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Van Buren State Park to expand by 17 acres

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Michigan DNR officials say the Van Buren State Park will expand 17 acres under a lease agreement. (WWMT/DNR)

Van Buren State Park would expand 17 acres to include the Northpoint Conservation Area located in South Haven Township.

County officials said Jan. 12, 2021, that they approved a 25-year lease with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for the expansion.

The 17-acre parcel of land borders the northern boundary of the park and boasts significant natural, scenic, ecological, biological and recreational assets, DNR officials said in a written statement. About 340 feet of additional lakeshore would join the already existing mile of state park beach.

“We’re excited to formally connect both parcels of public land through this unique partnership with the DNR,” said Richard Godfrey, chair of the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners. “Because the DNR already manages the adjoining land, we determined that establishing common management would best ensure that the fragile, critical dune land is preserved and remains accessible to the public.”

While much would remain the same, DNR officials said visitors should expect to see new site signage, revised hours of operation, and more consistency among land use rules and the requirement for the Recreation Passport between both parcels. Parking along Ruggles Road would now require a Recreation Passport.

Day-to-day management would be the responsibility of the DNR.