The dramatic shift at the mouth of the Platte River comes after a push from Lake Township to make changes to the waterway.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore says the last time the Platte River was dredged was in 2016 by the Department of Natural Resources.
In June, Lake Township Supervisor Anna Grobe sent letters to Governor Whitmer, Congressman Jack Bergman, State Senator Curt VanderWall and State Representative Jack O’Malley expressing concerns if the Platte River is not dredged.
“If there was an incident, whether it be a canoe, a kayak, a child on a float or fisherman and if the emergency vessel would have needed to get out. They would not have been able to get out of the mouth of the Platte River. They would have had to come from Frankfort,” explained Anna Grobe, Lake Township Supervisor.
Grobe says in the last few years, there have been two deaths on the water in this area.
“Time is of the essence, and my concern was that it would have been a recovery, not a rescue,” said Grobe.
The National Park Service says a decision to stop dredging that area of the Platte River came in 2017 during a planning session.
“By not dredging the mouth of the Platte. It lets nature be nature, so it allows the mouth of the Platte to meander as it has historically for thousands of years, and it allows the natural resources to be on their own terms, in a sense,” explained Scott Tucker, Superintendent for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Grobe says she has no idea who was involved in this summer’s illegal diversion of the Platte River.
“I wish it would have happened through proper channels. But, you know, it is what it is, and frustrations mounted, and somebody just took it upon themselves,” said Grobe.
The National Park Service says time will tell if any restoration efforts will be necessary to bring the mouth of the Platte River back to normal.