Ice Caves No Longer Safe
The ice formations in Leelanau Township, north of the park, are no longer safe to visit. High winds have fractured the ice, moving it to the west. Huge cracks have formed in the cave arches, making them very unsafe and open water is now visible.
Kettles Trail at Bow Lakes Environmental Assessment
The National Park Service (NPS) at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) proposes to develop a trail system ("Kettles Trail") on federal lands in the Bow Lakes area of the National Lakeshore. The Bow Lakes area is a detached section of the National Lakeshore, created when a 1982 amendment of the National Lakeshore's enabling legislation authorized a boundary revision that added it to the park. Currently, only the southern half of the Bow Lakes area is NPS property and the trail system will be confined to these federal lands lying south of Lanham Road. There are currently no National Lakeshore developments in this area.
The 2009 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Final General Management Plan / Wilderness Study / Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) proposed a small parking area and a loop hiking trail to facilitate visitor use (including nature observation and backcountry hiking on NPS-owned lands). Development of these facilities would fulfill the intent of the GMP and would provide opportunities that do not currently exist in this area. The objectives of the project are to provide: 1) user facilities that meet the public need and are within the capacity of the NPS to maintain, 2) facilities that are sensitive to, and protect, the natural features of this area, 3) user facilities that respect adjacent private property, 4) interpretation of natural features, and 5) research and educational opportunities.
The concept is to develop a trail system for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, a small parking area, adequate signing, and interpretive information.
An Environmental Assessment (EA) of this project is being prepared. The first step in this process--public scoping--is complete. This comment period ended May 20, 2013, and the comments submitted during this "scoping" phase of planning are now being evaluated. These comments will be considered during the development of alternatives and analysis of impacts. Thank you to everyone who commented!
The EA is scheduled for release in late summer and will then be made available for further public review. At that time, we will again solicit public input. For more information, please contact the National Lakeshore at 231-326-5134 or visit the PEPC site for information about this proposed trail project.
Did You Know?
The lighthouse on South Manitou Island (Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore) was commissioned in 1872 and served Lake Michigan Shipping for over 100 years. You can take a tour of the lighthouse and climb its 117 step circular stairway to a great view of the Manitou Passage. More...