A similar plan whipped up controversy four years ago when a number of limitations were proposed for the park, including closing beaches to vehicles.
This planning effort is a new start, not a restart of the planning effort that ended in 2002, said Superintendent Dusty Shultz of the plans Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement process. This time, changes to existing wilderness boundaries will be considered in the alternatives.
Following are the details as announced in a release from the park:
The General Management Plan will establish the overall direction for the park, setting broad goals for managing the area over the next 20 plus years. The plan will develop the desired resource conditions and visitor experiences that are to be achieved and maintained throughout the park. These will be based on such factors as the parks purpose and significance, applicable laws and policies, resource and impact analysis, and public expectations and concerns. The plan also will outline the kinds of resource management activities, visitor activities, and developments that would be appropriate in the park in the future.
The Wilderness Study will evaluate the wilderness characteristics and values of lands within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore using definitions found in the Wilderness Act of 1964. The study may result in an entirely new configuration of lands recommended for possible designation as wilderness.
The General Management Plan and Wilderness Study will be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement, which will evaluate the potential impacts of the alternative management approaches and the possible designation of wilderness within the park.
A series of public open houses have been scheduled to provide the public a chance to learn more about the plan and offer comments:
Tuesday, February 14, 3-7 p.m.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center Auditorium
Empire, MI 49630
Wednesday, February 15, 3-7 p.m.
Traverse Area District Library
Thursday, February 16, 3-7 p.m.
Benzonia Township Hall
For more info, visit the parks web
site at http://www.nps.gov/slbe or call