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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore seeks public input for Sand Point Restoration Project

The public comment period runs from Jan. 4 through Feb. 5.
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 2:42 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 5:23 PM EST
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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - Sand Point, a prominent coastal feature and beach destination located near the westernmost boundary of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, was modified in the early 1990s with the placement of a large rock rubble-mound revetment measuring approximately 650 linear feet by 32 feet wide.

The purpose of the revetment installation was to protect against erosion on Sand Point Road and the historic U.S. Coast Guard Station / Lakeshore Headquarters after a period of high water. Over time, the revetment has altered the natural retention of sand at Sand Point, generally decreasing the size of the sand spit over time. The revetment has degraded and is now mostly buried in sand. Sand deposition is once again occurring.

The National Park Service has completed several analyses and conceptual designs to assess how best to modify the revetment and allow the site to restore to its natural condition. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore plans to leave the revetment in place and allow natural processes to occur, acting only when one or more revetment stones become exposed above the sand or lake water level.

“The Parks Service did some studies with the Army Corps of Engineers and another firm and it came down to, don’t do anything, the sand is being deposited back on there, it’s building back up and we’ll just kind of let nature do its thing when it comes to the coastline,” said Susan Reece, Chief of Interpretation and Education at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

When/if portions of the rock revetment become exposed and accessible, lakeshore staff will either remove the rock from the revetment or deposit sand over the rock, effectively burying it. In the first instance, removed rocks would be taken from the site and used elsewhere by the park. For reburying the rock, sand would come from the nearby boat ramp and historic boat dock on Lake Superior, where lakeshore staff remove accumulated sand on an as needed basis, under a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE)/Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) permit.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has consulted with the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office and its tribal partners on this project.

The project would be of short duration in a developed area and would occur during daylight hours. Both operations would likely require the use of heavy equipment on the beach, such as a backhoe or front-end loader and dump truck. Burying rocks with sand may take multiple trips, anticipated to be no more than ten at one time, depending on the size and number of exposed rocks.

Lakeshore staff will notify the public prior to any rock or sand removal so visitation can be planned around operations.

The public is invited to comment online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) here, https://parkplanning.nps.gov/sandpointrevetment, between January 4 and February 5, 2021.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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