Great Lakes
A house could fall in Lake Michigan any day / Flickr

Lake Michigan: Beaches forced to find structural solutions to erosion problem

OTTAWA COUNTY — All along Lake Michigan, the erosion problem is doing a lot more damage to beaches and parks than just cutting them down to size.

“It changes really quickly, but we’re keeping an eye on it,” said Jessica VanGinhoven, communications specialist for Ottawa County Parks and Recreation. “At Rosy Mound the last couple of years, we’ve had to pull the stairway back. At Kirk Park, at our south beach access, we had to close that stairway in the last month or so because it’s no longer a safe access point.”

Numerous other parks along the lakeshore are at risk as well. On Oct. 21, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation posted on their Facebook page warning residents of a 10- to 15-foot drop in some areas of Tunnel Park.

Severe storms and the uncertainty of when the lake levels might return to normal have made it difficult to implement permanent solutions to the problem, VanGinhoven says, but the good news is the erosion has yet to make a significant dent in Michigan’s tourism industry.

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