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
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 email@example.com.
The EA can also be downloaded from the Pictured Rocks
web site at www.nps.gov/piro 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 http://www.nps.gov/piro/pphtml/newseventsdetail4330.html.
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
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