General Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement
I am delighted to announce the release of the Final General Management Plan/Wilderness Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It is the culmination of a great deal of time, effort, energy, and input from members of the public; American Indian tribes; other federal, state, and local agencies and community members; and the National Park Service (NPS).
The Final GMP for the Apostle Islands includes a preferred alternative that has been vetted through the extensive civic engagement we all participated in over the past 6 years. It is faithful to the intent of the National Lakeshore's 1970 enabling legislation and the subsequent addition of Long Island and the light stations in 1986, as well as the establishment by Congress of the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness in 2004 . Having heard many times that the public doesn't want to see major changes to the Lakeshore, the GMP generally continues the current management direction with some minor changes to increase the opportunity for more people to have an island experience. It provides for strong natural and cultural resource protection of this very special resource while at the same time providing for a diversity of appropriate recreational opportunities in and out of designated wilderness. The GMP also provides specific management direction for a number of important issues that arose early in the planning process, including the future of the light stations, life estates and expired use and occupancy properties, visitor centers, and the park's operational and administrative facilities on the mainland.
The National Park Service values your interest in continuing to enjoy a meaningful connection with the Lakeshore, and we look forward to implementing this plan in the public interest with your support. As the life of this GMP is expected to be 15-20 years, we can expect budgets to ebb and flow during that period. The NPS will do our best to be true to the intent of the GMP, but it may be many years before some of the projects in the plan are funded and implemented. In some cases, there will be additional opportunities for civic engagement to refine the details while remaining consistent with the GMP direction.
The National Park Service will soon prepare and issue its "Record of Decision" (ROD) for this project, which will be published in the Federal Register.
On behalf of the entire National Park Service family, please accept our most sincere gratitude for your commitment and dedication to this process over the past 6 years. It is time now to come together in the work ahead to implement the plan!