, the BIA- especially Pam Grassmick, Beth Leuck and Lisa Borre for their countless hours dedicated towards our efforts for the island, both townships, CMU Biological Station for the housing of our interns, the Northern Lake Michigan Island Collaborative (NLMIC) members- especially Jennifer Kleitch of the MDNR and Matt Preisser of EGLE, our multiple partners; CAKE CISMA and LTBB to name two and to the Little Traverse Conservancy for the use of their vehicle and Brian Schild for keeping it running for us. To thank everyone who has been involved, who has aided in survey efforts, provided equipment and/or materials, or volunteered their valuable time would take the whole news letter and more, but please know you are greatly appreciated and the TIS program is forever grateful.

Chii Miigwetch!
Great Lakes Island Alliance 4th Annual Summit Postponed Again
by Bob Anderson,
Former BIA Board Member

The 4th annual GLIA Summit to be hosted by the Lake Erie islands that had been postponed from October, 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions was again postponed from the first weekend of October, 2022.
Although the Planning Committee was prepared to host the event and registration had already begun, two issues drove the GLIA Steering Committee to reluctantly postpone the event.

First, the event would not be inclusive of the entire GLIA https://glialliance.org membership. The international border is still not yet fully open to easy, two-way traffic which would automatically exclude our Canadian members. This includes existing members from Manitoulin and Pelee Islands and new prospective members from St. Joseph Island and Wolfe Island. The Islands Summit is GLIA’s annual member event and is likely the chance of a lifetime for our members to experience the four Lake Erie islands in person. GLIA is a bi-national organization and it is not fair to exclude our existing and prospective Canadian members from that opportunity through no fault of their own.

Second, a recent survey response from membership told us that a sizeable portion of Summit registrants (30+%) would definitely back out. We recognize that there are differences in opinion on how best to tackle COVID-19, but also appreciate that each person comes from a different place and must make a personal decision about health, safety and risk.

The local host team from the Lake Erie islands worked all year to pull together an incredible program, and we now look forward to experiencing the next Summit on the Lake Erie islands in fall 2022. The three previous Great Lakes Islands Summits have been grand, joyous gatherings. We pledge to make the next one the biggest, best Summit ever!

BIA & the Font Lake Park

Pickleball & Bocce Ball Project

by Bob Anderson, Former BIA Board Member

The sport of pickleball had limited interest until about five years ago when several seasonal residents shared their winter residence pickleball experience at the Beaver Island Community Center. The interest was contagious, and attracted many seasonal and full-time residents on a regular schedule to learn the game, get some exercise, and socialize with other residents, many new acquaintances. Although adequate, the BIC Center auditorium was not ideal because of the walls and stage just beyond the court lines, a hazard as player skills improved.

The players approached St. James Township to incorporate pickleball into the St. James tennis courts and one court was lined to accommodate pickleball. Dedicated times were established each week for tennis and pickleball, with other times on a first- come first-serve basis. Interest far exceeded the single court capability, so players purchased a removable line set to allow use of the second court that was not paint striped. We have had as many as thirty interested players at a time, with ages spanning 11 to 83, even though only eight can play at a time.

Player interest has far exceeded the existing facilities that are shared with an avid core of tennis players. The Peaine Township Recreation Plan identified the opportunity for additional facilities using the Font Lake Park that has plenty of suitable land and existing available parking, and is currently underutilized public land.
Bocce ball currently has no formal courts and is played with impromptu courts outlined in temporary marking paint in the existing park area on rough field surfaces. These have been used for both recreation and charity fundraising events, but the lack of dedicated facilities had limited opportunity to play this popular sport for island
residents and visitors. This project provides the solution of permanent, low maintenance courts using available parkland.

This project has been a truly collaborative effort. The Charlevoix County Community Foundation generously approved a grant of $6815 for Phase 1 of the project in the spring Environment and Land Use Cycle. Community members and players initiated fundraising activities that have raised over $17,900 in private donations from a GoFundMe account, a concession stand at the 4th of July parade, and a Bocce Tournament Fundraiser. The Beaver Island Association played a key role by hosting the GoFundMe account and accepting individual contributions for the project. Peaine Township has budgeted $10,000 to date for the project, and St. James Township has expressed support at the same level. An application was submitted for the spring cycle of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians 2% Fund, but it was unsuccessful. Other grant opportunities that are being pursued include resubmitting to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians 2% Fund in November, 2021; submitting to the Charlevoix County Community Foundation Geographic Enrichment Cycle in October, 2021; submitting to the Great Lakes Energy People Fund in October, 2021: the Charlevoix County Park & Recreation Millage Fund in spring of 2022; and possibly the DNR Recreation Passport Grant Program in spring of 2022.

