Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · A new view for Sleeping...
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A new view for Sleeping Bear

Robert Downes - November 17th, 2008
Seven years ago, there was a scorcher at the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. It wasn’t a forest fire (as is an ongoing fear of some who live next the the park); it was the flames of public opinion over a proposed Wilderness Management Plan that many locals thought was a bit extreme back in 2001.
To take you back to those days of pitchforks and torches, there was speculation that the park would close several dirt roads leading down to popular beaches along Sleeping Bear’s 35-mile coast. And that fishing for coho salmon would be limited. And that large sections of the park would be declared “wilderness” territory, accessible only by hikers.
It was a public relations disaster, as park-goers blew their collective stacks over the threat of limited access. But one thing the public outcry proved is that people love Sleeping Bear, even though it sometimes seems we’re on the verge of loving it to death during the summer months when thousands seek the paradise of its beaches.
So give the National Park Service staff credit for knocking themselves silly since 2001, trying to include the public in the creation of a new plan. Under the leadership of Park Superintendent Dusty Schultz, the park has held more than 90 informational meetings, virtually pleading with the public to be part of the decision-making process in shaping Sleeping Bear’s future. More than 2,600 people have taken part in the meetings, and several hundred letters have been transcribed in an attempt to guide the process.
No one is likely to call the new plan extreme -- if anything, it seems rather snoozy, as if the pendulum of the park’s planning process just gave up and quit swinging.
With the help of a draft plan and public input, the park has created (brace yourself for some ponderous bureaucratic jargon here) a “Final General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement.”
“Perhaps the most significant changes are that the Cottonwood Trail into the dunes from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive has been removed from proposed wilderness, and electric motors will be allowed on Otter, Tucker, and Bass lakes,” Schultz writes in an introduction to the plan.
(Not the sort of changes you’d expect to get anyone’s underwear in a bunch.)
Under the park’s preferred alternative, which is expected to be adopted, Sleeping Bear will remain a visitor-friendly destination with an emphasis on preservation. This includes designating 32,100 acres -- or 45 percent -- of the park as wilderness. No developed county roads are within the proposed wilderness areas, so on that score, the park will retain the same character as in the past.
There are, however, plans for some new hiking trails and backcountry campgrounds, along with a new campground on North Manitou Island. The preferred plan also calls for improvements to various parking lots, picnic areas and the possibility of day trip ferry service to North Manitou Island.
There’s also the suggestion of a future scenic road or a biking/hiking trail through the park, but not within the 20-year life of the plan. So why bother mentioning the idea? Because the park service plans to keep acquiring property from willing sellers along M-22 in the hope that the scenic road or bike path will be possible some 25 years from now.
Obviously, a lot of work has gone into the plan, and if you didn’t get your two cents in, you can’t blame the park. Check it out -- you own the place, after all, as a citizen of the United States of America. You can download the plan on a link at www.nps.gov/slbe.

Some Sleeping Bear facts:
• Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore was created by an act of Congress in 1970, with the late Sen. Phil Hart championing the park. Today, more than one million people visit the park each year.
• Including North and South Manitou islands, the 35-mile-long park comprises 71,291 acres. It includes some 350 historic buildings from the farming era.
• There are 100 miles of hiking trails in the park. It also offers some of Northern Michigan’s most popular beaches, including Good Harbor, Otter Creek, Platte River, Peterson, and many remote stretches known only to locals.
• The park’s last general management plan was created in 1979. The plans are meant to look only 20 years into the future, so the current plan is long outdated. Since 1979, the park has added the lakeshore at Bow Lakes, Miller Hill, and the Crystal River, along with many indvidual parcels.
 
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