Sand dunes threaten Silver Lake cottages

Shifting sand dunes threaten homes

MEARS, MICH. - Shifting sand dunes have already buried several cottages along Silver Lake in Oceana County.

Now, they're threatening more homes at the resort. Over the years the sand has swallowed a number of lakeside homes. Already this spring, the dune crushed a small cottage and there are at least ten more in danger.

The mountain of sand is just a few yards from the nearest structure. A front loader shoveling all day is trying to hold the dune back.

“It's a pretty powerful force,” says Mike Oosterbaan, whose family is on vacation at the lake. “They are working at it about nine hours a day and they don't seem to be making a whole lot of gain against it.”

“Nature is the problem,” points out vacationer Molly Voorhees. “You know these dunes have been moving since before any of us were alive.”

Most of the dune is in the Silver Lake State Park under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources. The owners of the cottages threatened by the dune have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for excavation of the sand.

“I don’t think it is hopeless,” says Molly Voorhees. “We will have to see who wins this fight. I sure hope it is the people. We would love to keep coming back here every year.”

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