Salted with Sharks

County’s Development Plans for Point Betsie—What’s Going On?

In Community Alert, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Fishing, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, Water on August 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Well, this Alert writer doesn’t know. But here’s a letter to the editor of the Record-Patriot that appeared this week. We obtained it from Suz McLaughlin, who received it from the letter writer. McLaughlin said Mr. Zetterberg and his family own property near Pt. Betsie and the family created the Zetterberg Preserve many years ago, which is now monitored by the Nature Conservancy. Alan Zetterberg also once served on the board of the Friends of Betsie Bay.—Emily Votruba

To the Record Patriot:
The future of historic and scenic Point Betsie is in jeopardy.
This unique and beautiful piece of “pure Michigan” has been treasured by Benzie County residents and summer visitors alike for decades.

Now, the county, through its Parks and Recreation Commission, has begun consideration of possible future development of the end of Point Betsie Road.

This development could include a large expansion of unneeded parking space using the end of Lake Michigan Road as a model.

The small road end at Point Betsie cannot support such an expansion. Such development would bring devastating and possibly irreversible environmental and ecological consequences for years to come.

While perhaps well intended, these discussions are ill-conceived and threaten to destroy the very essence of why people want to visit Point Betsie in the first place.

The Point Betsie Lighthouse compound itself has been wonderfully preserved and restored, with the support of Benzie County, through the tireless work and financial support of the Friends of the Point Betsie Lighthouse and its hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers and supporters (including grants intended to protect the area) since its transfer to Benzie County in 2004.

Likewise, the surrounding sand dunes, interdunal wetlands, boreal forests and sandy Lake Michigan beaches were preserved, initially, through a gift of 71 acres of land to The Nature Conservancy in 1988 and added to since then by others who value the unspoiled natural habitat, landscapes and sunsets which are enjoyed year after year by locals and visitors alike.

Already, the small public beach and the surrounding area are showing signs of the inevitable wear and tear of too much public pressure on this very small space.

To subject this fragile and precious natural resource to any unneeded and unwarranted over-development would be a grave mistake by the Parks and Recreation Commission and county commissioners.

Alan C. Zetterberg
Princeton, N.J.

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