‘You could smell the lake.” Muskegon Lake’s incredible transformation from industry to blue economy
MUSKEGON, MI — Muskegon Lake was once crowded with industry, belching black smoke and stink into the air.
The lake had been abused for more than a century, starting with the lumber mills that dumped sawdust and lumber debris in the lake, followed by foundries and heavy industry that dumped pollutants and fill as government officials turned their heads.
After decades of cleaning industrial pollution at a cost of $80 million, Muskegon now has a “blue economy.”
“This lake has come such a long way,” said Kathy Evans, who as a program manager with the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission applied for many of the grants that funded the lake’s cleanup. “You could smell the lake and see the smoke before you could get anywhere near the shoreline if you were a local resident or a visitor.”
Evans now works for the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership.
“People in Muskegon should be very proud of the achievement here because it takes so much time and energy just to stay focused and persevere with a large scale cleanup and restoration project like this,” Evans said. “And people in Muskegon stuck with it.”
Author: Cory Morse, MLive