Cover to A Nationalized Lakeshore: The Creation and Administration of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Cover Page


Table of Contents


Chapter One,
"National Parks Are Where You Find Them:" The Origins of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Chapter Two,
"We're Going For The Right Thing:" The Legislative Struggle to Create Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 1971- 1977

Chapter Three,
Changes on the Land: The Early Management of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 1977-1983

Chapter Four
Plans, Programs and Controversy: The Reassessment of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 1977-1983

Chapter Five,
"A Local and National Treasure:" Managing the Sleeping Bear Dunes Park, 1984- 1995

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore At Twenty-Five

Appendix One,
Budgetary Progress of Sleeping Bear Dunes N.L.

Appendix Two,
Selected Past and Present Employees of Sleeping Bear N.L.

Appendix Three,
Selected Visitation Statistics

Appendix Four,
Public Law 91-479

Chapter 1 Notes

Chapter 2 Notes

Chapter 3 Notes

Chapter 4 Notes

Chapter 5 Notes

Conclusion Notes




A Nationalized Lakeshore:
The Creation and Administration of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Chapter Five

Historic Resource Management

     Although the impetus to create the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore flowed from its impressive natural wonders, the enabling act, Public Law 91-479, clearly authorized the National Park Service to develop a plan to provide "protection of scenic, scientific, and historic features contributing to public enjoyment[emphasis added]." During the twenty-five years of administration since that act was approved the National Park Service has developed the historic resources of the lakeshore into some of the most highly visibility features of the park. Yet the story of historic resource management in the lakeshore has mirrored the general development pattern at Sleeping Bear with maddeningly slow progress in some areas and public controversy over proposed park actions.

     The first resources of any kind managed and interpreted by the National Park Service at Sleeping Bear were those related to maritime history. South Manitou Island lighthouse and the Glen Haven Coast Guard Station were the first properties acquired by the National Park Service in the area and the rehabilitation and maintenance of those structures has been an ongoing challenge. The high water levels of the late 1980s were a particular threat to the South Manitou lighthouse, located only fifty feet from shore. Prior to the creation of the lakeshore the site of the North Manitou lighthouse had been washed away by a high water storm. Emergency measures had to be taken to protect the South Manitou light tower and its outbuildings. Typical of the need to balance competing management goals, recommendations to construct a breakwater to protect the lighthouse had to be carefully balanced by the need to protect pitcher's thistle habitat. Superintendent Martinek's acquisition of the Frederickson maritime collection laid the foundation for the lakeshore to become even more deeply involved in presenting the history of the Great Lakes. Martinek had hoped to display the collection in a park maritime museum at a renovated Glen Haven Coast Guard station. But like so many of the development plans at Sleeping Bear and the other Great Lakes national lakeshores, the maritime museum was put on hold for want of funds. After seven years on the shelf the process of structural rehabilitation, restoration, and exhibit design was set in motion. The complex project, which required a sensitive blending of historic architecture and interpretive design, became a tug-of-war between the Denver Service Center and the Harper's Ferry Design Center. Only the active involvement of lakeshore interpreters Charles Parkinson and William Herd kept the project on-track. Finally, in 1984 the project was completed. The maritime museum interpreted the old lifesaving service through restoration of a portion of the historic station as well as the larger story of shipping in the Manitou Passage through the Frederickson collection artifacts. Popular interpretive programs further brought the site to life during the summer through the reenactment of ship-to-shore life saving techniques. By the early 1990s the site, which only open during the summer tourist season was averaging more than 40,000 annual visitors.[40]

     The development of the Glen Haven Maritime Museum took place at a time of rising public interest in the maritime history of the Great Lakes. New maritime museums blossomed throughout the region, leading to the creation of the Association of Great Lakes Maritime Museums. Numerous popular histories of shipwrecks, rescues, and lighthouses were written while folk music about the lakes, in part stimulated by the success of Gordon Lightfoot's 1977 ballad "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," also began to flourish. Lakeshore personal offered professional assistance, on the local level to preservationists attempting to save the historic car ferry at Frankfort, and on the regional level by helping to form in 1983 the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. The popularization of scuba diving as a sport joined with the rise in regional history to create a new interest in the maritime past, the underwater preserve.[41]

