Beach at Lakeside
Oak Park Resident

Chicago, IL

#1 Jul 15, 2009
Letter to the Editor:
With economic hard times in Michigan, we have noted your state’s appealing tourism ads to visit your beautiful lakes and beaches. However, despite having enjoyed your beaches, bike routes, restaurants and inns for years, we won’t be coming back after what we witnessed last week. For several decades we have visited Union Pier, Lakeside, New Buffalo and Three Oaks 3-4 times per year. We have stayed many times at the Lakeside Inn, Inn at Union Pier, Gordon Beach Inn, rented cabins, eaten at every local restaurant, and shopped for finds at local stores.
However, this past Saturday, my wife and I were enjoying a beautiful Saturday afternoon when we went for a stroll along the Chickaming Township Beach in Lakeside. When we returned to our spot, a group of young people came up to explain that the resident at 14820 Lake Shore Rd. had complained that their group had (horribly) pitched their blankets some 20 feet beyond the public beach sign, and that he proceeded to kick sand all over the belongings of another couple who were bathing at the time. Even though both groups dutifully moved all their belongings inside the boundaries (where there were 50 people crowded into a 50 foot beachfront with no bathers hundreds of yards on either side), the angry and abusive resident still called the police. The police arrived and found everyone within the boundaries prescribed and left.
Unsatified, the resident summoned a private security officer to demand that the group move an additional two feet so that their belongings would be “inside the line,” and not “at the line.” Again, they complied. Everyone at the public beach was, needless to say, horrified at the resident’s behavior and mystified by the conflicting messages of “come to Michigan, enjoy our shores,” but “don’t expect to be treated like a human being.”
At the Michigan Visitors Center off I-94, I noticed a sign proclaiming that “Michigan has more miles of beaches than the entire eastern seaboard.” If this is true, how is that the community of Lakeside (Chickaming Township) can only spare one foot of shoreline for each visitor at the beach? Our odds are better in Chicago. My questions are this: Why can’t the Michigan beaches be open to the public like every other major body of water in the nation? Access can always be limited through parking. Why are Michigan community governments so controlled by the wealthy that the public good can’t be served? And, finally, what kind of people are you that treat paying visitors with such contempt? Can you afford to treat vistors this way in the current economic climate?
Oak Park, Illinois
Anel

Chicago, IL

#2 Jul 17, 2009
I live in Chicago and was considering a weekend get away to Michigan-the billboards are so appealing; but I have heard so many horror stories very similar to this one that I think I will stay close or go else where. It is very unfortunate that such a beautiful state is polluted by such nasty attitudes and residents.
Back in KY now

Lexington, KY

#3 Jul 19, 2009
Anel wrote:
I live in Chicago and was considering a weekend get away to Michigan-the billboards are so appealing; but I have heard so many horror stories very similar to this one that I think I will stay close or go else where. It is very unfortunate that such a beautiful state is polluted by such nasty attitudes and residents.
We just returned from a wkend stay from New Buffalo and on up to South Haven beach shores. Such a beautiful shoreline to be shared! We went on 7 different beaches, and had to PAY to enter them??? No wonder Michigan has the "wealthy". We went to grand beach, only to find NO way to get down to the shoreline without walking through someones yard or a path along side of their million dollar home. WHY do they advertise and say "take a stroll on grand beach?" If you don't want us there, then SAY SO! A PERMITTED sign should be posted advising out of towners where the boundaries are! Next year we will be returning BACK to "VA. Beach" where the friendly towns people welcome you to walk their boardwalk, surf their sandy beaches...oh and guess what? NO ONE OWNS the beachlines there, you come and go as you like without paying a single dime to "LOOK" & "play" in their ocean.
Oh and by the way...You all are always welcome to visit the Bluegrass state of KY, we welcome you to enhance the beauty of our mountains, and water ways. I promise you will be thrilled to experience what true hospitality is REALLY about!
Chicago Resident

