PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Rising waters at Lake Macatawa are causing issues for homeowners and Holland State Park beachgoers whose summer fun has been threatened by the crashing waves caused by passing boats.
Officials at Holland State Park say water levels at Lake Macatawa have never been this high and the water is starting to impact visitors.
Sean Mulligan, unit supervisor at Holland State Park, says flooded park benches, collapsed walkways and shrunken beaches are just some problems caused by the waves.
“Just like everywhere else, the water levels are really high,” Mulligan said. “Because of that, we’re experiencing some damage to our park facilities. It’s kind of strange to look down the channel and it looks more like a pool than a lake the way the water is sitting right at the edge. That’s highly unusual.”
Ladders that are typically exposed to boats passing through the channel are now nearly completely covered by water.
“Just the wake from a boat is enough to lap it over the top,” Mulligan said. “I’ve been at this park since 2000 and never have I seen water this high.”
Homeowner Harvey Klinger says his home was purposely built a whole foot above the 100-year floodplain level.
“My home is dry, thank god, but the water is washing the dock out,” Klinger said.
Klinger says a no-wake zone order is in effect for watercrafts 26-foot-long and up. He believes that needs to be expanded.
“It should have been zero to 85 or 90 foot,” Klinger said. “They all make waves, but they don’t own property here. So, they don’t give a rip about it.”
Park Township says an emergency no-wake order would have to come from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
State officials told 24 Hour News 8 that nothing can be done until the township writes a new ordinance, which the DNR would then enforce.
“Our hands are a little tied here at the park,” Mulligan said. “We just want everyone to practice safety and realize the rising water may make things slippery and more cramped than you may be used to. We may have to turn people away as the beach fills up quickly here.”
Amid the confusion, Klinger says more than just his dock will be lost if nothing is done.
“It takes so much time to get the thing worked out because there’re the townships, the city, DNR, the sheriff’s department,” Klinger said. “What are you going to do, you know?”