     The state of Michigan began to promote the idea of underwater shipwreck parks during the mid-1970s. Through the work of Professor Donald Holecek, Michigan State University, and the Michigan Sea Grant program a conscious effort was made to locate and protect sunken ships as a potential recreational asset. It was discovered that many wreck sites were being ruined by professional salvagers interested in the white oak planking of the old schooners or the brass fixtures of sunken steamers, as well as by the less systematic depredations of sport divers collecting souvenirs. In 1980, the state legislature passed a bill that allowed the Department of Natural Resources to create bottomlands preserves in areas of particular significance. Local historian Jed Jaworski, who had founded a maritime museum in Frankfort, led the effort to protect wreck sites within the Manitou Passage. A proposal was drafted to set aside a 282-mile area of bottomlands around the Manitou Islands and the Sleeping Bear mainland. Seventy shipwrecks were located in that area. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore cooperated with the preparation of the preserve plan that culminated in November of 1988 with the creation of the Manitou Passage State Underwater Preserve.[42]

     The Underwater Preserve provided the protection of state law for the wrecks within its boundaries. Limited state funds were available to help mark wreck sites for divers and to support the development of a management plan for the preserve. The task of evaluating those sites and preparing historical information on each wreck for recreational divers was left to local supporters. The National Park Service had considerable experience with such work. At Isle Royale National Park the service had located, mapped, and buoyed shipwrecks within the boundaries of the park. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore also took an active role in inventorying its underwater resources, even if like Sleeping Bear most of the bottomlands were located outside the lakeshore's boundaries. Sleeping Bear contributed to the Manitou Preserve considerable staff time and the technical support of the National Park Service's Submerged Cultural Resources Unit. The latter, composed of some of the most experienced archeological divers in the nation, undertook an assessment of sites within the preserve. The park service dive team also identified appropriate areas of bottomland for the disposal of spoil from dredging required at the North Manitou dock. In 1990, the local preserve committee was able to place buoys at the sites of seven shipwrecks and several former dock sites.[43]

     Wrecks were not the only boats that were part of the lakeshore's resource management program. Since early in its history, the lakeshore had accepted small watercraft as part of its maritime collection. The task of caring for these vessels, however, more often than not came down to the dedication of the staff more than an adequate institutional commitment. A case in point was the fish tug Aloha. In 1985, James Dura, one of the last gill net fisherman operating out of Milwaukee, offered the lakeshore his boat and rig. A grant from the Eastern National Parks and Monuments Association made the acquisition possible, but afforded no funds to overhaul the fifty-year-old tug, or even position it at Glen Haven, where it could contribute to the maritime museum. The forty-foot long fishing boat was brought to Frankfort, where it was temporally docked. For better than six months park interpreters did minor repairs on the boat and inventoried its contents of historic fishing gear. Like all old wooden boats the Aloha leaked and every day or so the bilge pumps had to be operated to prevent swamping. One day Chief of Interpretation Charles Parkinson went to check the bilges and found the boat gone. The only sign of the Aloha were the mooring lines extending straight down in the water. The Aloha had split a seam and sunk to the bottom of the harbor. The accident had the happy result of releasing emergency funds to raise the boat and have it transported by truck to Glen Haven. Although the lakeshore still lacked the funds to restore the vessel, it was possible to display the tug, identical to the lost fleets of fishing vessels than once operated out of Leland and the Manitous. The lakeshore eventually was able to house the bulk of the small water craft collection in the historic cannery building in Glen Haven. In 1992, the cannery was opened to the public as an adjunct to the marine museum, although budgetary pressure made it difficult for the lakeshore to staff both facilities. [44]

