MUSKEGON, Mich. — The only shade trees growing in the sand at Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon are expected to come down to make room for a new parking lot.
Residents say there has to be another way to solve the problem regarding parking while also keeping the trees. The parking lot would expand Beach Street, and extend out to add roughly 100-150 additional spots.
“I was totally shocked they’re going to cut these down," Muskegon resident Darlene DeHudy said. "These trees have been there for over 40 years. They’ve survived all these beach conditions."
When elementary schooler Claire Winkelman got wind the trees were supposed to come down, she got to writing.
Her letter to the city reads as follows:
"I'm very concerned the beach and trees won't be here when I'm older. Think about it: would you rather have the beautiful beach we have now, or more cars and asphalt? It's natural beauty vs a sea of asphalt. Only you can choose. Plus, the trees provide oxygen and shade. Even if you did plant new trees, they would take a long time to grow. And when they do, putting your chair by hot asphalt doesn't sound like a relaxing day at the beach."
Claire says it's about more than how the beach looks now, but how it will look when she grows up.
“We don’t want asphalt all over the beaches for the future children, for my generation,” Claire said.