Own your own piece of the good life

Published 11:38 am Monday, January 3, 2005

By By AUSTIN NEILSON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Fishing and the outdoors are enjoyed by many people in Southwest Michigan.
On Sunday, residents will have a chance to buy their own piece of the good life with the auctioning of Pike Lake Boat Rental and Camping Resort at 4697 Buffalo Road in Buchanan.
John Trautman has owned the business since 1986 and is only the second owner in more than 50 years.
He said the property is full of opportunity for anyone who would purchase it.
The property is situated on Pike Lake, partially visible from U.S. 12.
In the past, Trautman looked to add cabins to the property, even creating campsites. He obtained permits to expand the business but physical disabilities have hindered him in his efforts to run the establishment.
The property is the only available access to Pike Lake, which is surrounded by private homes.
Trautman noted the lake is famous for the size and abundance of fish, saying four fish from the lake are in Michigan State Record Books.
He also mentioned blue gill, crappie and other panfish are common in the lake.
Trautman hopes the new owner will continue to run the rentals as he has for nearly 20 years. Adding the business is one of the last of its kind in the area.
He said in recent years, lakes such as Yellow, Dayton and Barron, have been completely surrounded by private property and homes.
Roger Lucas, auctioneer for AAA Straight Up Auction Service, in Niles, agreed.
Lucas said Trautman has never been in the business for money, rather for the love of the lake and those who fish it.
He said the property is perfect for "father and son" fishing trips in the summer.
The property includes a house and duplex, which Trautman rents as apartments.
Lucas pointed out Trautman uses the money from the rent to donate to his local church.
In the past, Trautman has donated $5000 in gift certificates to WNIT Television, in Elkhart, Ind., for their televised auctions.
The structures are situated on nearly three and a half acres of land with 400 feet of waterfront.
Besides the property itself, a pontoon boat, trolling motors, vehicles and antiques will be some of the other items up for auction.
The auction will begin at 12:30 pm, on Jan. 9, and will be held outdoors.
A walk-through of the property will be held Monday, Jan. 3, from 4:00-6:00 pm.
Pike Lake Boat Rentals is located in Buchanan off U.S. 12 West and South Bakertown Road, at 4967 Buffalo Road. Signs will be posted along the route to the auction.
Trautman said he would especially like to thank everyone who came and fished the lake.
He hopes whoever buys the property will keep it running, as it has been for decades.