Lake Michigan Beach Erosion Spring 2020 Update

As you are surely aware, the water level on Lake Michigan is extremely high. This will continue to affect our lake shore parks by drastically reducing the size of our beaches, eroding dunes (and trails), limiting special uses, and in some cases, removal of wood stairs and boardwalks.

We are committed to to providing safe beach access to all of our Lake Michigan properties, even under trying conditions. Here are things to keep in mind as you plan a visit to the beach this coming summer:

  • Trails may be closed! In some places, dune erosion has affected trails and boardwalks. Be sure to read posted signs when you arrive at these parks to see if there are any new closures.
  • With the closure of the Kirk Park Dog Beach stairs and the increasingly shrinking beach, we are going to do our best to balance both pet owners and sun bathers. Pet owners can use the north stairs to get to the dog beach and should follow signs and fencing south. Dogs must remain on-leash until you reach the dog beach area.
  • Visitors should not dig into or sit directly on or under the sand cliffs at the beach. Collapsing sand can be very dangerous.
  • Rental facilities at Tunnel Park, Kirk Park, and North Beach Park will still be available.
  • Please be respectful to each other and to neighbors. Make room for other beach goers and be mindful that your spot in the sun is on park property, not private property.

Vehicle permits will still be required Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Revenue from these permits will help support restoration of these properties when the water levels return to normal. Thank you for considering an annual or daily pass, even if the conditions are not optimal. You can purchase your Annual Motor Vehicle Permit online through May 15, 2020.

About the Author

Jessica VanGinhoven

Jessica is the media contact for the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Department:, (616) 994-4716