We searched for three years. When we first saw Van’s Harbor, Garden, Mich., we walked away. It had everything we’d been searching for, safe harbor for our boat, nice beach, a sunset view, but it was buried under 100 years of accumulated debris from a burned and abandoned lumber mill. Neighbors called it “board beach” because of the piles of accumulated milled lumber on the shoreline and in the lake. “Ruins” is how the lake chart designates the area.
“We can clean it up,” I said, on our way back to the bridge after another fruitless property search. It took a lot of convincing, but my wife finally agreed. We spent the next 10 years of our limited vacation time removing boards and sawdust, iron and glass, and the discarded waste dumped into this unloved bit of beach.
Ten backbreaking years later native beach grasses and reeds, red twig dogwood, box elder, willow and cottonwood trees line the shoreline. Looking down through the clear water we see perch, bass, carp and hundreds of minnows. Sitting on the beach, enjoying the sunset, a seagull flies across the lake, a bald eagle hunts, a heron perches on a pier off shore. But, rather than the music of the waves lapping on the shore, we hear the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the wind turbines.
Come visit Garden on a breezy day and listen for yourself. Don’t let Heritage Wind disrupt and disturb the peace of your home. Insist our Delta County Commissioners pass an ordinance requiring a property line setback five times the height of the wind turbine and three miles from migratory shorelines.
I still love Van’s Harbor and Garden, I’m proud of the beautiful habitat we revived from what was essentially a local dump. But would I have purchased the property with noisy wind turbines disrupting the quiet? No way.
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