Feds charge Michigan man for dredging river inside Sleeping Bear Dunes

NPS stopped dredging Platte River in 2017

Platte River at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. (Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore)

A Michigan man is facing federal tampering and vandalism charges after allegedly dredging a river inside Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, Mark Totten, announced charges against Andrew Blair Howard, 62, of Frankfort, Michigan. Federal officials say Howard dredged the Platte River inside the federally protected Michigan park along Lake Michigan.

Howard is charged with one count of tampering and one count of vandalism at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on August 15, 2022. These charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 6 months’ imprisonment, up to a $ 5,000 fine, up to 5 years’ probation, and mandatory restitution.

“These allegations of tampering and vandalism by a man-made diversion of water at Platte River are disturbing,” said U.S. Attorney Totten. “The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Great Lakes are national gems, and my office takes preserving our natural treasures very seriously.”

The dredging (or lack thereof) of the Platte River has been a hot topic in Northern Michigan since officials announced the river would no longer be dredged back in 2017, a decision made by the National Parks Service.

“By not dredging the mouth of the Platte. It lets nature be nature, so it allows the mouth of the Platte to meander as it has historically for thousands of years, and it allows the natural resources to be on their own terms, in a sense,” Scott Tucker, Superintendent for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, told 9&10 News.

The Platte River originates in Long Lake in Traverse City, and flows through Platte Bay, a small bay of Lake Michigan.

---> Read more: Man charged with dredging Michigan river: How and why would someone do it? What we know

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.