Since the most recent public comment period closed in May 2007, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore General Management Plan/Wilderness Study team has been very busy.
During early summer, the team reviewed and summarized public comments on the Preliminary Alternatives for management of the National Lakeshore (Newsletter #4). Park staff held additional informational meetings with various groups and participated in on-going consultations with Indian tribes. The planning team held a workshop to discuss and consider environmental, cultural, social, and economic impacts of the Preliminary Alternatives, and the team also developed rough cost estimates for the Preliminary Alternatives. Finally, the team met again to evaluate the Preliminary Alternatives and corresponding public comments in more detail and to begin to build a preferred alternative. The team decided that no single one of the existing alternatives best fulfilled the NPS mission at the Lakeshore and the public’s wishes, and that instead the preferred alternative should be an entirely separate one, made up of components of each of the original four. The team presented the concept of a separate preferred alternative in internal briefings for key National Park Service staff in the regional (Omaha) and national (Washington, D.C.) offices.
Later in the summer, the team began to carry forward all four Preliminary Alternatives (and a preferred alternative) into the Draft General Management Plan/ Wilderness Study/ Environmental Impact Statement for thorough analysis and publication.
This fall, the team is writing the main portions of the 350+ page draft document which will include the following chapters:
- Alternatives (including maps)
- Affected Environment
- Environmental Consequences
- Consultation and Coordination
In winter 2007-2008, the planning team will finalize the Draft General Management Plan/ Wilderness Study/ Environmental Impact Statement based on internal National Park Service reviews, prior to its public release in spring 2008.