Pigeon River

A series of elk poachings have made the past few months some of the worst in recent memory for Michigan's elk herd.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Last month, three more elk were poached in the Pigeon River State Forest.

It was the latest in a series of elk poaching that has made the past few months some of the worst in recent memory for Michigan’s elk herd.

Bob Allen

Years after a 2008 dam failure caused a major fish kill along a Blue Ribbon trout stream near Vanderbilt, the dam will be removed. The state has settled its lawsuit with the property owner, Golden Lotus. The group runs a yoga retreat called Song of the Morning Ranch, along the Pigeon River.

Golden Lotus has agreed to remove the dam, which will also remove a pond on the property and restoring a cold-water river habitat for fish.

Fisheries Specialist David Borgeson, with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, says the draw down of the pond will begin this spring.

The Michigan Court of Appeals has refused to hear arguments against removing the Golden Lotus Dam near Vanderbilt. That puts the case of the Pigeon River dam back in the hands of a circuit court that has already found the entire dam must be removed..

Nature Lovers at Odds Over Dam

Oct 28, 2011

A small but notorious dam on one of Michigan's prettiest trout streams might soon come down. And when it does anglers expect to see a dramatic difference in the Pigeon River.

But what fishermen value about the river is at odds with how the owners of the dam view it.

Failure to Operate
Owners at Golden Lotus yoga retreat have twice made big mistakes operating their dam over the last quarter century. And each time muck from the pond behind the dam surged downstream smothering river life, killing tens of thousands of trout.

The owners of a yoga retreat near Vanderbilt are asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to take their case in a dispute over removing the failed Golden Lotus dam on the Pigeon River.

The dam failed three years ago, releasing muck from a pond that smothered thousands of trout and other aquatic life downstream.

Last year, the state and the owners of Golden Lotus agreed to remove the main parts of the dam. But they also agreed to leave a concrete pad on the bottom of the river that supports a bridge crossing to the Song of the Morning yoga retreat.

A contentious legal battle over a dam on the Pigeon River will drag on.

The dam failed twice in the last few decades and killed hundreds of thousands of trout in the Pigeon River near Vanderbilt.

After lengthy negotiations, the state was set to allow Golden Lotus Yoga Retreat to remove the main part of the dam so no future failures could occur. But a judge has now sided with angler groups and ruled the entire Golden Lotus Dam must be removed. And a lengthy court battle is now likely.

Agreement over how to remove a dam on the Pigeon River is breaking down. Failure of the dam at the Golden Lotus yoga retreat center three years ago is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of trout for twenty-five miles downstream. A lawsuit resulted in a settlement and a court order to remove the dam. But now the group Trout Unlimited charges that Golden Lotus isn't following the order.

Fly Fishers Involved

Yoga Retreat Glad To Take Down Pigeon River Dam

Apr 8, 2010

A hydroelectric dam operating on the Pigeon River will come down, thanks to a court settlement announced yesterday. The state and Michigan Trout Unlimited sued to have it removed after the dam released sediment, which killed fish in the Blue Ribbon trout stream.

They describe it as a very large fish kill, not at all common.

Pigeon River Dam To Come Down

Apr 6, 2010

North of Gaylord, near Vanderbilt, a "Blue Ribbon" trout stream is recovering from the faulty operation of a dam which colored a stretch of the river black, back in 2008, and Pigeon River fishermen are celebrating a court settlement that'll remove the dam and restore the river to its natural flow.