Ban on eagle watching makes national news

Photo by Karen Salyer (taken before no stopping, no standing signs were erected)

Photo by Karen Salyer (taken before no stopping, no standing signs were erected)

The new signage making it illegal for residents to watch nesting American eagles on 12 Mile Road made national news, according to Neil Blakeslee, who last week took the Squire to task for publicizing the nest location.

Blakeslee said he was out of the state when his wife saw the nest on television on a CNN broadcast.

Oakfield Township Supervisor Greg Dean is convinced someone is going to get hurt on 12 Mile Road where crowds have gathered to watch a pair of eagles raising their two young. “It’s always the 10 percent that ruin it for the 90 percent,” he said. “It seems like it is always like that.”

Dean said disregard for no-parking signs, standing in the road, and leaving garbage have led him to ask the Kent County Road Commission to post “No Parking, No Standing” signs at the nesting site. Dean said people have been parking in the no-parking zone, parking on private property, leaving litter and cigarette butts behind and, most importantly, standing in the road, which has a 55 MPH speed limit. Dean said a small boy was almost struck by a car on Sunday, June 14, but was pulled from harm’s way by a bystander. He said the child’s parent yelled obscenities at the driver.

“I was out there all day Saturday [June 13],” he said. “A woman pulled up and

Photo by Karen Salyer (taken before no stopping, no standing signs were erected)
Photo by Karen Salyer (taken before no stopping, no standing signs were erected)


parked, and when I pointed out the no parking signs, she told me she was only going to be there a few minutes.”


Dean said he went so far as to cut trees along the roadside, trying to make more room for people to watch the eagles safely, but has given up. “I’m really upset. I didn’t want to make that decision, but someone is going to get hurt,” Dean said. He mentioned an earlier incident where a car was parked in the road in the no-parking zone. When he found the car’s owner and asked the man to leave, the man first checked to make sure his infant was still in the safety seat in the car.

The no-standing signs are enforceable by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and would likely result in a $100 ticket. If Dean issues a ticket, it will result in a $250 fine.

Dean said, “If these eagles nest here for the next four or five years, we will be dealing with this for four or five years. Safety has to be my first concern.”

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.