As we ring in 2020 and welcome a new decade, Lake Martin Resource Association will celebrate its 50th anniversary. In the early years, it was all about property protection and establishing predictable water levels. The limited number of cabins at that time were mostly used on weekends and located on dirt roads in remote areas. Prior to 1972, there were no established water levels and the rule curve that now regulates water levels did not exist. 

At least for the present time, these are no longer critical issues. LMRA can now firmly focus on boating safety, cleaning shorelines and preserving Lake Martin for the enjoyment of future generations. There are many opportunities for an organization like LMRA with a 50-year history of working for the betterment of Lake Martin to continue to be successful in finding ways to resolve issues, seek solutions and lead efforts in battling threats, regardless of the sources.

After organizing many shoreline cleanups over the past 15 years, resulting in more than 250,000 pounds of trash being removed from our Treasured Lake, and partnering with Russell Lands and Alabama Power to create our “Treasured Mile” program, the shoreline of Lake Martin has never been cleaner or more pristine.  

Our buoy maintenance program, which has evolved over the years, has been expertly organized by Rendell Clark and has been described as the best in the state of Alabama. Numerous representatives from other lake associations in Alabama have visited Lake Martin to get a first-hand view of the program from Clark and his team of volunteers.

In the September 2019 issue of Lake magazine, Managing Editor Betsy Iler wrote a great article describing the critical issues that are brought about by increased recreational boating on Lake Martin. This is a must-read article for all lake lovers who want to be a part of solving these issues.  

LMRA will kick off this new decade with a motivated and passionate board of directors. Combining new, talented leadership with experienced veterans will enable LMRA to tackle the many challenges presented by this continued growth. 

LMRA will focus on partnering with other organizations to face these challenges by:

• Developing educational programs that focus on boating courtesy and etiquette, as well as Alabama boating laws;

• Educating boaters about protecting our shorelines for future generations to enjoy;

• Supporting the passage of a boating bill that will be introduced in the next Legislative session and includes a ‘No Wake’ proximity rule. 

• We also will continue to be a part in the relicensing of Harris Dam, as the long process continues over the next few years, while maintaining a vigilance against any threat to Lake Martin water quality or quantity. 

Fifty years and still working for the betterment of Lake Martin.

John Thompson is president of Lake Martin Resource Association. Learn more at