It's a shame that our city leaders are so detached from reality that they don't realize how important it is for a city-ran park with a campground therein to preserve its natural character.  One visitor to the Cartier Park Campground named "Paula" took some time to upload some pictures she took at the park and relate her overall experience just a year ago.  There's a general theme to the pictures:

Instead, our city leaders try to paint a false narrative in order to shoot themselves in the foot.  Consider this year's deer cull.   On p, 1 of this FOIA packet we see Ordinance 494-22, passed in late 2022, where the council originally approved a three-year deer cull, and later cancelled the first year when enough pressure was applied, and common sense eventually won.  When the council voted 6-1 to restart this contract's continuance in year 2 (2024) of the contract, the agreement remained unchanged, and here is the relevant part for this article's analysis:

It says APHIS WS would kill "deer in areas with high numbers of complaint and damage" in Ludington.  This same language is expressed in the Cooperative Service Agreement between the city and APHIS WS (seen in p. 2 of the packet):

Same exact language.  And in both years of trying to get the deer cull implemented, Cartier Park has been the only city-owned location where the cull was supposed to take place.   And this year, in opposition to the objections of most in the community, and in defiance of injunctive lawsuits, it took place there on March 12th and 19th.  Reportedly it took the lives of 21 deer on March 12th in the 80 acres of Cartier Park.  

One can wonder how they managed to shoot 21 deer in an area that is 1/8 of a square mile in a couple hours of shooting from a noisy ATV after this reporter wandered the area stealthily for two hours prior and saw no deer, but let's take their numbers as gospel, even though the transparency of every part of the process has been opaque as dirt.  Let's say they shot 21 deer at Cartier Park on March 12th, because we trust these contracted killers to be men of their word.

The language in the ordinance and contract is explicit enough:  deer are to be killed in "areas with high numbers of complaints and damage".  This is suggestive in saying that Cartier Park, the only City-owned property considered for culling at council either of the first two years, had high numbers of complaints and damage.  This can be easily affirmed or refuted by using a FOIA request, and so I sent one to the city manager after the first cull was in the books.  

I asked for three things:  "1) documented complaints by Cartier Park users or its campground users involving deer activities or presence at the park proper (not the cemetery or other city or private properties) filed since the beginning of 2022?  And for that same time include 2) any documented environmental/ecological damage believed to have been caused by deer in the area of Cartier Park and 3) incident reports of any car/deer accidents that occurred directly adjacent to Cartier Park (not the cemetery) on Slagle, Rath, Bryant, or M-116 roadways."

I awaited the deluge of complaints about deer in Cartier Park, braced myself for the many reports of environmental damage, and hoped they wouldn't charge me for a voluminous amount of car/deer accidents.  But what I got was this: 

Apparently, a high number of complaints is zero, a high amount of environmental damage is none, and a high number of property-damaging car/deer accidents is an empty set.  We have been told many lies throughout these two years, many coming from the mouth of our current mayor, but the big lie all along is that the deer cull would take place in a city area where deer are just causing so much damage that they can't even document it-- and complaints are so incredible that they never were made in the first place.   

The deer at Cartier Park fill an ecological niche, they fill an emotional niche to those who walk through the park and wonder at seeing them in their natural habitat, and they make our visitors who choose Cartier Park as their vacation destination come back again.  Why would the people running our city ever mischaracterize the deer at Cartier Park as anything but an asset, then foolishly spend $20K to eliminate this valuable resource?

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Vengeance is mine saith the LORD!

They didn't get em all! I seen 4 in town just this morning!

It was a very pleasant site. I prayed the Blood of Jesus over them! Their here to stay!

City leaders have been told often enough that deer are nomadic critters, ranging around our area and whereas a deer cull may seem successful because you have a head count to hang your bloodied butcher coat on, it doesn't solve the issue of deer overpopulation (real or imagined) nearly as much than the 4000 deer taken throughout the county and hundreds of thousands taken statewide through hunting.

The deer cull, which has reportedly been suspended for the year, only showed one thing, that the government is willing to bend all the rules in its favor and resort so easily to violence in order to solve a problem it never defined well.  Two things, sorry.

Excellent post X, presenting an important side to this story. People who enjoy the park for what it is.
I wonder how many kids woke up in the morning and saw deer down by the lake or rambling thru the park. They carry these memories with them forever. instead of an unnecessary and costly deer cull.

After writing this article yesterday, I noticed I received an 'amendment' to my original FOIA response from the COL.  They apparently found one car/deer accident from late October 2022 (after they approved the three year CSA with the USDA) shown here.  In the diagram below and in the narrative, you see/read that the deer was one of those "Epworth" deer trying to cross Lakeshore Drive/M-116.  One of the weird things I noticed in this report was this:  

Vehicle 1 was traveling northbound on N Lakeshore Dr. in front of Cartier Park when a deer ran into the front driver side of the vehicle 1.  It was reported the front driver side headlight was broken, and the front driver side door was unable to be opened. I did not investigate the accident on scene. I took the accident over the phone, and spoke with Mary Pung who was the mother of the driver. Submitted by J. Versluis #222

I think that if one of my daughters at 17 had gotten into a car accident, that I couldn't phone it in without the local police going on-scene and checking for more details.


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