Michigan man convicted of tampering and vandalism at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Andrew Blair Howard, a 63-year-old man from Frankfort, Mich., was convicted of tampering and vandalism in relation to an August 2022 incident at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Both are federal misdemeanors.

“The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a Michigan jewel,” said Mark Totten, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

“Every year countless visitors enjoy its pristine waters, towering sand dunes, and rolling forests. 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. His actions resulted in significant financial and ecological harm and altered the landscape so many enjoyed. Today and always my office commits to protect Michigan’s natural treasures.”

The Platte River flows through the lakeshore before emptying into Lake Michigan. However, in August of 2022, there was a diversion created by Howard in order to divert the water into Lake Michigan before it naturally would reach it.

He created the diversion this by shoveling the sand in order to create an artificial path and used rocks to create a dam to prevent the water from flowing on its natural course. This allowed for unauthorized boats to enter Platte Bay and within three days, the opening grew to 200 feet wide because of the water flowing from the lake.

He was convicted on one count of tampering and one count of vandalism by federal Magistrate Judge Ray Kent.

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