TRUE BLUE Gallery on Helena Road in Alden sells art “for the sake of the lake.” The gallery is managed by the Torch Conservation Center, a local nonprofit organization whose goal is to educate individuals about how to best care for beautiful Torch Lake. Backed by science and a passion for conservation, the Center and its leadership have prioritized teaching respect for the lake and its surrounding watershed.

Their driving principle is “Our Choices Matter,” a mantra displayed throughout the gallery. Integrating education into watershed-inspired art, jewelry and literature displays helps visitors and homeowners learn lake-friendly practices as they browse the gallery’s diverse collection.

The gallery offers complimentary information about the area, including things to do and where to do them. On one wall, visitors can gather information about swimming beaches, hiking, paddling and boating trails on Torch Lake, while also learning about threats to the lake and to humans, such as swimmer’s itch and algal blooms.

From lawn care to septic systems, the gallery teaches it all. Jars of water and different types of wipes, from baby wipes to toilet paper, sit on a shelf to display how various materials break down (or do not break down!) in the local septic system. Photographs of Northern Michigan decorate the walls while intricate maps detail the best swimming spots.

Over the years, Torch Lake has begun to turn green due to excessive fertilizers on lawns lining the lake and nutrient leakage from neglected septic tanks. Just as a fertilizer turns your lawn green, it helps algae grow in the lake. The result is miles of brown and green algae-covered rocks and sand. Some algal blooms are toxic; they can kill fish and harm humans. Last fall, nearby Six Mile Lake experienced harmful blooms. Although the algae Torch Lake is now facing is not toxic, it is aesthetically displeasing and alters the quality of the lake for homeowners, visitors and wildlife. For visitors and homeowners to continue to enjoy the beautiful, iconic colors of Torch Lake, the contribution of excess nutrients to the water must be stopped.

TRUE BLUE Gallery helps fund the Torch Conservation Center’s efforts. Stop in to see the always-changing local art for sale and learn more about how to protect one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

About the Torch Conservation Center: The Torch Conservation Center is a grassroots organization dedicated to conservation throughout the Torch Lake Watershed. The Center promotes stewardship of land and water in the Torch Lake Watershed through freshwater education and land conservation.
The Center’s office is located in the TRUE BLUE Gallery at 9046B Helena Rd., Alden. The Torch Conservation Center helps people care for water by offering free materials at the gallery and up-to-date information on best practices at The Center envisions a well-informed community in the Torch Lake Watershed working together to ensure safe drinking water, safe local food and fish to eat and clean water for swimming and boating on Torch Lake.