Lake Michigan swallows an entire beach in Stevensville

(WNDU)
Published: Feb. 7, 2020 at 6:33 PM EST
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After the Lincoln Township Beach closed earlier than normal this past fall, erosion has now left the beach closed indefinitely.

That's because it all fell into Lake Michigan.

That beach is about a quarter mile down the road at the entrance to the park. The lock on the gate won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

“It's scary, it was gone. I mean, it’s over right now" said Terrie Smith, Lincoln Charter Township treasurer and head of parks. "Everything you thought it was is no more."

This was the only beach left in Lincoln Charter Township.

"The beaches are gone, so everybody is going to have to do with what's left," Smith said, referring to the devastation along the entire lakeshore.

Now more of an overlook than a place to lay out by the lake, what was once a destination for residents in and around Stevensville is now a bluff littered with debris and rocks.

Needless to say, the beach is closed.

"It’s scary, but until it goes down, we can't do anything, because Mother Nature is going to take over first. We say it’s supposed to be high again this year, so I would say we might be without a beach for an entire year or possibly two,” Smith said.

According to our reporting partners at

, the township first noticed the beach losing ground back in June.

What at first was just some eyebrow-raising erosion has led to the entire beach falling into Lake Michigan.

"It's not a pretty picture anymore," Smith said.

The beauty of the lakeshore was juxtaposed with those powerful Lake Michigan waves causing devastating erosion to not only homes but popular recreation sites in Berrien County.

"It's Mother Nature, and when Mother Nature decides it'll come back, then we can go back to work, like I said, restoring, replacing sand, so forth, but until then, I think we're all in trouble," Smith said.

16 News Now was granted special access to go to the beach in order to check out the damage. Township officials say the park is closed as it is a dangerous and volatile area. The general public is not permitted on the beach.