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E-M:/ Save Leelanau State Park

News from Michigan Sierra Club
For more information, contact Lynn Livingston, 810-423-1458

Issue:  The Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum (formerly Foundation) Director has developed a very ambitious 15-year plan, which, if carried through, would drastically impact the fragile ecosystem throughout Leelanau State Park and could cause closing of part of the park itself.  The area is a resting stop on a major flyway for migratory birds.  Highlights of the plan are:

Status:   A local group from Northport organized the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Foundation (now Museum) with a goal of preserving the lighthouse.  An operating agreement was entered into between the DNR and the Foundation to maintain and operate the lighthouse.  Several years ago, the board of directors hired a full time director to run the organization.  The old board members have been voted out and a new board installed.  The Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum has an ambitious 15-year plan to develop the tip of the Leelanau peninsula.  The lighthouse sits on 14 acres of federal land leased to the DNR for a park.  The Museum wants the 14 acres deeded directly to them, using a process called legislative transfer, so it may be developed.  They have been working for several months with Congressman Stupak's staff to expedite the legislative transfer. Normally, unwanted federal land would pass directly to the state.  Loss of the 14 acres by the State Park would mean closing the campground, picnic area and organizational camping area.

The operating agreement between the Museum and DNR has lapsed, because the DNR would not give in to the Lighthouse Museum demands.  The DNR refused and the agreement has expired.  The DNR is presently drafting a new agreement that will cover not only the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, but also several other lighthouses around the state of Michigan.  The DNR’s position is that the lighthouse and the land should stay within the state park system.

In September 1998, the Foundation cut trees and brush in an area approximately 200 x 75 feet near Lake Michigan, to provide better “views” of the lake for visitors, in violation of the operating agreement.  No permits were issued for the cutting.

Update:  Because of public pressure, Leelanau Township has called a special meeting for Wednesday night, July 26, at 6 pm at the township hall in Northport.  The GTL Museum will present their plan to the public.  Anyone concerned with the future of leelanau State Park should plan to attend and make their views known.

Goal:  Convince the GTLM to drop the plan for development and expansion of the lighthouse museum.  Maintain the status quo at the lighthouse and Leelanau State Park.

Action:  Call today and express your views on this issue.  The Leelanau peninsula could become another Whitefish Point, with much worse impact.

Congressman Bart Stupak    202-225-4735
Leelanau Township               231-386-5138
Village of Northport               231-386-5182
GT Lighthouse Museum        231-386-7195

Lynn Livingston