Welcome to the Cisco Chain Riparian Owners Association

Cisco Chain Riparian Owners Association

The Cisco Chain of Lakes is located both north and south of the Upper Michigan/Wisconsin state-line border and consists of fifteen separate lakes with approximately 270 miles of shoreline. Measured by acreage, the Chain ranks as one of the world’s largest connected water chains. The individual names of the fifteen lakes are: Cisco, Big, Morley, East Bay, West Bay, Mamie, Indian, Poor, Fishhawk, Lindsley, Thousand Island, Clearwater, Big Africa, Little Africa and Record Lake.

In its natural state the Chain’s fifteen lakes were not interconnected. The native Ojibwa (Chippewa) tribe portaged their canoes from one lake to another in order to access each lake where both hunting and fishing were plentiful. This natural riparian environment changed in the late 1800”s and early 1900’s when commercial logging operations were initiated in the dense forest surrounding the lakes that are now part the Chain. At some time during this period a log “crib” (a primitive dam structure) was constructed at the north end of Cisco Lake, thereby flooding the connecting channels and enabling the cut logs to float to railheads located on both Cisco and Mamie Lakes.

After logging operations ceased, the area’s main industry shifted from logging to recreation including hunting, fishing and relaxation. By the 1930’s the log “crib” had fallen into disrepair and local residents, especially resort owners, were motivated to fund and build a more permanent dam structure so that appropriate water level could be maintained. Sometime later during the 1940’s the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) assumed the management of Cisco Dam as part of its power producing operations under the auspices of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Cisco Chain Riparian Owner’s Association (CCROA) was formed in September of 1961 when its original constitution and by-laws were written. As described in Article II, Section 2 of its restated by-laws, the object of the Association in part shall be to promote enjoyment of and protection of the Cisco Chain and the surrounding area's natural resources. Consequently, the slogan of CCROA “Safe Fun on Clean Lakes” was adopted. 

With the passage of over fifty years the focus and mission of CCROA has grown, remained viable and true to its mission. With regard to clean waters, invasive species including Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM) and Curly Leaf Pondweed (CLP) have been identified. An integrated approach to mitigate EWM utilizing hand removal, diver assisted suction harvesting, and herbicide application conducted under WI DNR and MI DEQ guidelines is ongoing. With regard to safety, although CCROA does not have legal authority to enforce water traffic rules, warning signs and markers were funded and installed by members. Recently, the Cisco Dam changed ownership because it was part of an acquisition by a larger energy producing company. Currently CCROA is working diligently to purchase the dam so that satisfactory water level is maintained to ensure sufficient water depth in its connecting channels. More information on the dam issue is available elsewhere on our website.

Note: Compiling a history of CCROA is only at an inception point and this article in incomplete. All those with knowledge of CCROA activities over the past fifty years are invited to contact us with your recollections. Feel free to write and e-mail your thoughts to this website or call any board member or lake representative.

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CCROA - Articles of Incorporation

CCROA - Bylaws

CCROA - General Investment Principles

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Last Updated:   May 16, 2017


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