About TLCA

The Turtle Lake Chain Association is an enthusiastic and engaged group of people who share a love for our three-lake chain, a passion for maintaining its cleanliness and beauty, and an interest in promoting a vibrant community spirit among our friends and neighbors on the lakes. Together, we take part in monitoring against invasive species, play an active role in keeping our chain welcoming and safe for everyone, and place a high priority on getting together, getting to know each other, and having a lot of fun. Dues are $45 (which covers three years) and go to fund these efforts. If this sounds good to you, we'd love to add you to our growing list of members. Just click on the link below. Welcome aboard!


The Turtle Rock Rag is our bi-annual source for news of interest around the chain. Members receive "The Rag" via email, and latest issues (and archives) can be accessed here!




July 3, 2021

9 am

Our big annual meeting at the Winchester Town Park. Get the latest updates on our lake initiatives, elect officers, hear about our fun days and meet new members. The annual meeting is always around July 4, but the specific date varies depending on the day the holiday falls on. 


May 29, 2021

10 am

Current business for TLCA board members to review - may include financial reports, lake initiatives, preparation for annual meetings and fun days, etc.


Sept 4, 2021

10 am

Current business for TLCA board members to review - may include financial reports, lake initiatives, preparation for annual meetings and fun days, etc.


The TLCA is governed by a three-member board and six lake representatives (two from each lake in the chain). Terms are two years in duration; elections are held as needed at the Annual Meeting. Current board members, representatives and their contact information are listed below. If you wish to run for a position, please notify Mike Bantz or Laura Giffin at least one week before the Annual Meeting. 

Michael Bantz, President

Our family of six, extended family and friends have so many enjoyable and lasting memories since we came to the Chain in the summer of 1995 and purchased on South Turtle Lake. I am thankful to be able to make a contribution through the Board, to the future of the Chain and very grateful to have made numerous friends in the community. We hope to continue making wonderful memories and to stay involved in the future, on the Chain and in the community. 

Laura Giffin, Secretary

Monty (one of your North Turtle Lake representatives; you'll see him below) and I are from Oshkosh, but every summer we're happy to call North Turtle Lake "home."  We've been happy property owners on Priest Point since the early 1990s. We love the outdoors and you'll usually find us cycling or paddling our kayaks around the Chain. 

Gee Esslinger, Treasurer

In 2010, we purchased our "IA-PENN-WI Cabin" on the west shore of North Turtle Lake, across from the Island. Since then, we've been making the the 4.5-hour trip from Brookfield, Wisconsin almost every other week, all year long. Yes, we consider ourselves half-time residents of North Turtle Lake. I spent four years in the Air Force, one year in Viet-Nam, then 30 years with Pfizer Pharmaceutical Inc., mostly as a manager of the Wisconsin and UP sales force. I'm the Treasurer and membership chairperson of the the TLCA and have been on the board since 2015. 

Tom Rued, South Turtle Lake representative

My wife Julie and I built our home on South Turtle in 2007.  We are both optometrists from Neenah, WI.  Our son Cory recently graduated as an optometrist and is taking over our interest in the practice. One of our young patients calls our practice "the one with all the RUED doctors!" Our daughter Nicole graduated UW Eau Claire and is considering grad school as a speech pathologist. We are enjoying our transformation from weekend warriors to full time TLC residents.  


I belong to the Lions Club and have served on the TLCA board for several years. And yes, I have had "musky fever" for 40 years.  I call it a sport, Julie calls it a disease!


 Our chain is a special place and we are fortunate to have a very active lake association concerned with keeping our lakes beautiful and healthy for future generations.

Emil Bertalot, South Turtle Lake representative

I've been on South Turtle Lake since 2009, when I bought a scenic spot on the eastern shore. While my permanent home (for now) is in Middleton, Wisconsin, I spend as much time as possible here, and frequently work out of my cabin office, otherwise known as the dining room table. My kids and I enjoy kayaking, water-skiing, cycling, fishing, taking in the sunsets and working on awesome loon imitations. 

Monty Giffin, North Turtle Lake representative

Laura (your friendly Turtle Lakes Chain secretary) and I have been on the Chain since the early 1990s, when we purchased our property on Priest Point.  While we hail from Oshkosh, North Turtle Lake is where we spend most of our summers.  We love to take our bikes around the Chain and on the surrounding roads and bike trails, or get our kayaks in the water and enjoy all the natural sites and sounds of this beautiful place. 

Susan Esslinger, North Turtle Lake representative

Gee (the TLCA's treasurer and my husband) and I love our cabin on North Turtle Lake and the joy of sharing it with family and friends. When we're not hosting, I enjoy nature photography, gardening, exploring and reading. I'm a passionate conservationist and horticulturist, and one of my favorite pastimes is watching the wind dance across the lake's surface. I've been a North Turtle Lake board representative since 2015. 

Gary Engstrom, Rock Lake representative

My family has been on Rock Lake since 1958.  I became a permanent resident here in January of 2016, and enjoy fishing, golf, biking and cross country skiing. I'm a chemist with a 40-year career in water treatment and environmental management research and development. 

Steve Budnik, Rock Lake representative

I'm a retired manufacturing real estate appraiser and a career Army reservist, having served 28 years. We've lived here full-time for eight years. I'm currently serving as a Town of Winchester Supervisor, president of the Vilas County Lakes and Rivers Association, and as a Rock Lake representative. When I'm able to break away from those duties, you'll usually find me fishing or trapshooting.

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