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.
Riverbank Restoration Begins Soon at Platte River
Contact: Amanda Brushaber or Bruce Huffman, 231-326-5134
This summer, the National Park Service will begin the final phase of restoration work at the former Water Wheel and Casey’s Canoe Livery sites located east of M-22 on the Platte River within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The project will restore a 450-foot section of the Platte River to its natural function and appearance, and will also mitigate safety concerns caused by failing retaining walls and exposed steel sheet piling.
In 1989, the National Park Service (NPS) completed the removal of the former livery structures from the Lakeshore and began cleaning up contamination caused by leaking underground fuel storage tanks. The contaminated soil was removed and a series of steel sheet pilings were installed 25 feet deep along 100 feet of the river bank to ensure that contaminants could not reach the river. Rip-rap (cobblestones) was installed to stabilize the bank, and the contaminated dirt was cleaned and returned to the site. A ground water filtration system was installed and the NPS continued to filter water and monitor the site until it was released by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in 1994.
Since then, the concrete and wood retaining walls on both sides of the river have significantly deteriorated. The riverbanks have eroded exposing the top of the steel sheet piling creating safety hazards for park visitors. The rip-rap and failing retaining walls will be removed and the metal sheeting will be cut off below the ground surface or removed. A silt boom curtain will be temporarily placed in the river to preserve water quality during the restoration process. To protect the riverbanks from erosion, woody debris and new plantings will be installed which will also create fish and invertebrate habitat. Visitor access to these areas will be restricted to allow for the sites to be restored to a more natural condition and to maintain the newly restored banks. Visitors will be directed to the nearby Platte River Picnic Area Boat Launch.
For more information about Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, or to review the Environmental Assessment for the project, please see our website or call 231-326-5134.
Did You Know?
The Pitcher's thistle is an endangered plant species that is native to the dunes around the Great Lakes. You will find many of them as you hike through the dunes or along the Lake Michigan shores at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. More...