High winds have destabilized the mammoth ice formations on Leelanau Peninsula’s western shoreline to the extent that Leelanau County officials have deemed the area unsafe.
“The winds have moved the ice, and we have open water within feet of the caves,” says Tom Skowronski, of Leelanau County’s office of emergency management. “There are now large cracks in the arches and they are expected to start collapsing soon.”
The caves—some of which exceed 15 feet in height—have become a haven for the thousands of adventurous Northern Michiganders who took to exploring the beaches during the sunny, mild-tempered weekend. Yet the recent high winds—and correspondingly greater water currents on Lake Michigan—have caused some of the surface ice to break away, exposing frigid water near the caves. Likewise, the winds and currents jeopardize the structural soundness of the cave formations. Says Skowronski, “The melting and ice shifts have rendered the area unsafe; please do not enter onto the ice.”