Elberta Beach, the most dazzling jewel in Benzie County’s diadem of wilderness destinations. Granted there are fools who occasionally drive their vehicles on the beach and yes, jetskis buzz by once in awhile. In spite of these insults – glory, beauty, bliss.
Someday even these abuses will end – either by the efforts of the resourceful Elberta Parks and Recreation committee or the utter collapse of civilization. In the meantime, Elberta beach with it’s commanding dunes remains a wide swath of publicly accessible wilds, uncluttered by condo or cottage, forgotten by industry, treated mostly with love and respect by those who visit.
The Village of Elberta begins to hitch it’s destiny to this star with the help of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the owner of the Elberta dunes – the aptly named Sand Products Corporation. The Land Conservancy has almost completed negotiations to protect of a chunk of the dune property and the visionary executives of Sand Products Corporation have already participated in a similar project in Manistee. What a boon for the backwater little town long ago deserted by the masters of capital, it’s residents the vested stewards of this joy magnet, gatekeepers to one of the most vital shorelines in Michigan.
My favorite interface to the Big Lake, Elberta Beach. Gretchen and I both agreed that it was the ideal launch point. Finally after the travail of Betsie Bay, triumph.
James Barnes (of portage fame), Heidi Mahler and her brother Will Church were all celebrating birthdays that evening, we just grafted the launch onto this gathering. Larry, Patrick and I camped out on the beach under the light of a big old moon. Larry eventually took his multicolored blanket and retreated to the truck. Patrick and I shared party leftovers with the fruit flies the next morning, supplemented by cinnamon pull aparts and coffee from the Trick Dog provided by Larry.