Court Orders Defining the Legal Lake Level:
The legal level for Higgins Lake is 5.37 ft. gauge height (or 1154.11 ft. above sea level), set by the Michigan Circuit Court in 1926. In 1982 the Circuit Court established a legal winter lake level, not to exceed a decrease of more than 6 inches below the legal (summer) level. This represents a gauge height of 4.87 ft. (or 1153.61 ft. above sea level). Subsequently, in 2009, the Circuit Court ordered the legal winter level to be decreased an additional 3 inches for a trial five year period, which expired in the spring of 2014, to help mitigate shoreline ice damage. These Court Orders are listed below:
- 1926 Circuit Court Order Establishing the Natural Height and Level of Higgins Lake.
- 1982 Circuit Court Order Establishing the Winter Level 6″ Below the 1926 Legal Level.
- November 2009 Court Order Establishing a Temporary 5-Year Add’l 3″ Lower Winter Level, from 2009 thru 2014.
The outflow of water through the Cut River Dam at Higgins Lake, and hence the lake level, is managed by the Roscommon County Board of Commissioners. The Circuit Court directive for the control of the lake level is to begin lowering it to the legal winter level on November 1st, and begin restoring it to the legal (summer) level on April 15th or ice-out, whichever occurs first.