Visitors restricted at Holland lighthouse this year

6:47 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - It's not going to be as easy to get up close to Holland's Big Red Lighthouse. 

The path tourists take crosses private property and this summer access is being restricted to two days only.  The property owners are only allowing visitors on Tuesdays and Thursdays because of concerns over increasing foot traffic. 

In order to get to the lighthouse people must first cross through Point West One property, owned by Nan Van Andel, daughter of Amway Co-founder Jay Van Andel.  In that area, there are also 200 cottages and development of new homes and condos.

Property owners say many people gawk, while some visitors take it a step farther.

"I've heard instances of people walking inside the structures as they're being built, which could be considered trespassing," says John Gronberg, president of the Holland Historical Lighthouse Commission.

The next property belongs to Nan's brother, David Van Andel, who is building a new mansion.  WZZM 13 was told not to show it for security reasons.

The final stretch of gravel road belongs to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which leads directly to the lighthouse.

The Historical Lighthouse Commission only owns the building itself. In fact, even the ground it is standing on is owned by someone else.

"Private property owners have the right of not allowing access at all, so we're trying to strike a happy medium," says Gronberg.

Visitors can also view the lighthouse at Holland State Park.

The new policy will take effect when the lighthouse officially opens on Memorial Day weekend.

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