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Beach “In the tranquil landscape and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
James CookPhoto by Erin Wilkinson

The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal region has been blessed with some of the finest beaches anywhere in the world. Condé Nast Traveler, MTV, National Geographic Traveler, and The Chicago Tribune have all ranked Oval Beach as one the best around. With the addition of the adjacent 171-acre Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, visitors and residents alike can now enjoy beach-combing, swimming, walking, birding, surfing, building sand castles, watching sunsets, or simply being on an astounding 3,650 linear feet of completely undeveloped Lake Michigan beach!

The Saugatuck Dunes State Park and the Saugatuck Dunes Natural Area feature over two and a half miles of almost completely undeveloped sandy beach. Unique amongst the vast majority of public open space areas on Lake Michigan, the Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers a singular experience of solace and solitude without the rattle and hum of cars and parking lots near the beach. When it comes to the State Park, the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance heartily endorses the motto: “Keep it wild, keep it whole, make it grow.”

The most significant threat to the beaches in the Saugatuck Dunes coastal region today remains the specter of multiple mansions or even condominiums lining the beach on the North McClendon property from the pier north to the border of the State Park. Development along Lake Michigan in the middle of two natural areas would introduce light and noise pollution along with the potential for new roads fragmenting healthy habitat. In addition, development along the beach north of the pier would have a negative impact on the following migratory birds: threatened Common Terns, threatened Forster’s Terns, plovers, and sandpipers.

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