Emmet County board OKs increase in Crooked River Lock’s daily pass charge

EMMET COUNTY — The Emmet County Board of Commissioners approved raising the daily pass rate from $10 to $15 for the Crooked River Lock during their meeting on Thursday.

The Crooked River Lock in Alanson is operated in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Emmet County Parks and Recreation Department. The Army Corps of Engineers owns the lock and leases the facility to the DNR, while Emmet County operates the lock with a sub-lease through the DNR.

The lock is part of the 36-mile Inland Waterway beginning at Lake Huron. An estimated 10,000 lockages are performed annually through the lock, which results in passage for up to 40,000 recreational boat passengers during the spring to fall season.

“The last few years we’ve had a struggle of trying to balance that budget out,” said county administrator David Boyer. “Obviously last year was a challenge because we were closed for almost a month with mechanical problems.”

More: Crooked River Lock in Alanson to remain closed for fall

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Last year, the lock suffered a temporary malfunction on July 4, but Army Corps technicians were able to return it to full operation within 24 hours. An electrical malfunction then occurred on Aug. 24, and the lock was closed for the remainder of the 2023 season while engineers waited for replacement parts and performed maintenance.

The lock is set to reopen for the spring boating season on April 29.

According to agenda documents, the lock has seen a steady decline of ticket sales over the past few years. Coupled with the increased cost of seasonal employees, the Crooked River Lock budget is operating in a deficit.

“What we’ve looked and talked to the Parks and Recreation Board about is trying to close that gap up,” Boyer said.

The Parks and Recreation Board recommended increasing the daily pass rate from $10 to $15. The annual pass will stay the same at $45.

The board unanimously approved the recommendation.

— Contact Jillian Fellows at [email protected].  

This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Emmet County raises daily rate for Crooked River Lock

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