Dune restoration sought

An icon on Grand Haven’s waterfront since when this area was settled, Dewey Hill is an attention-grabber.
Becky Vargo
Jun 9, 2014


“It’s essentially a billboard,” Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Dan Small said. “As you drive through Grand Haven that is the first thing you see.”

The dune has also been the source of controversy in recent years. A prime example is last summer's firestorm of public dismay when the Coast Guard U.S.A. sign was initially nixed by city leaders, then allowed after a community outcry.

Being the landmark that it is, after months of talk, Small's committee has created a vision for the dune.

“Several months ago, we were asked to develop a Dewey Hill preservation plan for current or foreseeable uses for (the hill),” Small said.

Small said given the nature and history of the hill, it was important that it be maintained well into the future.

“Dewey Hill is a part of the largest freshwater sand system in the world. As such, it needs some attention,” Small said. “Dewey Hill has played an important role for the City of Grand Haven. It’s played an important role for special uses for the city and third parties over the course of history.”

The plan itself is less than a page and a half long. The committee met this spring, at which time they focused on finalizing the preservation plan.

“This is essentially designed to be a living document,” Small said. “If a future, unforeseen use presents itself, you could add to it.”

City officials say the plan was developed using recent knowledge gained over the last few years — from uses of Dewey Hill, to the recent washout and restoration work done at Mulligan’s Hollow.

“We’ve had quite a bit of discussion over the past 12 months on the traditional uses and the impact those uses have on the hill,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

Those uses, McGinnis noted, range from things such as the Christmas Nativity scene and the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival sign.

The plan allows for the continuation of the Nativity scene on the hill. The Coast Guard U.S.A. sign, along with other Coast Guard Festival details, is awaiting approval by the city.

See the complete story in the print or electronic edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



It is a natural resource, why mess with it, you can not make it in to something you want, talk about stupid people !!!!


i didn't realize the hill was broken.


It is definitely shifting around. And the paths that the public takes up the hill are badly eroded, but it should be a simple fix if people would just stay on the marked trails in the dune preserve.


It's not broken maybe, but it's a lot smaller than it was 100 years ago due largely to wind erosion, which is aided and abetted by community use of the hill. I doubt there's much argument about the real necessity of the hill, but certainly it's a landmark and something many people enjoy and would like to see there 50 years in the future.

And now for a less serious comment:
I didn't even notice the hill was there until they put that nice sign up! One way the impact of the sign could be lessened would be by shortening it to "Guard City" - it worked for Hollywood(land)!


Ya, i guess it,s not really big deal, but rather see them discuss fixing our roads here in town




I hope they included a burn plan. Some of my fondest memories as a child and young adult are from when they lit the dry grass with fireworks every year or so. Fire is a natural thing. Its only when we humans keep trying to controll it that we get in trouble. Maybe we could follow suit with the county parks and let some goats go up there. That would create some photo opps.


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