||The National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore announces the completion of the Lake Michigan Overlooks Environmental Assessment with the signing of the "Finding of No Significant Impact" (FONSI) on November 2, 2009. The FONSI identifies the selected alternative and serves as the decision-making document for the project.
The alternative ultimately selected combines elements of the four alternatives described in the EA. The selected alternative includes construction of either a raised boardwalk (as in alternative C) or a tunnel (as in alternative D), on the perched dune, to connect the existing parking area with the new overlook platform. Since the impacts from construction of a raised boardwalk or a tunnel are very similar, the National Lakeshore will select the final design on factors other than environmental, such as cost, practicality, or feasibility during the engineering and design phase of the project. A future decision memorandum will identify the selected design.
From the new overlook platform, an elevated boardwalk would cross the top of the bluff face leading to Overlook 9 (as in alternatives C and D). Overlook 9 would be reconstructed in its existing location (as in alternatives C and D). It is intended that the route to Overlook 9 would be fully accessible under the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ability to fully comply with the requirements of ADA would be further examined during final design.
The existing trail would access Overlook 10 from Overlook 9. Overlook 10 would be reconstructed in its existing location, simultaneously with the reconstruction of Overlook 9. No new trails are proposed from the existing parking area to Overlook 10.