Man Convicted on Federal Charges for Diverting River, But It’s Just What Rescue Boats Needed

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A Michigan man has been convicted in federal court of illegally diverting a river with a simple shovel and some rocks.

Andrew Blair Howard was arrested after he built a small dam out of rocks in August of 2022. The man’s digging caused a change in the flow of the Platte River near Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Howard was convicted this month on charges of tampering and vandalism at the state park, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Michigan.

It appears that the 63-year-old man had dug a channel by hand to cut through a section of sand that had built up along the Platte Point shoreline which was making access to and from Platte Bay almost impossible for boats, according to

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This blockage of sand had been building up for years because in 2017 park managers had stopped the nearly 50-year practice of dredging the mouth of the river, MLive reported. Beachgoers loved the new, sandy area, but boaters most assuredly did not, especially those engaged in the annual coho salmon fishing run.

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