     The historic cannery building was only one component in one of Sleeping Bear Dunes's most important if vexing maritime cultural resources: the historic steamship village and mill town of Glen Haven. Founded in the late 1870s, Glen Haven was typical of the numerous small company towns that dotted the shores of the upper Great Lakes during the heyday of the logging industry. Through the energy of D.H. Day, Glen Haven lingered on into the twentieth century, after the big timber was cut, as an agricultural shipping point and as a port for vacationers heading north via regular steamship lines. Although many critical features of the old town complex were lost over the years, most notably the dock, saw mill, and narrow gauge railroad, the National Park Service acquired a remarkably intact 1920s-era village. The 1979 General Management Plan specified that Glen Haven's village atmosphere was to be maintained and that the buildings of the town were to be adapted to provide visitor services and interpretation. In 1983, the village was successfully nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.[45]

     Although the majority of the village was under direct National Park Service control, occupancy permits for three properties were slated to expire between 1993 and 2005. Beginning in 1983 the lakeshore undertook efforts to stabilize some of the village's historic buildings. An interest in developing a concrete plan for the rest of the buildings naturally followed the decision not to build a new harbor facility at Glen Haven. In 1987, a Development Concept Plan for the village was put together with the help of the Denver Service Center. The purpose of the plan was to suggest ways to preserve the town, protect adjacent natural areas, and enhance the cultural experience of visitors to Glen Haven. The methods suggested to achieve these goals were fairly standard heritage tourism tactics; including, the adaptive reuse of village buildings by commercial operations providing sympathetic visitor services; the rerouting of vehicular traffic away from the historic village; and the preparation of a series of trails, wayside exhibits, and overlooks to provide visitors with an opportunity to educate themselves about the local history and to enjoy the splendid lakeside setting. But what was a good plan for maintaining a small historic town might not have been appropriate for a small town largely owned by the National Park Service. Many of the lakeshore staff objected to the plan because they felt it offered too much of the village, with too few park service controls, to private users. Unable to influence the Denver Service Center plan lakeshore employees openly disparaged it in public comments.[46]

     The public controversy which followed the release of the plan focused largely on the proposal to use commercial contracts managed as park concessions to fund the maintenance of the village's historic buildings. The park had in mind retailers like a bookstore or an arts and crafts shop, a restaurant, as well as a bed-and-breakfast in the old Sleeping Bear Inn. Former residents who had sold their property in the village complained that they had been forced out of Glen Haven in the 1970s because it was considered a fragile natural area. Now other people were being invited in to make a profit there. "I was born and raised in the village of Glen Haven," commented one women, "and since my home was among those taken by the threat of condemnation I am against the recommercialization of homes and businesses." Owners of businesses operating in the neighboring community of Glen Arbor opposed commercial leases on historic buildings because of the fear of government sponsored competition. "Our tax money would go to subsidize businesses," complained a Leelanau County advisory commission member, "that would not have to pay local taxes and would benefit from all the park promotions." The Citizens' Council of the Sleeping Bear recommended that the park service simply leave Glen Haven as it was. Environmentalists opposed the plan as heavy-handed with Nature, because of the need to develop remote parking sites, and crass due to its commercialization of the historic village. "This is all a Reagan Administration thing, this commercialization that's going on," said Marie Scott, head of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Preservation Committee. "The Park Service are supposed to be caretakers of the land. They're not supposed to be overdeveloping it."[47]

