Tonka Trucks

Klunk klang thud kathump. I was sitting down on the beach yesterday afternoon and there was all manner of racket coming from the rock peninsula at the eastern end of the beach. A half mile away! Sound does carry across water. I know that. I knew that the new neighbors were planning to clear another lot. I’m not happy about it but there’s nothing I can do. At first I figured they were knocking down trees. That would be bad enough but then I was thunderstruck with horror! What if they were moving rocks around over past the bend where I couldn’t see them? I have been walking those rocks all my life. They don’t change much over the years and I actually recognize a lot of individual rocks.

This morning when I went for my walk, they were at it again. Bang! Ka-thud klunk klang. I tried to ignore it. As I neared the end of the beach, to my utter horror, a big yellow arm came out of the woods. It was attached to a big yellow bulldozer that clambered down over the boulders and into the lake! I knew that it was right next to one of the old sunken rock cribs my dad used to show me when I was a little kid. I think he used to tell me some of the history of the beach too but I’m not sure I retained much of that. If I have it anywhere near right, this area was logged over in the 1800s and maybe the old rock cribs were related to hauling lumber out by boat.

The yellow bulldozer swung its scooper around for about 10 minutes. I wasn’t sure if it was scooping up rocks or sand or what. I stood at the end of the sand beach watching and taking pictures with my phone. I was chicken about approaching them and asking them what they were doing. I know that it is illegal to move stuff around in the water without a permit but I haven’t been terribly impressed with the DNR’s response to such violations. What were they doing? Did they have a permit? Did they KNOW that there was a 150-year-old dock under the water in front of their land? Did they CARE?

The bulldozer retreated back up the rocks and into the woods newly cleared lot. Lizard and I embarked on a little spy expotition down the beach and along the rock peninsula to Round Island Point and back. I couldn’t tell from land whether the dock had been disturbed or not. My best guess is that the boys with the bulldozer were just taking it on a little celebratory turn in the water after blasting a big path through the woods down to the water. Boys and a Tonka Truck. I could speculate on how many trees died for the cause of a nice wide path but what good would it do? In my few face-to-face encounters with these people they seem nice enough. They’re just incredibly clueless. Trees? Just knock ’em down. We’ll put in a nice lawn here instead. I think a lawn is out of place here on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. I’d rather have wild blueberry bushes. But who am I? And new trees will replace at least some of the ones they ripped out. An ancient rock crib-style dock is irreplaceable.

3 Responses to “Tonka Trucks”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Yikes–people like that make me sad and frustrated. They have no respect for nature or the past.

  2. Jay Says:

    Maybe a call to Little Traverse Conservancy to ask what would be a good step to take?
    It makes me sick! They should follow the rules since they are benefiting by being surrounded by conservancy land

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