• Indianhead Point stands tall along the Pictured Rocks. Photo copyright Craig Blacklock

    Pictured Rocks

    National Lakeshore Michigan

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  • Grand Sable Dunes temporary closure to all public entry for visitor safety

    Grand Sable Dunes are rapidly eroding into Sable Creek and Lake Superior. The area from the Ghost Forest Trail north to Lake Superior then along the shoreline to the west side of Sable Creek is temporarily closed. Follow closure signs for your safety. More »

Natural Features & Ecosystems

The Lake Superior shoreline near the mouth of the Mosquito River with beautiful blue skies and clear emerald water.

Lake Superior shoreline at Mosquito Beach

NPS photo

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located along the south shore of Lake Superior, between the communities of Munising and Grand Marais, in the north woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Pictured Rocks was authorized by Congress as the first national lakeshore on October 15, 1966, "to preserve for the benefit, inspiration, education, recreational use, and enjoyment of the public a significant portion of the diminishing shoreline of the United States and its related geographic and scientific features" (P.L. 89-668). The "diminishing shoreline" refers to public access to Great Lakes shores lost to private ownership. Formal establishment of the national lakeshore came on October 6, 1972.

The 71,397 acres of the park are divided approximately equally by the enabling legislation into two distinct ownership and management zones. The federally-owned Shoreline Zone was established for the traditional national park reasons of preserving natural and cultural resources and providing for recreation.

The non-federal Inland Buffer Zone (IBZ) was created "to stabilize and protect the existing character and uses of the land, waters, and other properties within such zone." Congress intended that the buffer zone serve to preserve the setting of the Lake Superior shoreline and inland lakes, and protect the watersheds and streams. Sustained yield timber harvesting and other resource management activities compatible with preservation and recreational use were permitted in the IBZ.

Consumptive resource use, however, was intended to be subordinate to public recreation and the protection of "the usefulness and attractiveness of the lakeshore." The IBZ is comprised of national and state forest land, extensive private commercial forest, and small private parcels.

The park boundary extends one-quarter mile out over the surface of Lake Superior along the length of the park. National Park Service authority is limited to the surface waters within this one-quarter mile.

Did You Know?

Bear claw scars on the smooth bark of an American beech tree.

Bear claw marks can be seen on the trunks of American beech trees because the bark is so smooth. Bears climb trees for safety and to eat beech nuts. The non-native beech bark disease is sweeping through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, killing many beech trees. Trees scarred with bear claw marks will be harder to find. More...