Frankfort man convicted for diverting Platte River
A federal court has convicted a Frankfort man for illegally diverting the Platte River at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Andrew Blair Howard, 63, was found guilty of tampering and vandalism, which are federal misdemeanors.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office,Howard used a shovel to dig a trench at the mouth of the Platte and stacked rocks to divert the river's flow.
Within days of the August 2022 incident, the original channel of the Platte stagnated, and a new 200-foot-wide channel appeared.
"Mr. Howard had a policy dispute with the National Park Service and took matters into his own hands, breaking the law rather than using lawful means to advocate for his position," U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said in a statement.
In his ruling, federal Magistrate Judge Ray Kent said Howard, "intended to and in fact did divert the flow of the Platte River."
The National Park Service has been working for several years to undo the impacts of historical dredging at Platte Point. The NPS has not yet publicly announced plans to restore the river channel, following the incident.