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Bluff Road | Jane Boursaw Photo
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The Grand Traverse County Road Commission Board has denied an application to designate Bluff Road as a “Natural Beauty Road.” In a letter to Peninsula Township Supervisor Rob Manigold dated August 1, 2017, Road Commission Manager Jim Cook stated:

“Due to the residential development on both the waterside (with docks, landings, etc.) and high density of homes with a majority of non-native plantings along much of the road, the Board denied the petition to designated Bluff Road as a Natural Beauty Road. This determination coincides with written comments provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources via email.”

The idea of designating Bluff Road as a Natural Beauty Road came up during the Road Commission’s recent improvements to Bluff Road, when more than 300 trees were marked for removal just weeks before the road work was scheduled to begin (read more here). This prompted several Bluff Road residents, led by Jim Floraday, to organize and circulate a petition to designate the road as a Natural Beauty Road.

At a special meeting on March 30, the Peninsula Township Board passed a resolution to designate Bluff Road as a Natural Beauty Road; the resolution was then hand-delivered to the Road Commission by Township Supervisor Rob Manigold. The Road Commission Board held an informational meeting about Natural Beauty Roads at the Peninsula Township Hall on June 20, and a public hearing on July 18. Download a copy of the Road Commission’s Natural Beauty Road guidelines here.

Comments from Old Mission Peninsula residents at the public hearing were mixed, with many opposed to the idea of designating the road a Natural Beauty Road because of the possible increase in traffic. In a letter to the Township Board dated July 15, 2017, Bluff Road resident Cynthia Lattin wrote:

“I live on Bluff Road and have property extending to the water’s edge. I have small grandchildren who cross the road and I do not want to see more traffic on the road. So, I will vote NO for the Natural Beauty Road. We also have a lot of bike riders and walkers on this road, and I am one of them. That is sufficient! Let’s keep it a natural beauty unspoiled by noise and traffic.”


  1. Thanks, Jane, for the coverage. If the GT Road Commission now acknowledges that Bluff Road has a high density of homes, it should take the lead with the township and the state on reducing the speed limit from 55 to 35 or at least 45 mph between Blue Water and Boursaw Roads. Previous rejections of this request from residents have been based on the road commission’s view that not enough people live along the road. If the trees came down for safety, reducing the speed limit would be consistent. The speed limit on Peninsula Drive south of Bowers Harbor does not exceed 45 mph.


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