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Contact: Tom Ulrich, 231-326-5134
The National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) is seeking public review of recent changes to plans for the rehabilitation of the Glen Haven Village Historic District and associated improvements to visitor access there.
Plans to rehabilitate the historic buildings and landscape of the village and to improve visitor access to both the beach and the village have been in place since 1992. The National Park Service has been able to accomplish much of the work in a piecemeal fashion, such as using entrance fee funds to open the blacksmith shop and D. H. Day Store. Last year, however, the National Lakeshore was awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to finally complete the project. Because slight modifications have subsequently been made to the 1992 plans for this historic district, the National Park Service is seeking public comment on these modifications. For example, the 1992 plan called for the replacement of the uncontrolled parking currently next to the Cannery building with up to three parking lots with a total capacity of 84 vehicles, including 40 within the historic district, and six oversized buses/RVs. The plans have now been modified to consolidate these three lots into two smaller parking lots with a capacity of only 59 vehicles, including only 20 within the historic district, and two oversized.
In addition, the new plans call for modifications to rehabilitate the historic landscape of the village. Boardwalks will be installed to match the configuration of the historic boardwalks of D. H. Day’s time, and to allow visitors to walk around the village. Modern utility poles will be removed and overhead electric lines will be placed underground. Finally, the recently repaired fish tug Aloha will be moved about 200 feet east of the Cannery, and a boardwalk ramp and viewing platform will be constructed around it to improve visitor access to the vessel.
These changes to the 1992 plans will benefit the historic district. In addition, the National Lakeshore plans to ensure this by including construction methods and features designed to protect historic resources. The entire area has been surveyed for archeological resources, and sensitive sites have been avoided. The parking lots are to be chip-sealed so their color and surface blends in better with the landscape. The viewing platform and Aloha cradle are to be constructed so that they afford the vessel some protection from wind-blown sand, while still allowing the public to view it. The National Lakeshore has worked closely with the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office to ensure that none of the improvements will have an adverse effect on historic resources.
Because the Endangered Piping Plover has nested in the vicinity of Glen Haven in recent years, the National Lakeshore has also consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that the rehabilitation of the village will not impact this shorebird or its habitat. In addition, construction timing has been delayed until after the anticipated fledging dates of any plover chicks in the area.
The National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encourages you to comment on the plan modifications until July 10, 2010. Click Here to view the documents on the National Lakeshore’s website. Paper copies are also available for review at the National Lakeshore Visitor Center in Empire. Comments may be mailed to the National Lakeshore (Superintendent, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 9922 Front Street, Empire, MI 49630), or sent electronically through a link on the National Lakeshore’s website.
The National Lakeshore will be hosting an open house on the modifications on Wednesday, June 16. The open house will be held at the National Lakeshore’s Visitor Center auditorium in Empire from 4:00-6:00 p.m. For more information, contact the National Lakeshore Headquarters at 231-326-5134.