Lake County Sportsman’s Club staying busy after recent land acquisition

Club has plans for expansion after obtaining 100-acre property

BALDWIN — It’s going to be a busy time for the Lake County Sportsman’s Club.

The club has been in existence for close to three years. But a significant turning point for the club came earlier this month when the Pleasant Plains Township board voted to accept a bid for the 100-acre property at the Baldwin Airport site.

GROWING PRESENCE: From left, Lake County Sportsman’s Club members Russ Beutler, Clint Jackson, Greg Nichols Sr., Greg Nichols Jr., Chuck Uhlman and John Beach gather for a photo at a recent club meeting: The club recently acquired a 100-acre property to help the club expand its operations. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

GROWING PRESENCE: From left, Lake County Sportsman’s Club members Russ Beutler, Clint Jackson, Greg Nichols Sr., Greg Nichols Jr., Chuck Uhlman and John Beach gather for a photo at a recent club meeting: The club recently acquired a 100-acre property to help the club expand its operations. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

It was made official on Aug. 14 at a club meeting when new officers were elected and the official deed for the property was secured.

The club plans on developing the site into a place for outdoor and sportsman-related activities that can be used by anyone. Club members publicly thanked the township board at its meeting for the action which gave the sportsmen the property.

Recently, the board was expected to visit the site and mark out the property. Copies of the club’s bylaws are available for anyone to view online at www.lakecountysportsmansclub.com.

Greg Nichols Jr., newly elected president of the club, said there are 60 dues-paying members right now. Others interested in joining the club are invited to do so by going to the website.

The club has a small office at the Chamber of Commerce building in downtown Baldwin. It was expected to be functional this week. The club has been having its meetings in the chamber’s conference room.

“We formed committees last year in reference to a possible skeet range, rifle range, hand gun range and archery range,” board member Harold Nichols said. “That’s eventually a plan for the property. The group is exploring grants over the next three months or so to see what we can do for some funding on the project.”

Of the 100 acres the club acquired, members indicated all of it will be utilized. Currently, it’s an undeveloped site. A building at the site is among the future plans.

“We’re going to erect a pole barn to begin with a clubhouse/pole barn, whatever you want to call it,” Harold Nichols said. “Eventually we’ll have all our meetings right there.”

Club members hope to have the site planned and developed during the rest of the year.

“We need to cut roads into the property,” Harold Nichols said. “There are no roads. You can walk into it. There’s a couple of two tracks that dead end there.”

Harold Nichols and others expressed their elation that the property transfer was finally made.

“We’re in awe at this point,” he said. “Originally, we didn’t anticipate this being a three-year process. We actually lost some membership. People didn’t just want to come to a meeting. The first order of business was buying property.

“The biggest thing now is we want to get the word out we do have this property. We’d like to attract new members and interested people to come to our organization.”

Meetings are still set for 10 a.m. the first Saturday of each month at the chamber  until further notice.

Members, whether they are men, women or children, do not have to live in Lake County.

“We have some members as far away as Detroit,” Greg Nichols Jr. said.

“This isn’t just a shooting guns organization,” Harold Nichols said. “It’s fishing, canoeing archery… so many other aspects we want to pursue. I want to get ORV clubs, as well as snowmobile clubs involved. A narrow-minded club won’t exist. I want to open it up to other avenues.”

The club has certified instructors in hunter’s safety plus ORV, snowmobile and boater’s safety.

“Those are things our club will promote and/or put on classes for,” Harold Nichols said. “Most sportsmen have crossover interests. We’re such a new organization, we welcome input and new ideas.”

He added that the club plans on making the property available to other organizations.

Besides Greg Nichols Jr., other officers are Chuck Uhlman as vice president, Russ Beutler as treasurer and John Beach as secretary. Board members are Harold Nichols, Greg Nichols Sr., Bud Kloosterman, Harry Carr and Clint Jackson.

 

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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