This week, Huron County Road Commission has restored access to the Oak Beach County Park Boat Ramp. This puts closure on an issue that infuriated locals back in August of last year when the Huron County Road Commission unilaterally closed the ramp and set up concrete barriers on the shoreline.
While the ramp was not heavily used, residents did utilize it for the jet skis, sailboats, and small watercraft. Residents organized and a Facebook Group was created called Oak Beach Boat Launch Supporters. The group grew to almost 300 members.
Initially, the County was unsure of who exactly was responsible for the site. However, the Oak Beach Ramp Supporters kept up the pressure and attended just about every public hearing that Huron County held during the winter.
Oak Beach Ramp Restored
The perseverance worked. A few days ago, heavy equipment showed up at the park and took away the barriers. Large gravel (rip rap) was dumped and smoothed at the end of the ramp are into the water. The sand was landscaped, and large rocks were moved along the sides to protect the restored ramp. It looks great.
History of What Happened
In July of 2020, the county has placed huge concrete barriers at the end of Oak Beach Road. A historical lake access boat ramp. This ramp and access point have been in existence for over 50 years. While neglected and mostly forgotten, the paved road that went right into the beach still served to get small boats out on the water for fishing and sailing. It was also an exit of last resort for small craft during a storm. It was the only public access point between Port Austin and Caseville.
High lake water and erosion had overtaken the boat launch area. Late in 2019, the metal grating, long since buried and deteriorated, was removed. This grate assisted small trailers in getting jet skis and small fishing boats into the water. Rock and boulders, placed to prevent erosion, have encroached on the launch area. Nature has taken over, forcing more cement and steel rods to appear on the surface.
After some initial protests and graffiti, a group formed Oak Beach Boat Launch Supporters, to petition the county to remove the barriers and improve the boat ramp.