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Improving Boat Access at the Manitou Islands

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore » Improving Boat Access at the Manitou Islands » Document List

The National Park Service proposes to improve boat access at the Manitou Islands at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore through the repair or replacement of the docks serving each island.

The purpose of the project is to provide safe and consistent boat access to the unique visitor experiences at North and South Manitou Islands by developing sustainable and resilient solutions to longstanding issues.

The project is needed because shifting sands, part of a natural process known as littoral drift, have caused sand to accumulate around the existing docks, requiring regular dredging and improvements at the docks on both islands for continued access. High water levels in the lake and lack of ice cover in the last few years have worsened shoreline erosion and caused issues at the docks.

North and South Manitou Islands are located in Lake Michigan, 12 and 16 miles west of Leland, MI, respectively. The islands are only accessible by private boat or passenger ferry. Sand accumulation around the docks has affected visitor access, especially via the ferry service. At South Manitou Island, the park has extended the existing dock in an effort to provide access in deeper water, but continued sand accumulation threatens to limit access. At North Manitou Island, sediment accumulation has resulted in a lack of functional access to the dock twice in the last three years and requires frequent, costly, and difficult dredging efforts.

Contact Information

Anthony Paladino, Environmental Protection Specialist