NPS Issues 10-Year Contract to Pictured Rocks Cruises

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Date: May 24, 2010
Contact: Jim Northup, 906-387-2607, ext 202

Grand Portal Point and visitors aboard Pictured Rocks Cruises

NPS photo by David Kronk

(Munising, MICH.) The National Park Service has issued a formal concessions contract to Pictured Rocks Cruises, Inc., of Munising to continue to offer non-stop narrated boats tours of the spectacular sandstone cliffs within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

“Because national parks are such special places, all commercial operations conducted within the boundaries of any National Park System area are subject to certain federal regulations and must be conducted under a Commercial Use Authorization, a form of special permit, or a formal concessions contract,” Lakeshore superintendent Jim Northup explained. “In those cases where we have determined that a particular service is not only appropriate within a park, but necessary for the visiting public to be able to fully enjoy and experience the area, Congress has mandated that these services be managed under formal concessions contracts.”

For many years, Pictured Rocks Cruises has operated in the park under a Commercial Use Authorization, but after concluding that this service was not only appropriate but necessary, it was important to ensure that this highly specialized service would continue to be available to park visitors for years to come and continue to be operated to National Park Service standards. “Given their long and proud history in the community and the good working relationship we have had, I am pleased that Pictured Rocks Cruises was selected to fulfill the terms of this 10-year contract, which was awarded following a competitive process handled by the NPS Regional Office in Omaha,” Northup added.

Under the terms of the contract, Pictured Rocks Cruises will continue to offer a full schedule of narrated tours of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore cliffs from mid-May to mid-October. The National Park Service will provide increased oversight to the operation, approve all rates and receive a franchise fee that will be used to enhance other visitor services in the park.

“We are delighted that we have been selected to continue to offer this service to the visitors to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and look forward to working more closely with the staff at the park,” said John Madigan, General Manager for Pictured Rocks Cruises.

"There is nothing about this contract that changes access, or the rules and regulations that apply to private boating in the park, or business opportunities for others interested in offering other services we determine to be appropriate," Northup added.

For a full list of the commercial operations currently authorized to operate within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore under either a Concessions Contract or a Commercial Use Authorization, please visit the park’s website at

Last updated: July 9, 2018

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