Not too long ago, we were contacted by a concerned citizen asking us to help raise awareness about the dispute occurring over the Saugatuck Dunes. We love our Michigan communities, so who are we to refuse such a request?
Since we weren't familiar with the situation, a little research was in order. According to The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, this area of Michigan is "one of America's most endangered historical sites". Additionally, the Alliance has been working for over 60 years to preserve this piece of Michigan history:
"For more than sixty years, the State of Michigan, the U.S. National Park Service, and regional business leaders have sought to protect the Saugatuck Dunes giving special attention to the Denison property at the harbor mouth of the Kalamazoo River. Efforts were made over the years to purchase this property with the aim of keeping it in the public trust. Most recently, in 2004, philanthropists and regional business leaders sought to purchase the property to ensure an unbroken natural shoreline connecting Oval Beach with the Saugatuck Dunes State Park."
A dispute has occurred because a real estate developer purchased a portion of this stretch of land in 2006 with plans to build a 9 story hotel, 6 story condos, and a golf course. The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, along with the State of Michigan, the National Park Service, and regional businesses are in opposition to this, having zoned the area to preserve these dunes, a process that started in 2001. They have tried to purchase the property unsuccessfully.
So... what say you? Should we save the Saugatuck Dunes? Is there enough support to help move this developer elsewhere? Should TMS release a SAVE THE SAUGATUCK DUNES vintage t-shirt?
We want to hear from you, Michigan. Send us an email, comment on Facebook, leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
More information can be found at NPR, at The Saugatuck Coastal Alliance, and at MLive.
The Mitten State