     The management of the lakeshore was caught off guard by the strongly negative reaction to the Glen Haven proposal, and the division within its own ranks. "There has been a lot of 'anti' comment," Assistant Superintendent John Abbett admitted to the press. The negative reaction was in part a reflex response by the local community based on decades of mistrust and an ideological reaction by environmentalists to any whiff of commercialization in the parks in the wake of James Watt's tenure in the Department of the Interior. The unfortunate timing of the Glen Haven plan's release, however, was also detrimental to any consideration of its merits. In 1987, Leelanau County was divided over issues of development, commercialization, and the environment. The Homestead golf course proposal[discussed below] sparked a general fear that the Sleeping Bear area needed to be wary of the "Gatlinburg Effect"-referring to the unplanned, tacky Tennessee town outside the boundaries of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Evangeline Stanchik, a Leelanau County member of the Advisory Commission, was widely quoted as saying that Sleeping Bear needed an Opryland-like amusement park to stimulate local job growth. "We could, you know, have rides and maybe bears, and art shows, things like that." There was a strong feeling that out-of-control growth was right around the corner for northwest Michigan. "Once it really gets discovered it won't take long, it's coming," predicted environmentalist Marie Scott. Her group, the Sleeping Bear Preservation Committee, also opposed the North Manitou Island development plan, which called for continuing the island as a wilderness, because park planners envisioned a small hostel near the dock for people who were unprepared or inexperienced in camping. "Is this a hostel or a hotel," complained Scott, who successfully had the hostel concept removed from the North Manitou plan. In such a climate, the Glen Haven plan, with its reliance on commercial leases and the blending of restoration and reconstruction, was sure to be a lightining rod.[48]

     The Glen Haven plan was quietly shelved, or as the Assistant Superintendent put it, public comments caused "a lot of review of the preliminary data and recommendations." In May of 1988, a draft of a revised Glen Haven plan was circulated but it was not until November of 1992 that the final development concept plan and interpretive prospectus for the ghost town was finally approved. In the final plan the interpretation program, the trail system, and the revised parking and circulation system all reflected the thinking of the controversial plan of 1987. The major difference was in the role envisioned for adaptive reuse and commercial leasing. The Sleeping Bear Inn was still projected as a site for a commercial concession and the former D.H. Day store continued to be proposed as an outlet for the Eastern National Parks and Monuments Association site. All other historic buildings in the town were projected to remain vacant, with the lakeshore undertaking basic exterior maintenance as needed. Plans to reconstruct a portion of the village dock, an example of the narrow gauge railroad track, an example of one or two train cars, and a Native American house were dropped. Even so, the cost of the plan (including improvements to D.H. Day Campground) was close to $3 million. The plan was to be phased in over ten or fifteen years, because little money was available for the National Park Service to carry the burden all on its own.[49]

     The rejection of the draft plan for Glen Haven was a disturbing development for cultural resources management at Sleeping Bear. The adaptive reuse of historic structures by appropriate commercial tenants was a standard means of bringing funds from the private sector to protect public assets. While it was perhaps understandable that a concentration of such leases in one location, as the Glen Haven plan called for, was too much commercialization for a natural area, Sleeping Bear was also becoming a historic park and the need to protect those resources required experimentation with new management techniques. The rise of the National Register of Historic Places as a planning tool and the growth of historical programs within the National Park Service had largely taken place since the initial conception of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Far beyond the conception of Philip Hart or Allen Edmunds, park units like the national lakeshores, which were carved out of private land, found themselves managing not just "islands of wilderness" but also time capsules of regional history. That this history was what might be called small "h" history, the story of ordinary people and vernacular buildings, made it less obvious for the public and even park management to appreciate. The unique and the aesthetically pleasing had long dominated historic preservation in the United States. The cultural resources at Sleeping Bear and her sister lakeshores represented instead broad regional development patterns, which made the task of identifying and managing such properties one of large scale and, for many managers, of frightening proportions. "We've got 300 vacant and abandoned buildings in this park," Superintendent Peterson said in frustration over the rejection of commercial leasing. "What do we do with them?"[50]

     Peterson's question was particularly relevant regarding the large number of agricultural and recreational structures that composed the rural landscape of Sleeping Bear park. Initially the National Park Service regarded these structures as obstacles inhibiting the return of the land to its natural, forested condition. During the mid-1970s the buildings on numerous farm and old resort properties were sold for salvage or removal from the site at public auction. Such action was in violation of President Richard M. Nixon's Executive Order 11593, which had specifically charged all federal agencies with the evaluating the eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places of all properties under their control. This policy of ignoring the historic potential of vernacular buildings came to a sudden end in 1977. The reason for the change was in part due to the growing awareness of historic preservation issues in the wake of the 1976 bicentennial, yet like so many policy changes at Sleeping Bear considerable impetus also came from critics outside the park service.