Hazel Crest, IL

#4 Jul 21, 2009
Oak Park Resident wrote:
Letter to the Editor:
With economic hard times in Michigan, we have noted your state’s appealing tourism ads to visit your beautiful lakes and beaches. However, despite having enjoyed your beaches, bike routes, restaurants and inns for years, we won’t be coming back after what we witnessed last week. For several decades we have visited Union Pier, Lakeside, New Buffalo and Three Oaks 3-4 times per year. We have stayed many times at the Lakeside Inn, Inn at Union Pier, Gordon Beach Inn, rented cabins, eaten at every local restaurant, and shopped for finds at local stores.
However, this past Saturday, my wife and I were enjoying a beautiful Saturday afternoon when we went for a stroll along the Chickaming Township Beach in Lakeside. When we returned to our spot, a group of young people came up to explain that the resident at 14820 Lake Shore Rd. had complained that their group had (horribly) pitched their blankets some 20 feet beyond the public beach sign, and that he proceeded to kick sand all over the belongings of another couple who were bathing at the time. Even though both groups dutifully moved all their belongings inside the boundaries (where there were 50 people crowded into a 50 foot beachfront with no bathers hundreds of yards on either side), the angry and abusive resident still called the police. The police arrived and found everyone within the boundaries prescribed and left.
Unsatified, the resident summoned a private security officer to demand that the group move an additional two feet so that their belongings would be “inside the line,” and not “at the line.” Again, they complied. Everyone at the public beach was, needless to say, horrified at the resident’s behavior and mystified by the conflicting messages of “come to Michigan, enjoy our shores,” but “don’t expect to be treated like a human being.”
At the Michigan Visitors Center off I-94, I noticed a sign proclaiming that “Michigan has more miles of beaches than the entire eastern seaboard.” If this is true, how is that the community of Lakeside (Chickaming Township) can only spare one foot of shoreline for each visitor at the beach? Our odds are better in Chicago. My questions are this: Why can’t the Michigan beaches be open to the public like every other major body of water in the nation? Access can always be limited through parking. Why are Michigan community governments so controlled by the wealthy that the public good can’t be served? And, finally, what kind of people are you that treat paying visitors with such contempt? Can you afford to treat vistors this way in the current economic climate?
Oak Park, Illinois
I sadly must agree with all three comments posted here. My family and I vacationed for many summers in the Union Pier area, renting houses, staying in local hotels or just visiting for the day. We stopped doing that a couple of years ago, after repeated verbal aggressions by local residents (such as the one described above), and the general impression that anyone who doesn't own their own stretch of beach can cram themselves between the narrow signs of the very limited public beaches. Last time I checked, Michigan was close to the bottom nationally when it came to unemployment and economic hardship. It would be nice if the people in "Harbor Country" actually harbored some warmth for their visitors and weren't just interested in gouging us in their overpriced shops and restaurants.

There are lovely beaches in Chicago and on numerous Wisconsin lakes. People are friendly and make you feel welcome. Why go to Michigan, then? Money might buy you a beach, but it won't buy you tourists.
Back in KY now

Lexington, KY

#5 Jul 22, 2009
Chicago Resident wrote:
<quoted text>
I sadly must agree with all three comments posted here. My family and I vacationed for many summers in the Union Pier area, renting houses, staying in local hotels or just visiting for the day. We stopped doing that a couple of years ago, after repeated verbal aggressions by local residents (such as the one described above), and the general impression that anyone who doesn't own their own stretch of beach can cram themselves between the narrow signs of the very limited public beaches. Last time I checked, Michigan was close to the bottom nationally when it came to unemployment and economic hardship. It would be nice if the people in "Harbor Country" actually harbored some warmth for their visitors and weren't just interested in gouging us in their overpriced shops and restaurants.
There are lovely beaches in Chicago and on numerous Wisconsin lakes. People are friendly and make you feel welcome. Why go to Michigan, then? Money might buy you a beach, but it won't buy you tourists.
Are your Chicago and Wisconsin lakes similar to the shorelines of Lake Michigan? I LOVED the beauty of Michigan, just not their attitudes. Would you care to post a web site where I could get more info.? I would be traveling North I-65. Thank you in advance for your help!
Former frequent visitors

AOL

#6 Jul 23, 2009
It was with much sorrow that we have decided to no longer spend our summer vacations in Harbor Country. The signs that so rudely greeted us at the Chikaming Township public beaches are not only insulting to those of us courted so frequently by your local chambers of commerce but appear to be paid for by the same Township authorities who are supported by the taxes collected by the local businesses we have visited frequently in past years. No more...shame on Chikaming Township
Eric Wagner

Chicago, IL

#7 Aug 9, 2009
I agree with what is being written here. The residents who own next to the public access certainly are territorial - to the point of blatant display of selfishness - even when they are in the comfort of their own homes and not even on the beach - I am sure they are tired of the occasional irresponsible kids that leave pollution behind over the years which has likely soured their opinion. But the public access was there when they bought - unless they inherited it from Mommy and Daddy.
But it is sad that they cannot share 2-10 extra feet of Gods beautiful coastline when the public area gets full - this year they have strictly drawn the lines - It was so funny to watch the Gordon beach security Guard set up his rope line the other day - he had it all set up and then he had to move the rope about 2 more inches - He had to make sure he got every inch and that absolutely no one could share the experience of the beauty of that extra inch even though they own somewhere north of 1000 feet of Beach.
Leah

Bloomington, IN

#8 May 22, 2010
I agree with you guys. I've lived in Harbert, Michigan for all 15 years that I've been alive and I go to Chikaming Township beach almost everyday in the summertime. The guy that you are talking about is a complete butt. We've gotten tickets for parking 1 inch on the pavement. ONE inch.
But please, don't stop coming to Michigan because of one guy. Frankly I think most of tourists that come here are stuck up airheads, but some are nice. Don't diss Chikaming Township. It's really great. And much better than the city. Unless you like breathing in pollution and exposing your children to it. Then stay there.

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