(Some of the information taken from the Limnological study of Lake Gitchegumee, Buckley, MI dated 1988)
Lake Gitchegumee is a man-made lake created in Buckley, Michigan. In the early 1960’s, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Symonds of Big Rapids, Michigan formed a corporation known as Buckley Shores, Inc. for the purpose of buying land along the headwaters of the east branch of Wheeler Creek within and south of the village of Buckley. By 1964, construction of a rock and earth dam across the east branch of Wheeler Creek at Wexford County Road 6 was started. An aerial map dated March 1965 shows construction work on the shoreline (i.e. clearing) and road construction on Plat #1.
The lake was first filled with water in 1966 and then was drained to seal the bottom before being subsequently filled with the maximum water level established at 1006.15 feet above sea level. Final approval of Plat #1 was given by the State of Michigan on August 22, 1967; during the fall 1967, twelve house lots were sold. After the initial sales, Richard Symonds was involved in an incapacitating auto accident while returning home from working on the lake. Noel Donley then formed the Lake Gitchegumee Corporation.
Although initial plans included only homes in the subdivision, the sales agent engaged by Donley suggested the allowance of travel trailers on the offshore lots. As a result, deed restrictions were changed in 1968 to allow travel trailers in Plat #1. Although Joyce and Alan Spalding were the first people to spend the whole summer at the lake in 1968, the first home was built in July, 1969. By late August, slabs were poured for two more homes. Construction has since seen anywhere from 2 to 10 homes constructed each year. Plat #2 and #3 received final approval on August 28, 1970, with Plat #3 dedicated to allow for mobile homes west of the airstrip. Plat #4 was approved on August 31, 1973. In spring 1988, 106 Enterprises, Inc. headed by Jack McKay of Honor Michigan purchased the remaining holdings of the Lake Gitchegumee Corporation.
Over the years, the Board of Directors has employed both chemical treatment and weed harvesting to control weed growth in the lake.
The Wheeler Creek Dam Overflow System has had repairs over the years such as replacement of the stop logs. These stop logs control the water level in the lake. In June, 2012, the Board of Directors authorized repairs to the outlet pipe of the Dam Overflow System. In July, 2016, major repairs were made to the water side of the Dam Overflow system. The Directors believe these repairs will ensure safe operation and minimal maintenance of the Dam Overflow System for many years.