A proposed new marina and walkway planned for Hutchins Lake in Fennville, MI has residents concerned over both environmental and recreational impacts regarding the surrounding community.

Jeff Dryfhout shared details of this new proposal on social media saying,

This proposal is very concerning and will have far reaching effects environmentally and for all people who enjoy fishing and accessing Hutchins Lake.

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In addition to a previously approved access driveway that is set to be built over existing wetlands the project, titled "DeGroot Family Trust Park 59th Street - Fennville", will include the following:

  • A marina of six 16 foot wide boat slips. That number could be increased to hold 15-20 boats.
  • Nearly 3,400 square feet of wetland to be filled for the construction of the driveway.
  • Wooden boardwalks elevated above existing wetlands. These boardwalks will be 6 feet wide and 75 feet, 40 feet, and 30 feet in length. The 30-foot boardwalk/bridge is proposed over an existing stream.
  • Creation of a private beach.
  • Installation of new open pile docks
  • In addition to the new marina, a planned housing development is set to be added later on.

Though some claim the project aims to increase public enjoyment of natural spaces, those who oppose the development argue this venture is more about capital gains than protecting existing wetlands saying, "The cove where the development will take place is very shallow and protected from lake activity, providing nesting and spawning areas for wildlife." Even going so far as citing a 2007 DNR report which referred to this wetland as an “ecologically sensitive area."

As this new project has the potential to displace swans, bald eagles, herons, and numerous amphibians from their natural habitats, nearby residents are concerned for both the wetlands and wildlife in addition to increased traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods and on the lake. "The noise, traffic and pollution from boat, jet skis etc. using the marina will negatively impact the population of fish community."

I'm all for enjoying the beautiful lands and waterways that Pure Michigan has to offer, but I wonder if these developers truly have the public's best interests in mind. If you wish to make a public comment on the Hutchins Lake Marina ahead of the public hearing, you can do so here.

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