Hearing: Syndicate Park Sand Dune Area

On Monday, March 24 at 3:45 the Van Buren County Commission will hear comments on a proposed grant proposal to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) for improvements at Syndicate Park Dune Area. The hearing will be at the Commissioners’ Chambers, County Building, 219 E Paw Paw St., Paw Paw.

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Last year the county commissioned a group from Calvin College in Grand Rapids led by geologist, Professor Deanna Van Djik, to complete an analysis of the 74-acre area. The park has been experiencing extensive dune movement, nearly 300 feet in 72 years (over 4 feet per year). Already 4 residences are threatened by the advancing dunes.

The primary contributor to the erosion has been human activity: dune climbing, ATV riding, access to beach by foot, etc. Click here to read this excellent analysis and report.

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According to preliminary estimates from several years ago the cost of needed improvements is approximately $271,000. New estimates will be reported at the hearing. It is hoped that 75% funding will be available from the MNRTF. Proposed work includes:

  1. About 3 acres of stabilization including plantings, sand fencing, netting, straw
  2. 660 feet of ORV/pedestrian trail
  3. 1,626 feet of “pedestrian only” trail (boardwalk on crest of dune, if needed)
  4. Educational and management signage
  5. Physical barriers such as sand fencing or hay bales at key spots to keep people off “old” paths

The grant proposal is due April 1 and a decision will be made by December 1.

Additional information from Calvin College about dune research and this project click here

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