     The first resolution of the Sleeping Bear Dunes Advisory Commission called for the preservation and interpretation of some of the lakeshore's historic farms. This resolution was promptly forgotten until five years latter when the commission was faced with public complaints regarding park management of South Manitou Island. Sylvia B. Kruger of East Lansing, a summer resident of the island and a local history enthusiast, deserves credit for helping to change the way the lakeshore viewed historic farmsteads. During 1976 and 1977 Kruger questioned the impact of wilderness status on the rural properties on the island. She noticed a gap between the rhetoric of the Midwest Region Director, Merrill D. Beal-who assured her, "there are procedures that we follow that make the destruction of any cultural property quite unlikely"-and the actions of park personnel on South Manitou Island. In July 1976, Superintendent Martinek himself helped to demolish the gates leading to the Anderson house. The Youth Conservation Corps Camp on the island was kept particularly busy that summer removing farm fences all over the island. When Kruger complained about these actions she was told, "we do not believe that the fences of South Manitou Island represent a significant historical resource, and we intend to proceed with their removal." Kruger protested to the advisory commission that these actions, as well as the preparation of several building for demolition, were done without appropriate historic preservation surveys. The commission was impressed with the substance and passion of her arguments. She was invited to be an ex officio member of the commission, to provide special advice on South Manitou Island. She continued in that role until 1980 when she became a regular member of the commission.[51]

     Kruger's complaints brought an end to a lakeshore wide policy of removing agricultural structures from farms bought by the park service. At that same time Donald R. Brown replaced Superintendent Martinek. The former had greater sensitivity to the issue of landscape preservation. In August of 1977, he ordered a moratorium on the removal of any agricultural features, both on South Manitou and the mainland. A comprehensive historic site survey of the new park was contracted with Michigan State University. Because of the rapid rate of land acquisition at that time, Brown's order came just in time to save many of the lakeshore's most valuable resources. Scores of Port Oneida buildings were slated for removal. At the Mason farm the lakeshore had actually sold the barn for salvage. "We were going to start tearing the barn down to move it to some property we owned, on Monday," recalled Lorraine Mason, "and on Friday the Park Service called us and said, 'Hold it, we want to buy that back.'"[52]

     The inventory of historically significant properties conducted by the Michigan State University Art Department, together with an earlier archeological overview completed by the Michigan State University Museum, provided a baseline for historic resource planning and action. The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office reacted very proactively to the reports and advised the Director of the Midwest Region of the National Park Service that Sleeping Bear Dunes contained several potential National Register of Historic Places districts, including South Manitou island where the "farming complexes" were specifically cited as requiring management attention. The letter emphasized the importance of looking at "vernacular farm structures, orchards, and fields" as all part of the same agricultural story, a resource in which "human and natural history merge." These recommendations, as well as Kruger's involvement with the advisory commission, ensured that the agricultural historic resources of the lakeshore would be considered during the formation of the general management plan.[53]

     During the public comment phase of the general management plan process, Sylvia Kruger argued for creation of a South Manitou historic district that would include an 1890s-era living history farm site. The official workshop planning books included alternatives that would allow for the continuation of agriculture in the Good Harbor Bay area and the interpretation of agricultural history on park lands in the Empire area. Public reaction to these proposals and others, to preserve Glen Haven as a historic village, was favorable. The final plan incorporated most of these elements along with the general commitment that "Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will be managed primarily for the perpetuation of the natural environment and the preservation of cultural features…" While those were fine general principles, the plan was short on specific strategies for determining what should be preserved and how it would be funded.[54]

