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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) Superintendent Dusty Shultz announced today that the National Park Service proposes to develop a trail system ("Kettles Trail") on federal lands in the Bow Lakes area of the National Lakeshore. To do so, the National Lakeshore will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) which will describe and analyze alternatives for the Kettles Trail.
The Bow Lakes area is a detached section of the National Lakeshore, created when a 1982 amendment of the National Lakeshore's enabling legislation authorized a boundary revision that added the area to the park. There are currently no developments in this area.
The 2009 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Final General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/ Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) proposed a small parking area and a loop hiking trail in the Bow Lakes area to facilitate visitor use (including nature observation and backcountry hiking on NPS-owned lands). Development of these facilities would fulfill the intent of the GMP and would provide opportunities that do not currently exist in this area. The objectives of the project are to provide: 1) user facilities that meet the public need and are within the capacity of the National Park Service to maintain, 2) facilities that are sensitive to, and protect, the natural features of this area, 3) user facilities that respect adjacent private property, 4) interpretation of natural features, and 5) research and educational opportunities.
The project concept is to develop a trail system for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, a small parking area, adequate signing, and interpretive information.
Planning for the Kettles Trail is just beginning and, as part of this planning process, the National Lakeshore welcomes your ideas and input regarding issues or concerns relevant to you. They are especially interested in things you would like them to consider as they plan the project. Please provide your comments electronically through a link on the National Lakeshore's website at www.nps.gov/slbe/. Comments may also be mailed to the National Lakeshore (Superintendent, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 9922 Front Street, Empire, Michigan, 49630).
The National Lakeshore requests that you provide your comments to them by May 20, 2013. The comments you submit during this "scoping" phase of planning will be evaluated and considered during the development of alternatives and analysis of impacts. The EA is scheduled for release in late summer and will then be made available for further public review. At that time, the National Lakeshore will again solicit public input.