NorthShore Marina Trench 1600’ Long, 200’ Wide, 18’ deep

Sand Dune Mining of 200,000 Tons

Endangering Navigation


Disregard for Local Zoning

Illegal Sand Mining

Ignoring State Law

Disrespecting the Cultural Landscape

Loss of Interdunal Wetlands


Interdunal Wetlands

Legacy of Senator Patricia Birkholz

Community Investments in our Historic River Mouth Neighborhood

Singapore and Pottawatomie Archaeological Site

Safe Navigation


The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance is a coalition of individuals and organizations working cooperatively to protect and preserve the natural geography, historical heritage, and rural character of the Saugatuck Dunes coastal region in the Kalamazoo River Watershed, beginning with the Saugatuck Dunes.


singapore development saugatuck dunes

alternative proposal for marina

Feasible and prudent alternative to marina. Click to enlarge.

boat party cove saugatuck

Boats in the Basin of Kalamazoo River

The Saugatuck Dunes and Kalamazoo River mouth

What’s Proposed

North Shore of Saugatuck, owned by Jeff Padnos, working with Scott and Brian Bosgraaf of Cottage Home, and their lawyer, Carl J. Gabrielse, have proposed a marina development in Saugatuck’s Historic River Mouth Neighborhood.

They have requested permits for a 1600’ long, 200’ wide, 18’ deep trench through the buried Village of Singapore and a historic Pottawatomie site surrounded by publicly-funded natural areas that are home to globally-imperiled interdunal wetlands.

NorthShore of Saugatuck has already illegally filled a 1000 square foot globally-imperiled interdunal wetland.

They want to add 50 large yachts (up to 120’ long) – local zoning allows 18 slips—at one of most congested and narrow points at the river mouth.

They have requested permits to remove more than 200,000 tons of sand – equal to 20,000 dump trucks, or a football field 90 feet tall, within Michigan’s Critical Dune Boundary.

They want to build a wall of well-lit houses destroying the viewshed from Saugatuck Dunes State Park, Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, and the entrance to Saugatuck’s historic harbor – violating community values articulated in our Master Plan and diminishing our $20 million investment in adjacent properties.

They have tried to silence local opposition through lawsuits.

What’s At Stake

For sixty years our local community has been working to protect the unique resources that drew us here and will keep us here. View a PDF of The Sixty-Year Effort to Expand Saugatuck Dunes State Park.


The buried village of Singapore
Pre-historic artifacts
Historic Pottawatomi site
The 100-year-old Ox-Bow School of Art


Historic Pottawatomi Village

The lake sturgeon, or Nme in Pottawatomi, is a culturally significant species that is held in high regard as a clan animal. The resilience and rehabilitation of this species is an indicator of the resilience and resurgence of the Pottawatomi people of the area, who have also faced many adversities just like the sturgeon. The Gun Lake Tribe has, and will continue to, invest significant time and resources into the rehabilitation of the species in the Kalamazoo River.


One of Lake Michigan’s last remaining navigable darkened river mouths
Oval Beach
Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Tallmadge Woods
Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area
The Basin


This is the place that holds our stories, as well as the ashes of loved ones.
This landscape has inspired artists for more than one hundred years.
The iconic viewsheds from Crow’s Nest, Saugatuck Dunes State Park, Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, Oval Beach, the channel, beach


Lake Sturgeon
Prairie Warbler
Blanchards Cricket Frog
Pitcher’s Thistle
Piping Plover
Globally-imperiled Interdunal Wetlands


Ox-Bow School of Art
Important Viewsheds that have inspired artists for the past 100 years.
Over 1,500 students have done field work in the Saugatuck Dunes.
There are nearly a dozen dissertations/thesis specific to the Saugatuck Dunes.

Together these 6 vital Great Lakes resources act as the pistons driving our $265 million a year tourist-based economic engine.

These are the resources that drew us here and will keep us here.

Together we will protect our community values, our resources, and enforce our local zoning laws.

Your support will help us protect why we live and own businesses here, raise our families here, and why visitors flock here.



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Town Hall

Tuesday, November 30th
6:30 – 8:00 PM
Saugatuck High School Library

  1. Saugatuck Township must enforce our locally determined zoning. Section 40-910(h) clearly states, “IN NO EVENT shall a canal or channel be excavated to increase the water frontage.”
  2. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, Energy (EGLE) must enforce our state laws that prohibit draining globally imperiled interdunal wetlands. NorthShore’s proposed construction method could lower the wetlands at the State Park by more than ten feet.
  3. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, Energy (EGLE) must enforce our state laws that prohibit sand dune mining within Michigan’s critical dune boundary. […]


With over one million visitors each year, it makes sound economic sense to protect and preserve what attracts visitors to the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal region in the first place. Throughout the last hundred years, much of that attraction has been our unique natural heritage: the dynamic splendor of Lake Michigan, our beautiful beaches, the Saugatuck Dunes, the tranquil woods, and running through the middle of it all—creating stunning vistas of land and water from every angle—the Kalamazoo River flows through the Harbor and out into the Lake. To be here is to be a part of two worlds: one on land and one on water.

The Saugatuck Dunes Artists Respond to a Freshwater Landscape

All proceeds from sales of this book will support the work of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, dedicated to protecting and preserving the character of this rare landscape.

Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck
Kalamazoo river channel Saugatuck

See our gallery here with more spectacular imagery of the Saugatuck dunes and lakeshore.

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