Learn to Row on Teal Lake to be offered

Members of the Upper Peninsula Rowing Club head for shore on Teal Lake during the Iron Oars Regatta in September. An agreement will allow boats to be launched from the eastern shore of the lake. (Journal file photo by Trinity Carey)

NEGAUNEE — A pilot program on Teal Lake could have west-enders rowing their cares away in no time.

The Negaunee City Council approved a two-year recreational land use agreement with the U.P. Rowing club during its meeting April 11, which will allow the club to store some of its rowing shells on the Teal Lake shoreline near the former Waterworks Building.

The club will rent the area for two years for $1, giving its members access to the waterfront to store and launch boats that can accommodate single rowers, as well as doubles and one quad.

Sally Davis, a member of the rowing club’s board, said the small-boat program will focus on sculling, which typically uses two oars, rather than sweep rowing, in which the rower generally uses one ore to propel a larger boat.

“Our hope is to work with the city to establish a core of rowers on Teal Lake. We feel this is a great opportunity for our members and those who want to try rowing,” Davis said.

She said there are already a number of rowers who use single sculls on the lake.

The nonprofit, all-volunteer club will be working to expand interest in the sport to the western end of Marquette County, according to an April 25 press release.

Since 2004, the release states, the club has provided the Marquette area with public group outdoor recreation in the sport of rowing.

“Volunteers provide specialized training, access to equipment, and safety measures to the public and its members to experience group rowing,” the release states.

Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron said the agreement will give more people in western Marquette County access to a sport they might not otherwise have, in an idyllic setting.

“This is a great opportunity to partner with an organization that offers a unique type of water sport that can be supported on Teal Lake,” Heffron said.

By city ordinance, gas-powered motors are not permitted on the lake.

“I have been approached by many residents that want to find other ways to use Teal Lake for everyone to enjoy. This is just the start,” Heffron said.

The group is no stranger to Teal Lake, as it hosts its annual Iron Oars Regatta each September where about 100 rowers race from one end of Teal Lake to the other.

“This event is just another way to showcase beautiful Teal Lake,” Heffron said. “In working with the club, the city wants to find ways to develop the regatta into a day-long family event that everyone can enjoy.”

All programs are open to adults age 18 and older who are interested in sweep rowing and sculling. The club also runs a youth program for high school students, some of whom now row with collegiate crews and have even participated in the Summer World University Games.

A Learn to Row program will begin in June. Those interested can attend a meet and greet at 6 p.m. May 21 at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. in Marquette.

For more information about rowing on Teal Lake, contact the Upper Peninsula Rowing Club at gbrayden@charter.net.