The year 2018 was Eagle River Chain of Lakes Association’s (ERCLA) first full year as a consolidated entity. 

Beginning in 2007, the Eagle River Chain of Lakes had nine different lake associations and an umbrella association known as the ERCLA. At the end of 2017, the nine lake associations were dissolved and their assets were merged into ERCLA.

With a clearer message and focused identity, ERCLA closed out 2018 with nearly 50% of the Chain’s riparians as members. They launched a fresh, new communication strategy, which ERCLA leadership feels was a significant factor for the growth in members. ERCLA saw a large increase in cash donations in addition to its base membership dues.

The cash donations were large and small. In several cases, the donations came with terrific stories. In one case, a member of one family that had been coming to the Eagle River Chain for many years got married outside the country. The bride’s request was that instead of gifts to the couple, they wanted everyone to make a donation to ERCLA. 

In two other cases, the patriarch of the family passed away and their loved ones wanted to make a donation to ERCLA on their behalf because of the profound love they had for the Eagle River Chain. One is memorialized with a plaque mounted on the ERCLA sign at the Braywood landing. The other is in the process of deciding how to memorialize their loved one.

ERCLA’s mission is to preserve and protect the quality of the water and the shoreline throughout the Chain. The results of this mission are evident everywhere along the Chain. In concert with the Unified Lower Eagle River Chain of Lakes Commission, the quality of the water has gone up and the instances of aquatic invasive species have gone down.

You don’t have to live on the Chain to become a member. Visit and contribute to the ongoing mission to protect and preserve the Chain for today and future generations.

Dave Tidmarsh is president of the Eagle River Chain of Lakes Association.