     From the beginning of the lakeshore's attempt to deal with its rural cultural resources there was an aesthetic dimension at work. As early as 1970 local people had expressed concern over the loss of the familiar sight of farmhouses and barns tucked among the forested glacial hills, framed by a field of hay. In 1980, Superintendent Brown ordered the mowing of selected agricultural fields in order to preserve such roadside viewsheds and prevent the growth of aspen and other second growth trees. Sylvia Kruger urged the same practice on South Manitou Island, where the fields were rapidly disappearing. Some agricultural lands were maintained during the 1970s and 1980s by leasebacks or cooperative farm agreements between the lakeshore and local farmers. During the general management plan process public sentiment had been strong for the lakeshore to keep some of its agricultural lands in crops. "There are people out there starving and you are locking up vital resources," was a frequently voiced sentiment. Some of the agreements yielded a considerable financial return, but it went into the general federal treasury and was not available for use in the park to pay for the upkeep of farm buildings. Maintaining open fields through cooperative agreements with local farmers, however, was problematical. Fruit growing required considerable pesticide use and the mowing of hay took place during the natural nesting time of several bird species. As cooperative agricultural agreements were phased out during the late 1980s the lakeshore had to come up with its own policy. In 1989, the lakeshore developed a plan to plant its fields in the Port Oneida area with native plants such as blackeyed susan and little bluestem and to undertake an annual mowing after nesting season. With limited resources for both planting and mowing the lakeshore only gradually expanded this practice to the bulk of its potential historic agriculture fields. Eventually, considerable work was done restoring long neglected farm fields on South Mantou Island.[55]

     The problem faced by Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore was not unique. Other parks such as the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area and Ozark National Scenic Riverways also had a large number of rural historic sites within their boundaries. In 1984, the Southwest Region Office sponsored a special case study of the Boxey Valley in Arkansas to develop guidelines for identifying and preserving rural districts. Nonetheless, Sleeping Bear was thrust into the spotlight on this issue because of the large number of potential agricultural and recreational historic sites under its direct management. At times during the 1980s and 1990s it appeared that the park would respond to this by assuming a leadership role within the agency on how to deal with vernacular historic sites. In 1985, the lakeshore hosted a four-day seminar "Managing Rural Historic Districts within National Parks." Preservationists and park historians from across the region participated in the program. Historians from the regional office had just completed a special history of the Port Oneida area, so that district served as a case study for the workshop. Practical management alternatives that emerged from the program included leasing farm buildings as bed and breakfasts, professional office buildings, or artist's studios. The lakeshore, however, did not feel it knew enough about its several hundred historic structures to move immediately toward a management plan. The decision was made to study the problem further. In 1987, the Historic American Buildings Survey was contracted to supply a summer research team. Their work focused on South Manitou Island, where they photographed, prepared line drawings and histories of vintage buildings. A year later a second team prepared a study of Glen Haven, and in 1989 the Historic American Buildings Survey team conducted its work on North Manitou Island. In 1990, the Historic American Buildings Survey completed its projects at Sleeping Bear with additional work at Port Oneida and Glen Haven. While this was going on the buildings under park control at Port Oneida and on the islands continued to deteriorate, with only minimal attention from the lakeshore's overtaxed maintenance division. The Historic American Buildings Survey work at Sleeping Bear was more of a distraction than a help. Most valuable in situations where structures face imminent destruction, the survey was not in a position help move the lakeshore closer to a management solution, nor did it undertake research in enough depth to make solid recommendations concerning what should be preserved, what should be allowed to deteriorate, and what simply could be removed as surplus.[56]

     The large number of structures within the lakeshore eligible for the National Register presented management with a difficult problem. To realize fully the historic preservation potential of Sleeping Bear could easily cost the entire budget of the national lakeshore. The steady increase in importance of cultural resources within the lakeshore interpretation, resource management, and maintenance divisions that occurred between 1970 and 1995 would have surprised the National Park Service planners like Allen T. Edmunds who first conceived of the lakeshore. Yet the accelerating commitment to historic properties has been fully in accord with congressional action and changing public values. Perhaps because it is an issue that has evolved out of the lakeshore's post-1970 growth, park leadership has been hesitant to seek decisive action, unsure of its course. In many ways the issue has the appearance of one that has been massaged more than managed. In 1987, the opportunity to preserve and interpret the historic town of Glen Haven was within reach. Objections from the local community and division within the lakeshore management doomed that opportunity. More than a decade later little more than basic stabilization has taken place there. In 1985, appropriate historical information and effective management alternatives were available for Port Oneida. Again no commitment was made and park owned buildings within the district continued to suffer in a limbo of neglect and creeping decay.

