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Kettles Trail Plan

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The National Park Service (NPS) at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) proposed to develop a trail system ("Kettles Trail") on federal lands in the Bow Lakes area of the National Lakeshore. The Bow Lakes area is a detached section of the National Lakeshore, created when a 1982 amendment of the National Lakeshore's enabling legislation authorized a boundary revision that added it to the park. Currently only the southern half of the Bow Lakes area is NPS property and the trail system will be confined to these federal lands lying south of Lanham Road. There are currently no National Lakeshore developments in this area.

The 2009 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Final General Management Plan / Wilderness Study / Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) proposed a small parking area and a loop hiking trail to facilitate visitor use (including nature observation and backcountry hiking on NPS-owned lands). Development of these facilities would fulfill the intent of the GMP and would provide opportunities that do not currently exist in this area. The objectives of the project are to provide: 1) user facilities that meet the public need and are within the capacity of the National Park Service to maintain, 2) facilities that are sensitive to, and protect, the natural features of this area, 3) user facilities that respect adjacent private property, 4) interpretation of natural features, and 5) research and educational opportunities.

The concept is to develop a trail system for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, a small parking area, adequate signing, and interpretive information.

An Environmental Assessment (EA) for this project was posted for review May 22 - June 30, 2014.

A Finding of No Significant Impact was approved on October 10, 2014.

The NPS selected a modified version of the Preferred Alternative (Alternative 4) presented in the EA.

Under the Selected Alternative, the Kettles Trail will include a single track primitive trail system of 2.2 miles including a loop and a spur trail to two bog overlooks. A new gravel parking facility (6-8 cars) would be developed off Baatz Road near the intersection with Fritz Road. The plan also allows for the possible construction of a universally accessible trail segment from the parking area and a vault toilet.

In a response to public comments, several proposed trail facilities near Lanham Road, including another small formal parking lot and a short universally accessible trail segment and overlook were eliminated in the Selected Alternative.


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Kevin Skerl (231) 326-4750