SL Twp. turns down no wake

The Spring Lake Township Board's rejection of a no-wake zone for a portion of the Grand River is creating some waves.
Marie Havenga
Oct 16, 2013


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.



Many Thanks Spring Lake! :)




I agree . . . thanks to Spring Lake Township for being smart about this. It was obvious from Grand Haven Township Manager's past comments that manager was not well informed about the issue. He had said that boaters impacted by the proposed No WAKE could have just used the North / Indian Channel side of the island. That is non-sense. A boat in excess of 26 foot boat can NOT safely use the Indian Channel route at any decent rate of speed.

Back to the Wall

Although Cargo insists:

“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.”

There must have been a colossal failure in "collaboration". "Collaborate" means work with the interested parties to insure shared investment in and responsibility for an equitable solution.

This appears to be another instance of the insular GHTwp assuming a little too much.


Yeah!!!! Didn't hear too much about it until it seemed a done deal. There is already way too much ...of the the no wake zone areas!!! The waterways are for boating!! Only a few people are complain grand only a few are obnoxious. They need to deal with it and leave the majority alone to enjoy!!!



This is another case of building your house next to a sewage treatment plant and then complaning about the smells. If you choose to live along the river know that occasionally there'll be a boat going up or down the river at a good clip. If you got a boat in the water, tie it up or buy one of those deals where you can lift it out of the water. As far as being a danger to kids....they aren't likely to be running out into the middle of the river so I'm not sure I understand the point.

Really tired of small groups of noisy, anal, overbearing twits who want everything done their way. Learn to deal with reality and other people's viewpoints instead of constantly throwing hissyfits.


this coming from a liberal????


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. So who authorizes the length, and construction of a dock whether its fixed, portable or floating??? on our state waterways???... cause if you follow the above rules not many spots along the river that you are not within the 100 ft mark of a dock or a slow moving boat. When you ride along the river unless you lived here for years... I really don't know how a boat driver would know which areas are TRULY slow NO WAKE. may land owners have put up these signs. Their needs to be an legal state authorized type of sign.


I see your point about needing to be familiar with the area, but I disagree that more signs are needed. I think navigation of inland (and other) waterways requires far more knowledge of one's 'roadway' than does land-based navigation.

As an example, there are buoys for shallow areas, but they are sparse and there are plenty of places where people can, and do, run aground because they are unfamiliar with the waterway. It's kind of nice to have a natural area with few signs littering the view, but it does require more attention.

As another example, there is frequently dead wood in the water from upstream, and it needs to be avoided. The Army Corp of Engineers might eventually come and get it, but it will be there, unsigned, for longer than similar debris on a roadway.

Boats are more like airplanes than cars. There are no signs telling you where the restricted airspace begins and ends.


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