Tempting ice

If you had the desire to drive down and check out the Grand Haven pier in all its wintry glory over the past few weekends, you’ve likely found yourself instead stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Mar 7, 2014


Thousands of people, from locals to out-of-staters, have converged on the Lake Michigan shore to enjoy the stunning panorama.

And most of them have put their lives, and the lives of their young children, in danger by trudging out onto that ice to play on the icebergs and take photographs.

It’s a tempting situation. The ice along the Lake Michigan side of the south pier is flat and snow-covered, making it an easy walk. There are scattered mounds of slick ice — hazardous but fun for kids of all ages to scramble up and slide down.

The photo opportunities are almost once-in-a-lifetime — families bundled up against the cold, standing on the ice out beyond the end of the piers.

But some of those who snapped those photos found themselves plunged into ice-cold water just moments later.

On stagnant bodies of water, 3-5 inches of ice is plenty to walk on, as long as you use caution.

But on Lake Michigan, and especially on the channel between the two piers — where the ever-flowing Grand River empties into the lake — the ice is much less predictable. Moving water limits the ability of ice to freeze in a uniform manner, leading to weak spots that can spell disaster for those who head out onto it.

The Tribune has received its share of criticism for publishing a collection of photos — taken both by our staff and submitted by our readers — of people venturing out on the ice, while at the same time cautioning people not to do so.

Make no mistake — our coverage doesn’t condone the action. It’s our job to report what’s happening in our area.

It’s hard to blame people for wanting to explore this beautiful winter landscape. But that doesn’t change the fact that walking on the ice is an inherently dangerous activity, and those who partake in it are putting their life at risk.

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 news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.


Barry Soetoro

I'll sit here patiently and wait for the next story about all the lightbulb-heads that went through the ice out there this weekend and needed to be rescued....I'll make the popcorn.


Lightbulb-heads? Is this another Urban Dictionary thing?

I think I'll go out there this weekend and my self-assignment will be to photograph the first luckless goombah who falls thru into the icy water. I could end up with a front page shot!! Fame and fortune will be mine!


Or we all are lucky and it shall be you YAAUA


OH look, the Psycho cretin is back again with more of his cryptic gibberish. You really need to knock off the stalking thing before you end up in jail.




12:32pm on Saturday and the ice walkers have started to show up on the web cams... This could be the day a life is lost.


There were already people out there at the end of the pier on the ice at 8:30 this morning!

Somebody is gonna buy the farm soon with the ice breaking up as the temps start to get over freezing.

Maybe we could start a contest and have people pick the date and time. closest to the actual event wins.


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.