County Commissioner Kim Coonan, DNR official Mike Evanoff, Tom Anderson and Claire Anderson marvel at the clean water and expanse of beach at the Bay City State Recreation Area.
Cmon up! The 'swimmins' fine at Bay City State Recreation Area
Clean, Sandy 1200 Foot Long Beach Awaits Swimmers and Sunbathers
"C'mon up! The swimmin's fine!"
That's the word to local folks and tourists from down below from Mike Evanoff, regional unit supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Evanoff wants to show off 1,200 feet of clean, sandy beach awaiting swimmers and sunbathers at the Bay City State Recreation Area.
Bay County, the City of Bay City, the DNR, volunteers and companies like Bader Brothers, collaborated to spiff up the beach and now it's ready to show off, said Evanoff.
It's been decades since many swimmers enjoyed the beach at Bay City State Park, the officials pointed out, since muck and low water took over.
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Zebra mussels, once considered a threat to the Great Lakes, may be cleaning the water of algae and organisms, said Evanoff. Only a thin line of black remains along the waterline where once there was several feet of muck and slime.
Egrets and other waterfowl frolicked in the waters and news crews marveled at the conditions on the attractive stretch of beach.
Joining Evanoff Friday to check out the beach were two Bay County Commissioners, Kim Coonan and Ernie Krygier, who are heading a consortium to improve the beach for the public.Trails leading from the beach provide ready access to numerous fishing holes in the lagoon area at Bay City State Recreation Area for those not inclined to swim or sunbathe.
"This a great resource and we want more people to know about it," says Coonan. A bulldozer worked in the background as Coonan and Krygier talked with Evanoff about their plans.
"We are raising funds and getting grants for floating docks and a rubberized walkway out to the water for the handicapped, elderly and others," said Krygier.
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The Donald Pero Wildlife Fund, a county resource set up to honor the late Donald Pero, a wildlife enthusiast, may provide some of the funding for the floating docks, said Coonan.
Docks will start 50 feet ashore and will extend about 100 feet into the bay to allow swimmers and other visitors to enjoy the water, the commissioners said.
The current long, sandy beach is double the length of last year, when only about 575 feet was available. The DNR had to get permits from the Department of Environmental Quality, "just like private owners do," said Evanoff, adding: "They allowed us to extend the beach area by 625 feet. "Isn't it great!" he enthused.
Cottagers and homeowners along Killarney Beach are enjoying the new, clean, sandy conditions, too, and have hired their own crews to groom the beach.
"From the Memorial Day weekend on there will be hundreds of swimmers and boaters along here, enjoying the beach," said Coonan. "We look forward to a great summer, just like we used to have many years ago."
Evanoff recalled former State Park Director Bill Richter who often told of the year 1933 when he recorded over a million visitors to Bay City State Park, then a Midwest hotspot for tourists.
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