Public input sought for Sand Point restoration project

North Central UP

MUNISING,Mich. (WJMN) – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is seeking public input on a restoration project for Sand Point.

Sand Point is a popular beach area in the western portion of the national lakeshore. During the early 1990s placement of a large rock rubble-mound revetment measuring approximately 650 linear feet by 32 feet wide.

According to Susan Reece, Chief of Interpretation & Education, the revetment was installed at the lakeshore initially to protect the shoreline from erosion.

“Sand Point is a sand spit geologic formation in the National Lakeshore, it’s in Munising and it’s across the channel from nearby Grand Island,” said Reece. “Sand spits like this are formed by longshore currents on Lake Superior, back in the 1980s the Lake Superior water level reached an all-time high for that time resulting in a lot of erosion and water inundation of the Sand Point shoreline and there was concern at the time that the road would wash out as well as the historic coast guard building which is now the park headquarters.”

Park Headquarters and former Coast Guard Station at Sand Point. Photo Courtesy of Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore.

The revetment no longer serves its purpose and was previously being left alone. Now they will put forth efforts to allow the area to return to its natural state.

“Over time that revetment has done its job but it’s also broken down just by wave action and ice freezing and thawing action and today it’s mostly covered by sand sometimes we get some of this fall or winter storms it erodes a little bit of the shoreline exposing the rock and usually spring summer the sand has been depositing back on top of it,” said Reece.

Reece says it’s natural for the shoreline to change over time due to currents picking up and depositing sand in different areas.

“The park has decided through several analyses and conceptual designs that the park is kind of going to do nothing except when rock is exposed and rocks are sticking out the park will remove the rocks with the goal of restoring the area and allow natural sand deposition processes to happen,” said Reece.

Rock revetment at Sand Point. Photo Courtesy of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Reece says there’s a chance that nothing will ever be done with the rocks if they do not pose an issue. If the rocks become exposed they will either be buried or removed. If they are removed, they could be used in other areas of the park or put someplace out of the way.

In instances that they would be working on removing a rock or covering it with sand, they will give notice of the project.

The National Parks encourage feedback for many of their projects because they want everyone to have a voice according to Reece. She says those interested in commenting can find the project on the Planning, Environment & Public Comment website for the National Park Service.

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