Possible ‘No Wake Zone’ cause for concern in Spring Lake Township

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SPRING LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- It's a thought that's really making waves in Ottawa County.

Spring Lake Township is floating the idea of making a one mile stretch along the Grand River east of the drawbridge a 'No Wake Zone.'

Some residents say making this a no wake zone is a great idea since it's doing damage to the shoreline. Others are calling it a slippery slope, adding that all boats should be allowed to pass through.

In a couple of weeks, neighbors will have the opportunity to tell community leaders how they really feel.

"Three years ago our shoreline was 10 more feet out into the water," said resident Gary Breen. "The grass went out 10 more feet than what it's at right now."

Breen has lived on the Grand River in Spring Lake Township for three years. He says rising water levels and high wake have eroded the shoreline in front of his home.

"It comes over the dock, it comes over the beach and washes away the soil," said Breen.

Breen is one of a handful of residents in favor of making the stretch along Boom Road a no wake zone, meaning boats longer than 26 feet must go slow enough not to make waves behind them.

"With the high water and big wakes we've had, we have dock and boat destruction and loss of property along the river and people are concerned," said Spring Lake Township Supervisor John Nash.

Nash says larger boats can sometimes make a four foot wave.

"Some people think it's a big problem and some people don't think it is," said Nash. "Some people want no wake, some people don't."

One of the people who doesn't want it is Larry Mierle, who believes it should be up to the boaters and residents in the area.

"I'm totally against it," said Mierle. "I feel that the river is for everyone and for every boat size. I'm just worried that somewhere along the way it will end up as slow no wake completely,."

Mierle says it'll limit recreation and residents should get a sea wall if they haven't already to minimize damage to their property.

"It's a federal waterway, it's connected to the Great Lakes, so it's a federal waterway," said Mierle.

"Our concern is the safety of the smaller crafts and the fact that they cannot enjoy this section of the river on weekends when a lot of the big boats, a lot of them are coming up from marinas upstream and they'll be doing out into Lake Michigan and at the end of the day they come back," said Breen.

Spring Lake Township will hold a public hearing on the No Wake Zone proposal Sept. 11. If the board votes to approve it, it'll then go to the Michigan DNR, who will research it and come back with their findings. Things could then move forward from there.

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    • Michael

      Slow no wake speed is defined under maritime law. It’s that definition they are talking about when it’s called no wake zone or no wake speed. Not the literal version lacking common sense that you used.

  • laker

    Same problem on smaller in land lakes. They are loosing shore kine daily from the ski boats with the bladder tanks in them to through a big wake so they can surf behind the boat. You can sit on you lawn and watch chuncks of sod float away. DNR is here to protect lakes and keep the shoreline from filling in the lakes. Which is why you can’t dump sand in the lake along your beach. Some thing need to be done to limit the size of the wave allowed behind a boat based on the size of the lake and the proximity of the boat to the shore line. SAVE THE LAKES