NEWAYGO, Mich. (WOOD) — A new task force will be patrolling the Muskegon River in Newaygo County to cut down on those who break the law.
Police said there are issues on the river during the busy summer season with trespassing, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and littering.
Wisner Rents Canoes along the Muskegon River has been in business for 45 years. The shop offers canoe, kayak and tube rentals to rivergoers.
This year, the company is one of the many landowners joining the Muskegon River Association. The association has started a river watch program to make sure people having fun on the river stay out of trouble.
“They’ll be watching all along the river all the way up and down it,” said Rachel Wisner, with Wisner Rents Canoes. “If you don’t see a deputy or a patrol person, you actually may be being watched, make sure you’re good, safe and legal.”
Wisner said more signs will be posted along the river in addition to the boat patrols.
As for the rental shop, they will be checking their customers’ coolers, and for the first time, they’re banning jello shot containers from going out on the water.
Wisner said she’s supportive of the extra enforcement, and it shouldn’t scare away customers.
“If it does, that’s okay, because that leaves more room for people who don’t really have to worry about it because they’re out there to have a safe time and have a good time,” Wisner said. “If they don’t want to come and enjoy that, that’s okay.”
Some Michigan rivers, like the Pine and Pere Marquette Rivers, have tighter restrictions and require a permit to get on the water.
Wisner said she doesn’t want to see tighter restrictions on the Muskegon because the extra paperwork and time could hurt business.
She also said she hopes the extra police and neighbors helping out will be enough to curb the issues on the river.
The Department of Natural Resources told 24 Hour News 8 the Pine and Pere Marquette Rivers require permits because they’re on federal land and there’s no plan for any tighter restrictions on the Muskegon River.
The DNR office in Lansing said they’re hoping the extra enforcement on the Muskegon River will help with the ongoing safety concerns.