The Blaine Township Master Plan was adopted on June 24, 2014. The Future Land Use Map was revised in March 2017.
A sneak peek from the introduction to the Lakes to Land Community Master Plan…
Founded in 1851 as the location of the Loyed & Thomas sawmill near Herring Lake, Blaine Township quickly grew into a thriving settlement. A second mill, owned by Harrison Averill, began operations around 1853. The Loyed & Thomas mill was not destined to last long, however. An unusually high water level in 1862 destroyed the dam across the creek and rendered the mill unsalvageable. It also lowered upper Herring Lake’s water level by three feet. Despite this setback, Blaine Township continued to grow. By 1866 there was need for a schoolhouse, and a simple log structure with pine floors was built by volunteers. Furnished with benches, a wood stove, and little else, it served the community well for several years.
Blaine Township was officially organized in 1867 and included the area that is now Gilmore Township. The two separated in 1876. The township board elections that year had an unusual result: John Hunt won the position of supervisor in both townships.
In about 1890, the town of Watervale was established on the south end of lower Herring Lake by enterprising businessman Leo H. Hale. He developed the area into a sawmill, shingle mill, general store, boarding house, and several fine homes, then built a shipping pier into Lake Michigan and a five mile long rail line. Unfortunately, an economic downturn in 1893-95 killed the fledgling town, and it was abandoned by 1897. The elegant Inn at Watervale was revived as a resort in 1917. Today the entire 255 acre Watervale Historic District, containing 24 buildings, is privately owned.
Commercial fishing played a key role in Blaine Township’s early development. John Babinaw’s large fishery, located ½ mile south of lower Herring Lake, shipped thousands of tons of whitefish, herring, and trout to Chicago and Milwaukee. Early pioneer J.B. Dory relocated to the area from Frankfort and has been credited with establishing commercial fishing operations in what was destined to become Blaine Township.
Within Blaine Township lie some of Northern Michigan’s most unique and beautiful natural wonders. The Mystery Spot, a gravity hill on Putney Road, draws locals and visitors alike. Not far away is Inspiration Point, a breathtaking bluff view overlooking Lake Michigan. Efforts to preserve the township’s natural resources are ongoing. In 1991, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy founded the Upper Herring Nature Preserve. Located just off M-22, the preserve is accessible to visitors yet protects the area for future generations.