Bitely Conservation Club looking to change hands

BITELY  — The Bitely Conservation Club has been having a membership decline in recent years and, as a result, the group is dissolving, said president Al Crysler.

Crysler said he couldn’t provide any additional details at this particular time concerning plans for someone else to take over the club’s building and property off of M-37, about seven miles south of Baldwin.

The conservation club, Crysler noted, has been in existence as an organization perhaps as far back as the 1940s. The current club building went up in the mid 1990s.

Among the main functions of the club, Crysler noted, was its feeding program for wildlife. The club was also involved in other projects, including donations to various causes.

For various reasons, some of the club’s projects have faced various obstacles and the organization had to change course.

Crysler noted that at one time, the club had anywhere from 200 to 300 members. He estimated that it was down currently to around 60 members. The membership was not constricted to only Lake and Newaygo counties.

“We had members from as far away as Detroit,” Crysler said.

The building was also rented out to other groups for various functions over the years.

Crysler indicated that within 60 days, the new ownership will be consumated and more details could be provided. Officials from the Lake County Sportsman Club said they had previously been talking with the Bitely club on taking over the clubhouse and property. But Lake County club officials added that it was their understanding that another group would be getting the building.

The clubhouse and grounds are located in Newaygo County, but only a few miles outside of Baldwin and Lake County.