Board OKs wake restrictions on Lake Macatawa

Rising Waters

PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Park Township’s board of trustees on Thursday approved recommendations from the Department of Natural Resources to extend already existing slow no-wake zones at Lake Macatawa as soon as possible.

The board says the no-wake zones help to prevent further erosion to lakefront properties.

Following recent legislation, Park Township partnered with Holland Township and the city of Holland to petition the Department of Natural Resources and institute no-wake zones on Lake Macatawa. Some of those zones went into effect in April.

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“There have been a lot of concerns and complaints from residents on the lake requesting additional protection,” said Park Township Manager Howard Fink.

The no-wake zones currently affect Big Bay, Macatawa Bay, parts of the shoreline and Pine Creek Bay during specific hours. The township accepted DNR’s recommendation to expand those restrictions into the narrows and the shoreline. 

The township also petitioned the DNR to expand restrictions in Macatawa Bay, but it was denied. The township is now planning to appeal that denial. 

“People are losing their summers and I understand the no wake for property. I see where they have a problem with it, but for the people that come out and wait for summer to enjoy themselves, that’s something they have to look at too,” charter boat captain Stacy Chupailo said.

Chupailo of JJ Sport Fishing Charters in Park Township has been taking customers out on the water for 25 years. He said he and other boaters will just have to adjust to extended zones.

“Unfortunately, we might have to have people coming in earlier because it’s going to take us a little bit longer to get to where we need to. It’s going to probably extend our run another 20 minutes both ways,” Chupailo said.

The township can institute the temporary no-wake zones for up to six months. Area leaders say they want to mitigate damage to property while also allowing citizens to enjoy the lake.

“We want to do what we can to protect homeowners and property. But we also recognize that it is a recreational lake. So, you have to balance the objectives: the fact that it is a recreational lake with homeowners and property,” Fink said.

With the no-wake zones approved, they could go into effect as soon as buoys are in place.

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