Laketown: Limited access

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Samuel Strobel

Trip Advisor features some great reviews of Laketown Beach, which earns 4 out of 5 stars on the site.

  • My favorite Holland beach. Gets busy during the summer but it’s a great place to visit and walk on off-peak for a private beach feel.”
  • “Wow!!! Make it up the stairs and you will find Paradise.”

Many West Ottawa students also go to Laketown throughout the summer. Laketown is a massive beach, surrounded by miles of dunes and forest. “Every 4th of July, me and my friends take our friend’s boat to Laketown and spend the day swimming in the lake and climbing the dunes,” Sr. Gage Gonzalez said. Almost every summer weekend, Laketown beach is filled with boats from all over West Michigan.

  • “The view from the top of the bowl is a breathtaking view, of the area that spans for miles and miles,” Jr. Paul Harrington said.
  • “Since the time I was one, me and my family have been taking trips to Laketown on our boat” Soph. Clyde Snyder said.

However a change occurred this year. “I was hammocking up in the dunes, when an ATV came out of the woods and came to me and told me that I couldn’t be up here in the dunes. I was very confused because since I can remember I have been coming to these dunes and climbing on them,” Gonzalez said.  

  • “It was just different this year with no trespassing signs all over the dunes that have never been there before,” Snyder said.
  • “This year DNR officers were mounted on quads patrolling the dunes” Harrington said.

Why the sudden change?

According to Laketown township manager Albert Meshkin, “[dune] has always been private property. The owners are now enforcing no trespassing on their property.”

Allegan County Sheriff’s office added  “The property is owned privately and trespassing complaints have been investigated and enforced by the Laketown Township deputy for several years. The property also has private security that was enforcing no trespassing on this property. There has been no changes just more enforcement because of liability and damage for the property owner with trespassing. It is private property and never was open to the public,” Scot Matice said.

But, who is this owner that now made the land private? “The land is held in the name of Lakeshore Dunes llc, which is managed by RDV Corporation, which is the DeVos family,” Meshkin said.

So there really hasn’t been any rule change, the only difference is that the owners of “the bowl” are now enforcing their private property, inhibiting people from exploring the dunes as they have in the past.