Park service releases plan for public review regarding use of personal watercraft

MUNISING — The National Park Service has released an Environmental Assessment regarding the use of personal watercraft on the surface of Lake Superior, within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The EA is available for public review at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/piropwc, according to a news release from NPS.

The plan was required as a result of a federal court ruling issued in July of 2010. The planning process evaluated regulation of PWCs, and not any other type of watercraft. Under NPS regulations, PWCs are defined as watercraft which are usually less than 16 feet in length, use an inboard internal combustion engine powering a water jet pump as its primary source of propulsion, and is intended to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel.

The NPS’s preferred alternative in the EA would allow the continued limited use of PWC on the surface of Lake Superior within the park, between the park’s western boundary near Sand Point, to the east end of Miners Beach. The preferred alternative also includes a requirement to meet 2010 EPA emissions standards. Other alternatives examined in the EA include expanding use of PWC to the entire length of the Pictured Rocks shoreline or banning PWC use entirely.

The plan is available for review and comment at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/piropwc.

Hard copies are available for review at the Pictured Rocks Headquarters, N8391 Sand Point Road, Munising. Public open houses will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 11 in Grand Marais at the Burt Township Community Center, E21738 Brazel St. and 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 12 in Munising at the Alger Heritage Center, 1496 Washington St.

Anyone who wishes to comment on this EA, may enter comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/piropwc. People may also mail comments to: Superintendent, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, P.O. Box 40, Munising, MI, 49862, or hand-deliver to park headquarters at N8391 Sand Point Road, Munising.

Written comments will also be accepted during public meetings on the EA. All comments must be received by the end of the public comment period, which will be Nov. 2.. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any format other than those specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.