Broadband Update

by Dick Mulvihill, BIA President

Islanders were anxiously waiting for November 29, 2021. That was the date the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) was to announce the winners of the Broadband Infrastructure Program grant. But, the NTIA missed the November 29th grant award announcement. Doug Dawson, who wrote Beaver Island’s NTIA application, said it’s not uncommon for federal agencies to miss their award announcement date. Especially the NTIA, which has the smallest staff of most of the federal agencies.

The grant application was filed on August 17, 2021, by the Beaver Island Townships working through their Joint Telecommunications Advisory Committee (JTAC) partnered with Great Lake Energy (GLE). The JTAC and GLE worked with CCG Consulting to prepare the filing. It included a discussion of Beaver Island’s unique Island economic ecosystem prepared by Kitty McNamara and seeks $15.5 million from the NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program for a gigabit fiber to the home (FFTH) network. The system would pass every home and business on the island and include two new microwave towers (one on the mainland) to provide 4 gigabit backhaul links to the mainland. Township leaders have called the grant is Beaver Island’s passport to the 21st Century.

The NITA did not mandate matching funds. However, they strongly recommended a minimum 10% matching fund, so the application includes a match commitment of $1,523,685 from GLE and $30,000 from the townships.

Independent of the Island's application, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa applied for the NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program that includes building an underwater fiber from Beaver Island to Northport MI.

The application for the island, masterfully crafted by Doug Dawson, President CCG Consulting, articulates why the NTIA should consider Beaver Island’s grant request. Among the points it made are the following:

There are few places in the country that are more remote than Beaver Island
  • The island is the remotest populated island in the Great lakes.
  • The remoteness makes broadband even more important on Beaver Island than on many places on the mainland.

Broadband speeds are slow today and are provided by DSL from TDS.

  • Speed tests conducted to support this grant show that the vast majority of homes and businesses have broadband speeds below 25/3 Mbps – many significantly slower.
  • Residents widely report to the Townships that they struggle to work from home.
Tourism is the primary industry on the island, and visitors have been telling us in recent years that our broadband is inadequate.
  • When tourism swells the number of people to over 3,000, the broadband comes to a screeching halt and can become barely functional.
  • The concern is poor broadband will eventually destroy our tourism industry.
The island has a robust business community that needs better broadband.
  • There are 32 year-round businesses, 18 seasonal businesses, and anchor institutions.

The partnership o
ffered by this grant is exactly what the NTIA was hoping to see.
  • This is a partnership between two rural Townships and Great Lakes Energy Cooperative.
  • The NTIA was hoping for partnerships that don’t have a profit motive.
    As a cooperative, GLE is owned and governed by its customer/members
  • and will deliver the highest quality broadband possible.

GLE is highly qualified to accept this grant, and its wholly owned subsidiary Truestream
  • The cooperative and Truestream have already built fiber to pass over 20,000 homes and businesses and is currently serving over 9,000 broadband customers on fiber
There is major support on the island for better broadband
  • A survey of residents showed that 96% support the idea of bringing
  • better broadband.
    78% of survey respondents said they would definitely buy broadband
  • from a new network.
    Another 14% said they would probably buy broadband.
    Only 1% of respondents said they would definitely not buy broadband
  • from a new network.

The project includes towers to boost total bandwidth to the island.

  • One of the problems with Internet connectivity today is that there is more aggregate bandwidth demand than what is being delivered to the island on existing microwave routes.
The island will never see better broadband from a commercial provider without a grant.
  • It costs more to build anything on an island because of the challenge of shuttling crews, materials, and work equipment to and from a remote island.
  • The all-in cost of the grant is $16,235 per passing – a cost that could never be justified with normal bank borrowing.
  • It is not feasible to upgrade and improve the broadband infrastructure as part of a commercial project without help from a grant.
We expected the competition to be fierce with many applicants, and that has turned out to be the case. There were 230 NTIA grant applications totaling $2.3 billion. The total amount available for grant is only $288 million nationwide. But, our application pretty much perfectly fits the criteria established by the NTIA for awards under this program. Being the most remote inhabited island in the Great Lakes and the “the poster child for the rural digital divide” is our ace in the hole.

NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program timeline stipulates that award recipients have one year after receiving the grant to complete network buildout. Meeting this timeline is dependent on Great Lake Energy fiber optic cable inventory. Due to the supply chain problem, fiber optic cable order today wouldn’t be shipped until 2023. We understand that the NTIA would adjust its deadline to allow for supply issues.

Stay tuned. As some as we hear we’ll notify you on the status of the NTIA grant award. Keep your fingers crossed. If we don’t get the NTIA grant, we’re already working on Plan B.

Meantime, the Beaver Island Broadband Consortium with leadership from the BIA and Joint Townships Telecommunications Advisory Committee (JTAC) has been working to implement a project to bring pools of 200 Mbps symmetric service to key locations on the island. The system will transport bandwidth across the lake from the UP pursuant to agreements with Northern Michigan University and Merit Networks. NMU is providing tower space, local transport and logistics assistance while Merit will provide internet access. Equipment for the link to the UP has been ordered and the licensed microwave frequencies it will use have been allocated by the FCC’s frequency coordinator to the project. While some of the equipment has arrived, key components seem to be hung up in the supply chain mess afflicting so many deliveries. Construction of the UP link can begin even during the winter. The consortium’s plan is to begin that work as soon as possible after the equipment arrives. Initially, service will be available at the BICS, the library, the Community Center and the St. James Governmental Center and the Historical Society. Ultimately service is planned to be extended to the Health Center, both township halls and the municipal docks.

Kevin Boyle, former BIA President and chair of the JTAC, contributed to this article.

BIA Initiative: Dark Sky Sanctuary

by Cynthia Hector Johnson, Dark Sky Sanctuary Application Leader

The Beaver Island Association took the Beaver Island Dark Sky Project under its wing in 2019. As members of the Dark Sky Project looked at applying for an official Dark Sky designation from the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), they discovered that proceeding as a 501(c)(3) non-profit would help both with the application and future funding. When the BIA learned of the interest, we volunteered to help with the project.
Then BIA president, Kevin Boyle, and then BIA vice-president Dick Mulvihill both agreed to join a committee formed to prepare an application to the IDA. After looking into options, the committee applied to become a certified IDA Dark Sky Sanctuary.

The Dark Sky Project Committee selected Cynthia Hector Johnson as official Point of Contact for the IDA process, with William Markey assisting, with the application process and documenting the necessary Sky quality Meter readings. (SQM) A Sanctuary must meet several stringent requirements. One is the measurement of Night Sky Quality, or a measurement of how dark a place is by exact scores. The highest is twenty-two, Beaver Island registers averages between 21 and 21.6 on any given night, according to conditions. Besides meeting these levels for sanctuary status, intentions must be stated as to how to maintain a SQM measurement program to keep sanctuary status.
Beaver Island Wildlife Research Area, managed by the DNR Wildlife Division, Gaylord, MI. met the second, stringent requirement for a sanctuary designation. There are currently only 14 Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world. Beaver Island could be Number 15 in 2021!

According to the website, at Gabriela Mistral (Chile) | International Dark-Sky Association (darksky.org); these are the guidelines for sanctuary status: “An IDA Dark Sky Sanctuary is public or private land that has an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is protected for its scientific, natural, or educational value, its cultural heritage and/or public enjoyment.
A sanctuary differs from a Dark Sky Park or Reserve in that it is typically situated in a very remote location with few (if any) nearby threats to the quality of its dark night skies and it does not otherwise meet the requirements for designation as a park or reserve. The typical geographic isolation of Dark Sky Sanctuaries significantly limits opportunities for public outreach, so a sanctuary designation is specifically designed to increase awareness of these fragile sites and promote their long-term conservation.”
Members of the BIA and Dark Sky Project committee waded through the information and designations bi-weekly and weekly through the Covid-19 pandemic via zoom. Brian Vaeth and Maria Dal Pra of Beaver Island Retreat, Pamela Grassmick, Paul Cole-Chamber Director, Dick Mulvihill worked with ideas and solutions to complete an 86-page document to prove to the IDA that Beaver Island met all the qualifications to become a Dark Sky Sanctuary.

The Beaver Island District Library Endowment Fund

by Bob Sramek, BIA Vice-President and BIDL Board Member

The library board is excited to announce the establishment of The Beaver Island District Library Endowment Fund. The Charlevoix County Community Foundation will provide professional investment management and will administer the Fund. An endowment fund is a permanent legacy for future generations.

An endowment is a gift of money or other donated property (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.) invested to financially sustain the mission of a charitable organization that you care about long into the future. The endowment fund will provide essential stability and is a permanent source of unrestricted funding for the library.

