One of the big reasons, they said, was because they didn’t want to see people stomping up and down the hill, degrading the dune grass and the natural environment.
While the decision was ultimately reversed and the sign was allowed to shine over the city and Coast Guard dignitaries for another year, city officials said they still wanted studies to be done to see how the sign placement would impact the dune.
Fast forward several months to an early January weekend, when countless community members were invited to visit Dewey Hill to help take down the Christmas Nativity scene adorning the side of the hill.
While we are all for community camaraderie and like to see people work together to get this Grand Haven icon up and down for the Christmas season, one thing is for certain — it appears that from the outside looking in, there is a double standard.
Where is the uproar about the community trampling all over the dune and causing erosion with the placement and removal of the Nativity scene? It seems like there would be just as much potential for harm from this activity as there would be with the Coast Guard USA sign.
And while some may argue that the winter cold leads to an overall different environment on the dune, there is some evidence that this might not be the case.
According to research, while frozen ground halts wind erosion due to sand being cemented to the ground by ice, this effect isn’t permanent.
With there being risks at all times of year, we urge the city of Grand Haven to develop a consistent message. Either the problem of dune erosion at Dewey Hill is an issue, or it isn’t.
Our hope is that all groups get the same message and our community isn’t left scratching their heads as to why some are allowed to walk all over the hill and others aren’t.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.