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SL Twp. turns down no wake

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:20 PM

Last month, the Grand Haven Township Board unanimously approved a no-wake ordinance for a 0.8-mile stretch of the Grand River, downstream from Pottawattomie Bayou.

But because that portion of the river also fronts undeveloped land within Spring Lake Township's jurisdiction, both municipalities needed to approve the no-wake measure for it to become law.

“We're disappointed,” Grand Haven Township Manager Bill Cargo said about Spring Lake Township's rejection of the ordinance. “We've been working on this for a year. Obviously, we're disappointed to work so hard to collaborate and at the last minute have this happen.”

Grand Haven Township Clerk Sue Buitenhuis said she was surprised to hear the Spring Lake Township Board voted down the proposal. Had it been approved, Grand Haven Township had already agreed to pay for the necessary buoys and markers.

“It's kind of a difficult thing because, on the Spring Lake side, there are no houses," Buitenhuis said. "It's kind of frustrating.”

The ordinance appeared to be motoring along until the Michigan Department of Natural Resources changed the no-wake boundaries on the final version.

Cargo said the boundary likely was moved to the tip of the Indian Channel island to provide a clear geographical reference point for the start of the slow zone. Cargo said that position also would give boaters a chance to opt for the Indian Channel route if they wanted to avoid the no-wake stretch.

Several Spring Lake Township board members said they took exception to the DNR's change because it added about 1,100 more feet of no-wake water.

Last year, some Grand Haven Township residents approached both boards to express concern over the high speed of vessels in that mostly residential stretch of the river.

Unless there is a posted no-wake zone, or boats are within 100 feet of a dock or moored boat, watercraft is allowed to go 55 mph on Michigan's inland waters.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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