Flooding shuts down Lake Macatawa boat launch

Rising Waters

PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A public boat launch on Lake Macatawa that is covered in several inches of water has been shut down by state officials.

The boating access site along Ottawa Beach Road off 168th Avenue on the north side of the lake, near Holland State Park, closed Thursday morning. It will stay that way until the water goes down.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which runs the site, said high water has been problem for more than a year, but the current flooding has reached hazardous levels.

“The water is high enough that it’s surrounding our contact station. We had to sandbag to try to prevent water from getting inside. It’s posed some issues for safety so we had to cut the electric, which also turned off the light for the ramp,” DNR Conservation Office Sean Mulligan explained.

He said the DNR has also gotten several calls from visitors who injured themselves using the flooded ramp.

Lake Michigan has been rising for six years and set record highs for six straight months to start 2020. It is finally expected to start dropping and could fall below record levels by September. The high waters have covered beaches and eroded away lakeshore bluffs, threatening homes.

“I’ve been as far as Ludington and the shoreline from here all the way up is a complete disaster,” Hering, who has lived in the Holland area since the 1970s, told News 8 Thursday. “There’s nothing but sandbags and crews working on sea walls and collapsed dunes.”

With Lake Michigan so full, inland lakes can’t drain and have also been pushed to their limits. This has led to no-wake orders in some places, including on parts of Lake Macatawa and Pigeon Lake.

“Considering what’s going on on Lake Michigan, all these connected waterways are feeling the effect, too. Obviously last year it wasn’t quite as bad, but until these waters go back down, it’s going to be a problem,” Mulligan said.

You can still access Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan at the Howard B. Dunton Park boat launch, the Kollen Park boat launch and via Pigeon Lake north of Holland.

—News 8’s Whitney Burney contributed to this report.


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