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Park service seeking information on ‘illegal diversion’ of Platte River

Platte River (post-shift)
National Park Service
The Platte River now cuts through a sandbar after an "illegal diversion" that happened between Aug. 14-15.

The National Park Service is asking for the public’s help in determining who changed the flow of the Platte River at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Platte River used to drain into Lake Michigan parallel to a sandbar. Now, the river channel cuts right through the sandbar into the lake.

Scott Tucker is a superintendent with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He said investigators know this diversion was human-caused, but are still trying to determine what happened.

“We’re continuing our natural resource assessment, as well as our law enforcement piece to figure out the details and what the impacts are,” he said. 

Tucker said the National Park Service is taking tips from people who might have seen something at the mouth of the river on Aug. 14-15.

Information can be shared by text or call to the Park Service's anonymous tip line at 888-653-0009, or online.

Platte River (prior to shift)
Google Maps
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A satellite image shows the mouth of the Platte River, prior to the illegal diversion. The channel used to flow into the lake parallel to a sand bar.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corp Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She is covering rural environmental issues, public health and Michigan commerce. Homsi has a bachelor’s from Central Michigan University in environmental studies, journalism and anthropology. During her undergraduate, she was a beat reporter for CMU’s student newspaper Central Michigan Life and interned for the Huron Daily Tribune. She has also interned for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy in the superfund section. *Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms, more info at https://www.reportforamerica.org/