Cass Lake Family Life
Cass Lake in Oakland County offers great lake front family life only a short 30-mile drive from the Detroit metro area. Cass is the largest freshwater lake in this 900 square mile county. The lake is named for former Michigan governor Lewis Cass. Due to its size, it is one of the most preferred fishing and water recreation lakes in the region.
Cass is a natural glacial-formed lake supporting a large number of fish species and many recreational activities. The lake surface area covers 1,282 acres with 25 miles of shoreline. The maximum depth is 123 feet with an average of 26 feet. Orchard Lake from the south feeds into Cass Lake with a one-foot elevation change between the lakes. Cass Lake then feeds into Otter and Sylvan Lakes and eventually to the Clinton River that is dammed by the Price Dam below Sylvan Lake.
The local weather is close to ideal by Michigan standards. The summer climate is mild with temperatures hovering between the 70s and 80s. Winter temperatures tend to stay close to freezing. This makes for abundant year round recreation activities.
Oakland County monitors and maintains lake levels for flood control, superior recreational use, and to protect property values. The Department of Natural Resources stocks the lake every other year with Walleye and occasionally with other fish including rainbow trout. It is also a popular for winter ice fishing. Other fish found in the lake include:
- Black Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Splake Trout
- Lake Trout
- Largemouth Bass
- Northern Pike
Cass Lake is about much more than only fishing. Summer activities feature:
- Boating of all types:
- And more
- Dock life
- Wildlife viewing
- Most everything else you want to do on or near a lake
Winter activities feature:
- Ice skating
- Ice sailing
- Cross-country skiing
The local communities are Waterford Township, Bloomfield Township, Orchard Lake Village West, and Keego Harbor. Lake Cass is a public lake with a mile of sandy shore at Dodge #4 State Park. Also on the lake is Pontiac Yacht Club.
Waterford Township has a population of about 73,000 people in 19 neighborhoods. It is the 19th largest community in Michigan. The workforce is a mix of both white- and blue-collar jobs. Waterford is upper middle class by Michigan standards with a median annual income of $119,640 for a family of four. However, Waterford is relatively diverse by being home to both very wealthy and poor people. Ethnically the population is dominantly white (83%), Hispanic (7%), and African American (5%). Major ancestry groups include: Irish, English, Polish, and Italian.
Approximately 92% of the people have completed high school, 27% have college degrees, and another 5% have attended some college. There are 16 schools in the Waterford School District with approximately 9,500 enrolled students. The average class size is 17 students per classroom. The district budget is approximately $133.9 million which comes to about $14,100 per student.
The median home value in Waterford is slightly above $147,000 with about 36% below $75,000 and 5% above $1.4 million. The homeownership rate is right at 70%. Rentals comprise 30% of the housing. The total vacancy rate is less than 7%. The vast majority of homes (84%) were built between 1940 and 1999.
West Bloomfield Township
The Timberridge Drive and Recreation Drive area is a suburb of West Bloomfield adjoining Cass Lake. The 2010 census population is 64,690 people. Locals refer to it as the “lake township of Oakland County”. It is one of the most expensive places to live in Oakland County. Available statistics are dated but according to a 2007 estimate the median income for a household was $98,832 and the median income for a family of 4 was $113,191.
The dominate racial makeup of the township is 78% White and 11% African American. Well over half of the people are white collar in professional, executive, and management positions. About 25% are in service and sales jobs with about 7% in manufacturing and labor jobs.
As of 2013, the school district had 6,633 students including 1,326 from outside the district as part of its “Schools of Choice” program. There is approximately 1 teacher per 15 students. The district was distinguished as the 2013 “District of the Year” by the Oakland County Community and Adult Educators for outstanding community education programs and services.
Median home value in the Timberridge Drive and Recreation Drive areas is $327,729. This is almost 94% higher than Michigan as a whole. Almost all (98%) are owner occupied three and four bedroom homes. Most are newer homes built between 1970 and 1999 with some older homes dating back to 1940. The neighborhoods have a high concentration of Canadian and Finnish ancestry people.
Orchard Lake Village West
Orchard Lake Village is a small community with a population of about 2,400 people. In addition to bordering Cass Lake on the north, this small city surrounds Orchard Lake. It is among the most affluent cities in Michigan with a median household income of $400,289. The median home value is $456,700.
The prominent racial makeup of the city is 84% White, 7% Asia, and 6% African American. Most of the schools are within the West Bloomfield School District (see above). College education is important in this community with 62.68% of the adults in Orchard Lake Village having a 4-year college. A significant number have master degrees, as well as degrees as doctors, lawyers, and PhDs.
Keego Harbor is another small city on the shores of Cass Lake and Sylvan Lake with a population of 3,021 people. Median annual income is $107,212 for a family of four. The median home value is $121,600. The racial makeup of the city is approximately 84% White, 10% Hispanic, 6% African American, and 2% Asian.
Keego Harbor is within the West Bloomfield School District (see above). About 31% of adults in Keego Harbor have at least a bachelor’s degree. People work primarily as managers, sales and office workers, and service providers.
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By Wendy Patton