Protect Jean Klock Park

                   One of Michigan’s oldest public parks, donated by the Klock family as a memorial to their daughter, Jean


Copyright , 2008-2012, Protect JKP, all rights reserved

© Judith Jones, 2008-2012 all rights reserved

Text Box: “The deed of this park, in the Court House in St. Joseph, will live forever.  Perhaps some of you do not own a foot of ground; remember then that this is your park; it belongs to you.  Perhaps some of you have no piano or phonograph.  The roll of the water, murmuring in calm, roaring in storm, is your music, your piano and music box.   …   The beach is yours, the dunes are yours, all yours.  It is not so much a gift from my wife and myself as a gift from a little child.  See to it that the park is the children’s.”  

~ J. N. Klock,
 Park Dedication Ceremony, July 14, 1917 ~
Text Box: Contact us at:

 You may access documents directly on  Use search term “Protect JKP”   in quotes in the search box.  Edgewater Development Strategy from 1992. A golf course in JKP has been planned for 20 years.  Court filings for federal lawsuit are also on  See our last brief in our federal appeal, as well as the Complaint and our merits briefNew!  Parcel H Appraisal   and Mitigation Strategy drafted 2 years after public comment opportunity was closed.

Text Box: Gene klock, harbor shores, Gene clock, jean clock, environmental impact statement

JKP  photos  before the golf course



There were TWO, SEPARATE lawsuits filed to remove the golf course from Jean Klock Park.


The first was filed in state court.  It concerned the 1917 Klock deed.  That lawsuit has ended, because the last court of appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court, denied the plaintiffs’ leave to appeal in February, 2011.  That lawsuit has gone as far as it can go.

(SEE SAVE JEAN KLOCK PARK dot ORG for more information)


Another, separate lawsuit was filed in federal court.  The federal lawsuit concerns federal laws governing the conversion of Jean Klock Park and the larger Harbor Shores development.  That lawsuit is STILL ON APPEAL.  The federal district court dismissed the lawsuit, but we had a right to appeal that decision, and we did so.  Oral argument—a live, in-person court hearing—on the federal lawsuit was held Tuesday, October 11, 2011,  in Cincinnati.


On January 25, 2012, the Court ruled that the federal appeal was moot because the golf course was already built.  Appellants  then requested a review of the Appeals Court decision, which was denied April 9. 2012. 

Text Box: This website is maintained by Protect Jean Klock Park, a Michigan non-profit organized to support outreach concerning federal legal issues surrounding the gradual privatization of this 94-year-old public park.  Neither this website nor Protect Jean Klock Park (or Protect JKP) is part of the Friends of Jean Klock Park.   Each is a separate legal entity. Funds contributed to Protect JKP will be directed to legal costs for ongoing federal litigation concerning JKP and related activity.
 (State court litigation is concluded.)


January 26, 2012

In August, 2008, seven people sued the National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers because those agencies only superficially analyzed environmental impacts of building a golf course in the dunes and substituting contaminated land in exchange.  On January 25, 2012, the 6th Circuit Court ruled the claims were moot because the golf course was already built. 

Text Box: Objects pictured are (counter-clockwise):


Text Box: Right:  Mitigation Parcel G

Located at a bend in the Paw Paw River in Benton Harbor by an abandoned railroad spur and derelict housing.



Text Box: “Make a little birdhouse in your soul”
    ♪ They Might Be Giants  ♪
Text Box: Michigan State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)

     Commonly known as a SCORP, each state compiles a plan every five years outlining the state’s priorities for public outdoor recreation—where to spend scarce dollars on what the public wants.  In Michigan the most recent SCORP (2008) places natural resources conservation as the very top necessity, determined by the citizenry.  The golf course conversion in Jean Klock Park—swapping out the dunes—altering them and taking them out of the public recreation estate—and replacing that resource with ground level parcels, including inaccessible wetlands, does not comport with the 2008 SCORP.  

     States compile a SCORP  using Community Recreation Plans. The most recent Community Recreation Plan for Benton Harbor (1997) says this about JKP:
“[JKP] is more than a public access beach, however, including open and wooded dune areas and wetlands.  … [It] is the best park in Benton Harbor in terms of variety of facilities and scenic beauty.”

     The Sixth Circuit Court in its January 25, 2012, ruling grants the Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit standing to assert  claims or challenge the interpretation of the SCORP with respect to the golf course conversion in Jean Klock Park.  Does the trade of ground level, scattered parcels, including wetlands, for coastal dunes align with the 2008 SCORP?  The plaintiffs have standing to question that  swap.  However, the Sixth Circuit then ruled that the Plaintiffs claims are moot, because the golf course is already built and any damage to the dunes has been done, and the court incorrectly ruled that the replacement parks or parcels are nearly complete, which they are not.  The court also erred in stating that TRAILS were the replacement for the dunes, when in fact, PARCELS—unconnected—are the replacement.


Jean Klock Park is a 95-year-old public park, one of the oldest public parks in Michigan, predating the state park system.  John and Carrie Klock gave the land to the City of Benton Harbor in 1917 just after the United States’ entry into World War I and at the exact time that Steven Mather, the first head of the National Park Service, was working to establish the Indiana Dunes as a national park.  Preservation of the dunes and the natural landscape was important to the Klocks, and they asked in the letter which accompanied the gift of the deed that the park be maintained in its natural state.  In the mid-1970s when beach erosion was an all-too-common phenomenon on the eastern coast of Lake Michigan, and more and more lake frontage was being developed, the City applied for and received a grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to replace the original bath house, which had been constructed in the 1920s.  Along with the land underneath the bathhouse, the City designated the entire park—all of the Klock deed land ** and two smaller parcels which the city itself had acquired in the 1950s— to be covered by the protections afforded LWCF parks.  Those protections include a prohibition against privatization or using the land for commercial development without adequate, appropriate mitigation of any land removed from that designated for protection.  The mitigation for the acreage removed from Jean Klock Park for the golf course consists of seven scattered, contaminated or residually contaminated parcels, mainly wetlands. Five are regulated facilities, and one has partial closure from the US EPA.


**  Acreage from the eastern part of Jean Klock Park was sold to the state in 1952 for a highway cloverleaf removed in 2002.  The land was not returned to Jean Klock Park, however.


Above: A view from the north dune of JKP taken in July, 2008, before the bulldozers. 

Mitigation Parcel H, above, and map detail, right.

Mitigation Parcel G, above, and map details, below right.

Extract from the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling regarding claims in the federal lawsuit concerning golf in Jean Klock Park and the unacceptable mitigation properties:


January 25, 2012


“The golf course is now constructed and open. The new parkland has been completely, or almost completely, improved. Therefore, the agencies say, the damage (to the extent there is any) has already been done; we are without power to stop it.”


See photos left of the “new parkland” taken 01/26/2012

Parcel H amenities and detail map below


Area is

Parcel H

Parcel G amenities and detail map below

Above:  The dunes before the golf course


More About the Federal Appeals Court Decision

See photos of Jean Klock Park during the Senior PGA tournament here