• Looking out at the lake

    Sleeping Bear Dunes

    National Lakeshore Michigan

Port Oneida Rural Historic District Environmental Assessment Completed

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Date: September 23, 2008
Contact: Lee Jameson, 231-326-5134

The National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore announces the completion of the Port Oneida Rural Historic District Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA includes plans for future historic preservation and use of some of the buildings and landscapes in Port Oneida, as well as development of some visitor access facilities. A “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) was signed for the EA on June 30, 2008, and a “Response to Comments” subsequently developed. The FONSI identifies the selected alternative and is the decision-making document for the project. A copy of the EA, FONSI, and Response to Comments may be viewed by Clicking Here.

This is the culmination of a public input process begun at the Port Oneida Fair in August 2005, followed by scoping letters sent in August 2005 to local, state, and federal regulatory and resource agencies; interested citizens; tribes; and organizations. Public workshops were held in May 2006 and project information was accessible via a link on the park’s web site. The public was invited to provide preliminary comments from April 11 to May 8, 2006, via a press release, the website, and the workshops held at the Port Oneida Schoolhouse on May 3, 2006. The resulting EA was made available for public review and comment from September 17 through October 19, 2007 and another open house was held at the Lakeshore’s visitor center in Empire on October 3, 2007.

The project team evaluated alternatives for the location of a future visitor contact station and staff housing. It was confirmed that using the Kelderhouse farm for a visitor contact station would have the fewest impacts and still provide the greatest benefits to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and its visitors.  The Charles Olsen house, operated by the non-profit park partner group, Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear, will continue to serve as a focal point for visitors in the interim. Once funds can be secured, the Kelderhouse farm will be rehabilitated as a visitor contact station. The Charles Olsen house would still offer complementary interpretive services as well as offices for Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear as they continue to raise funds and complete projects for ongoing preservation work.

Because of its size, condition, and location, the Goffar farm at the north end of the Port Oneida Rural Historic District was selected for the eventual location of employee, intern, and volunteer housing.

Also planned for the future is improved visitor access to the historic resources of Port Oneida. The Lakeshore would provide some limited additional parking, roadside pull-offs, and an improved trail system. Parking space for six to eight cars would be provided in the vicinity of the Eckhert and Ole Olsen farms on Basch Road, and at the Carsten Burfiend farm on Port Oneida Road. In addition, other structures and historic landscapes within Port Oneida would be stabilized as part of this alternative. The Port Oneida Rural Historic District is representative of late 19th and early 20th century farms of the Midwest and is one of the largest historic agricultural districts in public ownership in the country.

For more information, contact Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at (231) 326-5134.

Did You Know?

US Life-Saving Service

During the winter of 1870-71, 214 people lost their lives in shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, and congress established the US Life-Saving Service to conduct rescues from shore. This became the US Coast Guard in 1915. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes to see how these men lived and worked. More...