Although it may appear that there has been a period of relative inactivity lately, the General Management Plan/Wilderness Study team for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been hard at work behind the scenes. Since the last website update in October 2007, the team has been busy writing the remaining sections of the 350+ page Draft General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement and refining it through internal National Park Service reviews. The planning team hopes to receive official agency approvals to distribute the draft plan to the public in April or May, with public meetings to follow in early June 2008.
In the interest of conserving paper and keeping costs down, we plan to send each person on the mailing list a mailer in February 2008 asking whether he/she would like to receive a copy of the Draft General Management Plan/ Wilderness Study/ Environmental Impact Statement. Recipients who want a copy of the draft plan should mail back the enclosed postcard indicating their preference for a compact disc (CD) copy, a CD copy plus a hard copy of the maps and a printed summary, or the full printed document. Other options will be to view the document on-line (via the park’s website) or at area libraries. It’s not too late to request being added to the mailing list (please see the “Contact Us” link on the park’s GMP webpage for where to send such a request). If you are already on our mailing list, it is not necessary to sign up again.
The Draft General Management Plan/ Wilderness Study/ Environmental Impact Statement will include all of the alternatives from Newsletter 4, plus a preferred alternative developed from public input received on the newsletter. The Environmental Impact Statement portion of the document will describe how different aspects of the National Lakeshore (natural resources, cultural resources, visitor opportunities, etc.) would likely be affected by implementation of the various alternatives.
The planning team believes most people will be able to support the preferred alternative. The preferred alternative preserves the most essential aspects of visitor experience that you have come to know and love, and still protects the natural and cultural resources that make the National Lakeshore so special. Public participation in the planning process has been vital to developing a preferred alternative, reflective of all the input we have received. Of course, the team is aware that it is not possible for everyone to be 100% happy with the preferred alternative, but we believe we have done a good job in crafting an alternative that takes everyone’s input into consideration. We look forward to the next phase of public participation where we will have the opportunity to gather feedback on the Draft General Management Plan/ Wilderness Study/ Environmental Impact Statement, including the preferred alternative.