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Support Quiet Hiking and Boating at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! Please send a letter to the Park Service to stop jet skis from "buzzing" Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. (Points are included below).


Approaching Lake Superior on the Chapel Basin trail, you hear a loud whine in the distance. Is it a mosquito on steroids? No, too loud for that. As you get closer to the lake, the whine gets louder and louder, oscillating up and down. When you’re close enough to the shore to see down to the lake from the Lakeshore Trail, it becomes obvious that the noise you began hearing more than a quarter mile from the lake is coming from a couple of personal watercraft (PWCs), or jetskis, circling endlessly off shore.

If you’ve ever had this experience while hiking at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you can look forward to at least one season of quiet. The National Park Service is preparing an environmental assessment, which will help determine whether personal watercraft use should continue at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Since the environmental assessment is not yet completed, the Lakeshore must close to PWCs the surface waters of Lake Superior within ¼ mile of shor on April 22, 2002. (An appropriate date, since April 22 is Earth Day; probably not an intentional selection by the Park Service.) Inland waters in Pictured Rocks are currently closed to PWCs due to a limit on the size of motors that can be used on inland lakes. However, for the ban of PWCs to continue, the Park Service must select the "no-action" alternative from the choices that are under consideration for the environmental assessment.

Under Alternative A, PWC use would continue within the lakeshore’s 1/4 mile jurisdictional boundary on Lake Superior. Under Alternative B, PWC use would continue except for areas designated as primitive in the draft or final general management plan. The draft environmental assessment (EA) on PWC use will be probably be released in late summer, 2002. This will be followed by a 30 day comment period.

If you would like a copy of the draft EA, write to Superintendent Karen C. Gustin, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, P.O. Box 40, Munising, MI 49862 or The EA can also be downloaded from the Pictured Rocks web site at when it is completed. Depending upon the outcome of the environmental assessment, the park could reopen to personal watercraft use as early as the spring of 2003. More information is available from a Park Service news release at

If you would like to see quiet hiking and boating continue at Pictured Rocks beyond this summer, please write to Superintendent Gustin at the address above and support the "no action" alternative for the Personal Watercraft Environmental Assessment. The more specific and personal you can make your letter, the more impact it will have. Some points you might want to mention in your letter are: "Any impact PWC use has had upon hiking or boating trips you have made in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore."

The level of pollution from PWCs is very high. Up to 30 percent of their gas/oil mixture ends up in the water. The industry claims that newer models will pollute less. However, there hasn’t been rapid progress and older models will be around for quite a while. "The noise from PWC use can disturb wildlife and limits the ability of park users to experience wildlife. Sensitive species such as the piping plover use the Lake Superior shoreline. The Park Service should make efforts to preserve habitat for endangered and threatened species in the shoreline under its jurisdiction. "There are a limited number of places in Michigan for quiet hiking or boating.

There are 1200 boat launch facilities maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources according to the 1995-1996 Boat Launch Directory. Only 25 are designated for non-motorized access only. Banning PWC use from the shoreline jurisdiction of Pictured Rocks will help maintain a quality recreational experience in the park. Please send a letter to the Park Service bringing up the points above and more of your own. If you have some friends who share your opinions but may not be motivated to write, print out the attached post cards, mail one in and pass out the other three to friends. Alert and post card provided by John Rebers, Marquette, Michigan

This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.

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