Donations may be made in several ways:
1. There is a link on the library webpage to make a donation online. (www.bidl.org)
2. Donations by check may be sent to the library.
3. To donate gifts of stocks, bonds, real estate or other assets, please contact Rick Speck at rickspeck@tds.net

You can be a founding member of The Endowment Fund by making a donation or by purchasing a wooden book spine that will be personally engraved with a favorite message, quote or name. Spines come in three sizes: 1", 2", and 3" and cost $100, $200, and $300 respectively. Each book spine can display up to 25 characters. Your “BOOK” will be proudly displayed on the Endowment Founders Book Shelf. Of course, donations larger than $300 are always appreciated as well. To be considered a founding member, your contribution must be made by August 31, 2022. In addition to the Founders Book Shelf, we will also have shelves honoring Phyllis Moore, Lillian Gregg, Barbara Cruickshank and Joan Vyse. Unspecified donations will be placed on a Friends of the Library shelf.

The wooden book spines are being fabricated by a collaboration of the Beaver Island Community School students under the direction of Sara Mullen, the St James Boat Shop and Olson Construction.
Name(s) or message
on spine:______________________________________________________
Book Shelf to be placed upon______________________________________
(Founders, Moore, Gregg, Cruickshank, Works, Friends of the Library)

Ordered by:

Name: ____________________________________________________

Please make checks payable to:
The Beaver Island District Library Endowment Fund
26400 Donegal Bay Road, Beaver Island, MI 49782
Donations are tax deductible up to the full extent of the law.
Please consult your financial adviser.

We Need Your Help

Please keep the Beaver Island Association in mind when doing your year end charitable giving.

The work of the BIA is crucial to issues that affect the fundamental character and beauty of Beaver Island. Without your help, we would not be able to continue our important mission, which is to:

A. Work with all levels of governments, as well as foundations and corporations, to support the views, concerns and investments of Beaver Islanders by:
  • Providing a forum for discussion of island governance and property taxes; and
  • Representing membership concerns through township government liaison.

B. Supporting preservation and wise use of natural resources, plants, and wildlife of Beaver Island while developing economic sustainability by:
  • Collaborating with tribes, environmental organizations, schools, and government agencies
  • Proposing environmental conservation policies and / or methods
  • Sponsoring environmental education programs and public lectures and presentations
  • Publishing a semi-annual newsletter and a continuously updated website
  • Monitoring and controlling invasive species
  • Cleaning up beaches and campgrounds and helping with forest fire prevention
  • Sponsoring trails development
  • The Dark Sky Sanctuary
  • Sponsorship of events such as Warblers on the Water
  • Our High Speed Internet initiative
Your past support has helped to make these efforts possible. Please join us in our work once again by making a donation to the BIA. Either mail your contribution to BIA, PO Box 390, Beaver Island, MI 49782 or you may visit our website for an instant donation. Our website is www.beaverislandassociation.org In most cases, you may be able to take a tax deduction even if you don’t itemize for 2021. This above-the-line deduction is increased to $600 for cash donations for married couples filing jointly who do not itemize tax deductions and charitable giving deduction limit has increased to 100 percent of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on cash donations for those who do itemize.
Qualified charitable distributions are still a great way to make contributions if one is 70 1/2 or older: A qualified charitable distribution allows you to make a tax free gift of up to $100,000 to the Beaver Island Association from your IRA if you are 70 1/2 or older. This is an excellent way to make tax advantageous contributions, especially if you do not itemize your deductions.
Please consult your financial advisor for more information about deductibility.
We pledge to continue working to improve the quality of life on our beloved Beaver Island, but we need you to help support our important work. Please join us in investing in the future.

With gratitude,
The Beaver Island Association Board

Dick Mulvihill, President president@beaverislandassociation.org
Bob Sramek, Vice President
Alan Vicstein, Treasurer treasurer@beaverislandassociation.org
Sheri Richards, Secretary

The Beaver Island Association's mission is to support both the economic and environmental sustainability of the island. We do that by following issues and, where appropriate, speaking out and acting on them. We are hands on. Our current efforts, many discussed in this newsletter, include dealing with invasives, the birding and water trails, broadband availability and balanced economic development. Our past successes include deployment of the island's fire danger warning signs, work with the Maine Islands Institute to help develop plans for the island and spark the creation of the Great Lakes Islands Alliance, a successful awareness campaign concerning the need for and economic sustainability of paramedic care on the island, the birding and water trails, effective management of invasives-and more. Our success as a group depends on your support of these efforts through membership in BIA.