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Great Lakes Article:

Aqua Grand Mackinaw Inn recognized for beach preservation efforts
Cheboygan Daily Tribune
Published December 24th, 2004

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (AP) -- The Aqua Grand Mackinaw Inn is being recognized for its efforts to protect the shoreline along Lake Huron.

In recent years, Great Lakes water levels dropped significantly and left the beaches along many hotel waterfronts looking more grassy than sandy.

The Aqua Grand Mackinaw Inn decided to protect both the environment and the quality of the beach for its guests by installing a wooden boardwalk through the natural vegetation, the Cheboygan Daily Tribune reported recently.

"When I arrived in Mackinaw City in 1984, the water was up to those trees," manager Gary Chippi told the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, pointing to a stand of trees well upland from the high water mark.

Low water levels have allowed lake bottoms to be exposed and natural coastal vegetation to grow. At the Aqua Grand Mackinaw Inn, the sandy beach is split by grassy vegetation, said manager Roseann Chippi.

"It's two-fold," she said. "Some people totally understand that we can't clean up the beach, yet others think it should be all sand.

"There's still beach on the other side of the grass," she added. "We've kept it natural so guests can still enjoy the waterfront."

The Chippis typically have a row of beach chairs in the sandy area before the grassy area near the boardwalk. Roseann Chippi said she hasn't had any guests complain, but they still hear comments from both sides of the issue.

"Sometimes, if people are adverse to it they won't let you know," she said.

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