Dewey Hill access to be restricted

Alex Doty • Feb 12, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Dewey Hill has loomed large over downtown Grand Haven from across the river, and steps will be taken this summer to try and ensure the dune is a landmark for generations to come.

“The face of Dewey Hill that you can see from this side of the river, we’re going to restore that gash going up the side,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

Officials say the mark is the result of a plastic water line that has been made gradually more prevalent by people traveling up and down the dune.

Eagle Scout candidate and city resident Chase Layman will work on the hill this summer in an attempt to cover the scar with dune grass. The goal of the project is to have no scar across the face of Dewey Hill, along with a stable, protected surface by the end of the summer.

To try and make the work last, the city will attempt to keep people off the hill restoration area.

“It would be a shame to do that and have foot traffic negate any effort we make,” McGinnis said.

City Council voted 3-1 last week to designate the southeast face of the dune a “no trespassing” area.

Councilman Josh Brugger voted against the plan.

“For me, in the words of Woody Guthrie, ‘this land is your land, this land is my land,’ and I think people ought to be able to walk on it,” Brugger said. “I think they’ve got to use care and common sense, and maybe there is another way to do it that directs people where they should walk, but they still ought to be able to walk on the hill.”

McGinnis noted that the city will install a split rail fence at the top and the bottom of the hill, along with signs in the area that note access to the dune can be made from the northwest side.

“You can still go to the top of the hill, but you need to go around the back side of it instead of going up the face of it,” he said.

City Council’s approval also states that the “Coast Guard City USA” festival letters be placed on the hillside by accessing the dune from the northwest side this and future years.

Councilman Bob Monetza called the move to restrict access up the face of the dune “the right thing” to do.

“I think we should have restricted walking on Dewey Hill a long time ago,” he said. “As far as foot traffic on dunes, it really needs to be restricted.”

Monetza said he wants to see the city look at other dunes in the city, as well.

“I think we also need to look at all of our other dune areas where people are tearing them up,” he said. “We really need to restrict people from walking on those.”


Recommended for You

    Grand Haven Tribune Videos