     During the 1990s popular interest in the historic buildings of the lakeshore began to increase. Across northern Michigan people were concerned with the loss of farms to recreational developments. The Leelanau County and Grand Traverse County's Old Mission Peninsula were particularly effected by this trend. Magazine articles and photographic essays mourned the loss of the region's rural heritage, while activists and planners sought ways to preserve the rural landscape. Efforts to maintain farms through the sale of their development rights on the Old Mission Peninsula drew national media attention. Faced with this changing climate of opinion the National Park Service took steps to develop a Historic Properties Management Plan. To complete the national register nomination for the Port Oneida district and to inform management concerning potential rural districts on the islands the Midwest Regional Office contracted with the Landscape Architecture program at the University of Wisconsin for a series of special studies on the history of the Sleeping Bear area. The first of these studies reviewed the agricultural history of Benzie and Leelanau counties and established a context for understanding how the Sleeping Bear area fit into the history of farming in the Upper Great Lakes region. The following reports focused very specifically on Port Oneida, South Manitou, and North Manitou islands. The studies united comprehensive research with pragmatic alternative management strategies. In the future they will be invaluable to park interpreters dealing with agricultural sites. Although the resulting reports were models of how to describe and assess rural historic districts, the resources continued to deteriorate while they were under additional investigation for six years. At the same time, lakeshore management's ad hoc approach to the more than one hundred potentially historic building under its control drew increasing flak. A group called the Sleeping Bear Dunes Preservation Committee was formed to lobby for a more proactive lakeshore policy toward cultural resources.[57]

     In 1995, the lakeshore proposed to raze a shed on North Manitou Island. The problems encountered illustrated both the complexity of resource management at Sleeping Bear and the opportunities for preservation. The Manitou Island Association as part of their orchard operations had built the 2,400 square foot shed in the 1930s. The shed was located next to a historic barn and along with several other features it constituted a fairly intact farming complex. Members of the Sleeping Bear Preservation Committee were quick to label the plan "a clear case of anticipatory demolition," believing the park service wanted the shed gone before it could be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. Actually the lakeshore had been focused on finding a site for its solar electric system that had been designed to reduce the risk of fuel oil spills. Lakeshore management wanted the site to be within the old Manitou village area, as they did not want new construction to intrude on those areas of the island managed as wilderness. Within the village area the location had to be chosen carefully, so as not to mar the historic views of the Coast Guard Station, a potential National Historic Landmark. Initially adaptively reusing the shed for the storage of the solar batteries was deemed as unwise because the old building was said to have deteriorated to the point of being structurally unsound. Lakeshore management worried it simply did not have the funds to bolster the old shed. Preservationists argued that the 1989 management plan for North Manitou needed to be revised to allow greater latitude for historic resource management. In the end that costly and time-consuming prospect was deemed less palatable than trying to adaptively reuse the shed. "I am not sure how we will come up with all the funding for it," Superintendent Ivan Miller told the press. The funding, however, had to be found when the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation ruled that the lakeshore had not followed the procedures required by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The clash between environmental protection, wilderness values, and historic preservation regulations, aggrevated by a continuing shortage of construction funds, served to divide the Sleeping Bear staff. On one side was "management," anxious protect wilderness and begin a project before the committed funds were lost and on the other side were resource specialists fighting to establish the importance of historic site values within the park. The resolution was to adaptively reuse the building, although that resulted in the loss of a considerable amount of the building's original exterior.[58]

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