By Sterling McGinn

The dam that regulates the water level on Big Manistique Lake is again the subject of controversy.

According to Luce County Commissioner Brandon Wheeler, the top boards of the dam were removed this fall, which is a common practice each year. “The top boards get pulled in the fall to drop the lake to prevent ice damage in the spring,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said the boards were pulled appropriately by members of the ad-hoc committee and not by an outside party, which had been mentioned on social media.

But James Mattson, a member of the Manistique Lake Dam Advisory Committee, feels that some are not following the order of procedures.

“The boards were not pulled in accordance with the rules and regulations,” he said. Mattson has been investigating the situation. The concern is that water may flow out of the lake after ice has frozen on its surface, making the ice even more unsafe than normal.

The level of Big Manistique Lake was set at 686.0 feet above sea level by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers long ago, and a 1948 court order mandates that level be maintained. Another order mandating the 686.0 level was again filed on June 5, 1978, by circuit judge William Hood.

Because the dam is located within Schoolcraft County, the Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Department or the Michigan State Police would investigate any illegal tampering with the dam.

Watch the Newberry News for more updates.