‘Draining’ of Pitcher Lake alarms campground owner

Published 11:18 pm Thursday, May 5, 2011

CASSOPOLIS — Bill Gibson’s “situation” at Pitcher Lake is hurting his campground, he complained to the Cass County Board of Commissioners Thursday night. Gibson appealed to the county board as a court of last resort after lodging similar complaints with Wayne Township, county Water Resources Commissioner Bruce Campbell and the state.

“We’ve had a small RV campground on that lake (along the Van Buren County line) for some 40 years,” said Gibson, whose parents purchased the property in 1967.

“There’s been a restriction in the county drain in that lake all the time since my parents bought the property,” advised Gibson, who was accompanied by his wife. “On the north side of the property, my daughter and son-in-law have a building. They went to the township board to ask for permission to do work on farm vehicles. Wayne Township gave them approval, but the man on neighboring property to theirs that is landlocked did not want that to happen, so he took a backhoe and dug out the county drain and knocked the restriction out. Thus, we have no water, basically. Bruce has been there. He knows. I’ve talked to Bruce two or three times. I’ve asked the state. I can get no help with this situation. This started a year ago, in April. That’s how long I’ve been dealing with this. Nobody seems to want to do anything. I think Bruce has done everything he can to help us along on this, but he’s worried about what his rights are. We understand that. Something needs to be done to help us.”

“We’ve got the campground there that we’ve had for years, but no water up to the piers so people can get their boats out,” Gibson said. “We’re shy of water some 30 inches right now and you know how much rain we’ve had. There are two other lakes west of us across Green Lake Road. There’s a tube that runs under the road. That tube has now been closed off. My first thought was that debris floating up closed it off, but Monday I walked back up there and someone has taken sticks, mud and even some glass on top and closed that drain off completely. I totally understand them wanting to save their water, but we need some help getting something back in this county drain so we can catch some of this water and get our level back up to where it’s been for fortysomething years. I don’t know why someone can go and do something malicious like this just because they don’t want someone else to do something. It worked. Getting rid of the water hurts us — and in this economy we don’t need to be hurt. We need some help. I’m begging for help.”

Chair Minnie Warren, D-Pokagon Township, took his input under consideration, saying, “I don’t know what kind of answers we can get you, but we’ll try to get you some.”