Torch Lake

Courtesty of Theresa Schurman

This week on Points North, a hunter was shot and killed by another hunter on opening day of deer hunting season last fall. It was ruled an accident, but it became apparent there was more to the story. Plus, the bond between a hunter and his dog.


Courtesty of Theresa Schurman

Last year, two people were shot and killed in Michigan while deer hunting. One of the victims, Justin Beutel, was hunting on family property near Torch Lake. 

It was Nov. 15, opening day of firearm deer hunting season, when another hunter shot Beutel from about 50 yards away. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigated the case. 

“We would classify it as an accident at this point,” says Lt. Jim Gorno, a DNR conservation officer.

The investigation into a deer hunter’s death is wrapping up. Justin Beutel was shot and killed near Torch Lake by another hunter on opening day. 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials say they still can't offer many details about the incident, but evidence points toward a hunting accident. They believe the other hunter mistook Beutel for a deer. Lietenant Jim Gorno, a DNR conservation officer, says Beutel was a relative of the property owner.

U.S. Coast Guard

Torch Lake in Antrim County is often the site of huge Fourth of July parties. But not this year.

In the past, the parties have attracted as many as 10,000 people who play loud music and tend to leave a pile of trash. But this year, the crowds were smaller and more law enforcement officers were on patrol.

“One thing that helped a lot this year is Fourth of July was on a Wednesday,” said Joe Clark, marine deputy for the Antrim County Sheriff’s office. “So there wasn’t as many people on the sandbar as there’s been in the past.”

Kathy Partin

Four hundred acres just north of Traverse City will be protected for recreational use, with new trails to hike and bike, with the help of a grant issued by the state.

Each year, the Natural Resources Trust Fund gives out millions of dollars to selected local governments to fund some of the largest conservation projects in the state.

The 400-acre parcel will be purchased by Milton Township, with the help of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. It was formerly the site of Camp Maplehurst, with views of Torch Lake, Elk Lake, and Grand Traverse Bay.

Reese Lassman

You probably remember the photos from last year’s Sandbar Bash and the stories: 10,000 people on the lake, trash in the water, higher E. coli levels, underage drinking, trespassing and loud music.

"It was really, really obtrusive and obnoxious last year," says Sue Kelly. "I was out on my patio vibrating. We have not had that this year."

U.S. COAST GUARD AIR STATION TRAVERSE CITY

It will be harder to throw a huge party on the Torch Lake sandbar in the future. Last Fourth of July, the Sandbar Bash drew around 10,000 people. That party prompted a lawsuit from the Torch Lake Protection Alliance, a group working to preserve the lake.

Yesterday, Judge George J. Mertz of Kalkaska Circuit Court ruled in favor of the TLPA's lawsuit which said the Sandbar Bash violated safety, environmental and zoning laws. 

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

Ten thousand people partied on Torch Lake over July 4th weekend this year. The sandbar on the lake has become one of northern Michigan's prime summer party destinations.

But many neighbors on the lake are upset about the trash, the trespassing and the noise.

State Representative Triston Cole (R-105th District) put together a roundtable on the issue last week, seeking a solution.

"This is a public body of water," Rep. Cole says, "and people have a right to have a great time and enjoy places like the sandbar on Torch Lake."