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.
Mill Pond Environmental Assessment
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) proposes to restore, as much as practicable, the hydrologic connection between the Mill Pond and Little Glen Lake. Circulation between the Mill Pond and Little Glen Lake used to occur via a small stream and wetland complex; however, the stream and wetland were replaced with a culvert when the roadway was built. The remaining wetland to the east side of State Highway M-109 (M‐109) was filled during the 1960s or 1970s.
The Mill Pond is now connected to Little Glen Lake under M-109 by 90 feet of 36-inch culvert. This culvert becomes blocked by mud, weeds and debris, and little to no circulation occurs between the Mill Pond and Little Glen Lake. The water that does flow from the Mill Pond under the roadway passes through a 130-foot long channel to reach Little Glen Lake.
The Mill Pond and the land immediately north and south of the connecting channel is within the boundary of the National Lakeshore and the proposed project is confined to lands within the boundary of the National Lakeshore. National Lakeshore facilities in the general area of the project include Glen Haven and the Glen Lake Picnic area, located along M-109 north of the culvert, and the Dune Climb located south of the culvert.
Preliminary Draft Alternatives have been developed for public review and comment. These include the following:
Alternative A - Installation of a new replacement structure under M-109 and dredging an access channel from the existing channel. The replacement structure could be a clear span bridge, a bottomless arch culvert or a box culvert.
Alternative B - Adds to Alternative A, reconstruction of approximately one acre of wetland on the west side (or Mill Pond side) of M-109 and approximately one acre of wetland on the east side (Little Glen Lake side) of M-109.
Alternative C - Adds to Alternative A, reconstruction of approximately one acre of wetland only on the east side of M-109.
Alternative D - Adds to Alternative A, reconstruction of approximately one acre of wetland only on the west side of M-109.
Alternative E - This Alternative is the “no action” alternative in which no action is taken to restore the hydrologic connectivity between Little Glen Lake and the Mill Pond.
An Environmental Assessment (EA) for this project will be prepared and you can follow its progress at the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. The address for this project is www.parkplanning.nps.gov/slbemillpond.
The first step in this process - public scoping - is complete. This comment period ended September 30, 2013, and the comments submitted during this "scoping" phase of planning have been summarized in a document available below. These comments will be considered during the development of alternatives and analysis of impacts. Thank you to everyone who commented!
When the EA is released, the EA will be made available for further public review and we will again solicit public input. For more information, please contact the National Lakeshore at 231-326-5134.
Did You Know?
You can hunt for deer in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In fact there are special hunts on North Manitou Island to help manage the size of the deer herd on the island. More...