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Contact: Dusty Shultz, 231-326-5134
Contact: Tom Ulrich, 231-326-5134
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Dusty Shultz has announced the next phase of public input into the General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement process. "I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who commented on the first newsletter, and invite everyone to now participate in helping to develop preliminary alternative concepts for park management" said Shultz. "We received many thoughtful comments which will help us proceed to the next step. In Newsletter #2, you will find a summary of what we’ve heard, ‘New Frequently Asked Questions’, and much more, including an invitation to join us at public planning workshops on June 20th and June 21st."
The General Management Plan (GMP) will establish the overall direction for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, setting broad goals for managing the area over the next 20 plus years. The Wilderness Study component will evaluate the wilderness characteristics of lands within the park, using definitions found in the Wilderness Act of 1964. The study may result in an entirely new configuration of lands proposed for possible designation as wilderness. The GMP and Wilderness Study will be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will evaluate the potential impacts of alternative management approaches and the possible designation of wilderness within the park.
In this second phase of the planning process, the National Park Service (NPS), through public input, will begin to form the concepts that will become specific alternatives in the EIS. All interested persons, organizations, and agencies are encouraged to submit comments and suggestions for how to address and balance the variety of issues and concerns that were brought up in the first round of comments, and are summarized in Newsletter #2. Comments on the preliminary alternative concepts phase of the planning process should be submitted by July 7, 2006. There will continue to be numerous opportunities for input as the concepts are narrowed down into more specific alternatives and the NPS moves though the planning process, estimated to be concluded in late 2008.
A planning newsletter has been prepared and is available on the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/slbe. The site also includes answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" and other information about the planning effort. All are encouraged to review the documents and give comments electronically at this site. The newsletter is also available for review at park headquarters in Empire, Michigan and at area libraries.
Superintendent Shultz has invited all interested parties to join the planning team on June 20-21, 2006 for public planning workshops at Traverse City West High School. This will be an opportunity to provide your ideas for the National Lakeshore’s future along with your neighbors. Three identical workshops have been scheduled, as follows, and you need only attend one of them:
Tuesday Wednesday Wednesday
June 20, 2006 June 21, 2006 June 21, 2006
6:00-9:00 PM 1:00-4:00 PM 6:00-9:00 PM
All workshops will be held in the commons area at the high school, which is located at 5376 North Long Lake Road, Traverse City, MI 49684. Each of the three workshops will begin with a brief presentation describing this step in the planning process and the goals of the workshop. Following the presentation, the public will work in small groups to craft alternative concepts for how the National Lakeshore could be managed. Afterwards, each of the groups will have the opportunity to share their ideas with the rest of the participants. If you are unable to attend the workshops, you can still provide input as described above and noted in the newsletter.
"Your input will continue to play an important role in the direction of the General Management Plan and Wilderness Study, and the future of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore," reminded Shultz. "We look forward to hearing from you."
For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, visit the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/slbe or call 231-326-5134.