Beach Erosion Crisis

Beach Status

Camp Arcadia’s beach is eroding faster than anticipated and our buildings could be in jeopardy. At the start of the summer we had about 50 feet of dry land between Lake Michigan and the front steps of the Inn. Today we have only  35 feet of dry land remaining in front of the Inn. We lost these 15 feet in three separate wave events in the last three weeks. Both of the slides and the merry-go-around were recently removed because the erosion made them unsafe.   In addition, we lost a few trees on our shoreline and the decks on the west side of the Assembly are being undercut.

There has been an increase in strong wave events this summer. As the lake erodes the beach, the lake becomes deeper near the shore, which increases the size of the waves and causes more erosion. While the lake level is only six inches above last year’s level, our existing seawalls and jetties are in worse shape, allowing more erosion.

This year, because of increased precipitation, the forecast is that lake levels will decrease less than they normally do. The fall and winter storms, which are much more damaging than the summer storms, could be disastrous.

Click here to see current pictures of the beach.


What action is being taken?

The bottomline is that we can’t wait, we must do something now to protect our buildings and our shoreline from further erosion.

The good news is that we have a beach protection plan that has been approved by the Lutheran Camp Association members. This plan involves a rock revetment, steel sheet pile, and two pocket beaches. To learn more about the plan click here.

The permit for this plan is being processed right now by the regulatory agencies, and we hope to receive it in the next few weeks. We will be working with our coastal engineering firm – SmithGroup JJR- to complete the construction drawings for the beach protection system and for soliciting contractors to bid on the project. We hope to install a rock revetment this fall in front of the buildings where protection is most needed. We would then finish the rest of the plan in the spring. We would postpone other elements of Stage One – Kitchen/Laundry, Caretaker’s shop, enclosure of the Inn’s North Stairs and the new patio- until the shoreline protection plan for the beach is completed.

How do we pay for it?

We will use gifts to the Spirit of Arcadia (SOA) Campaign, Camp’s savings, and financial loans.

We started the Spirit of Arcadia Campaign this past May and has pledges totaling $700,000 as of August 23, 2017. Chip and over 20 volunteers will continue to meet with Camp supporters to raise funds for SOA’s Stage One.  The LCA board is working on determining the amount of money from Camp’s savings that is available and any possible loan opportunities. The cost of the beach plan is projected to be around $1.7 – 2 million. We will get more accurate projections once the construction drawings are completed and a contractor has been selected.

What can you do?

We encourage all to stay engaged. This is an important and crucial time in Camp’s history. We will need the support of all of the Camp Arcadia community to preserve Camp for future generations. We will be sending out timely updates in the coming weeks and months. If you would like to talk with Chip about financially supporting the SOA Campaign, please contact him by email at or by phone (231) 889-4361. Finally, we ask that you keep Camp Arcadia in your prayers.

2 Responses

  1. Have so many fond memories of being at Arcadia in about 1942, as a sixteen year old Walter Leaguer from St. John’s Church in Adrian, MI. Met and made lifelong friends, although most of them are ‘camping with the Lord’ now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share the Post:

Related Posts