Tightened security at Grand Haven State Park

Grand Haven State Park
A sign reminds beachgoers that alcohol is not allowed at Grand Haven State Park. (July 4, 2017)


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) –- Grand Haven State Park increased security ahead of its annual Fourth of July fireworks on Tuesday, the day after a beach brawl shut down the park.

The fights Monday evening involved as many as 300 people, according to park officials, who also suspect that alcohol may have been involved.

grand haven state park
Michigan State Police on the beach at Grand Haven State Park after reports of a large number of people fighting. The park was shut down. (July 3, 2017)

On Tuesday, officials added even more security than normal. Extra rangers from other local parks, added Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and deputies from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office joined the staff patrolling the area.

“The added law enforcement allows us to put additional checkpoints along the parking areas and the pier to prevent that alcohol from coming into the park,” said Gary Jones, the district supervisor of the state park.

Jones said that things were going smoothly and everyone was complying with cooler and bag checks.

Beachgoers like Jordan Martsolf of Grandville said they noticed the increased patrol.

“I think grand haven’s got it under control today,” he told 24 Hour News 8.

Martsolf wasn’t alone in thinking everything was back to normal. Thousands of people filled the beach and parking lot.

Grand Haven State Park
Grand Haven State Park on July 4, 2017.

Jones told 24 Hour News 8 that there were a few other minor alcohol and drug-related medical incidents on Monday, so the move to bring in more outside help than usual seemed right.

“We need everyone to abide by the rules because they’re there for the safety of everyone,” Jones explained.

Alcohol is never permitted at Grand Haven State Park, but Jones plans to start planning for security to handle the increased holiday crowds sooner. He said that they’ll have post-holiday meetings with each agency to discuss staffing.

“If someone’s looking to come out, we ask them to come out and enjoy it ( the beach), just leave the alcohol at home,” Jones said.