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Re: E-M:/ Threatened shorelines

------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Christopher Graham ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi, Mr. Reader --

I am not certain which meeting this man attended....

But, at the last Master Planning Committee meeting for these three parks, in Alpena, in January -- at which draft zoning plans were reviewed -- I think it is fair to say the overwhelming sentiment of members of the committee, MDNR staff, and its consultants is to leave Newegon and Thompson's Harbor as natural parks, leave most of Rockport as a natural park, and concentrate development that would serve all three (meaning that which could have strong negative impact on natural features) in the vicinity of Rockport's harbor.

It would therefore be entirely misleading to say in this forum that "development" is planned for these parks.  They are, indeed, very interesting and valuable places!

This thinking departs very greatly (toward honoring and sustaining natural features on these parks) from all previous, and currently applicable master plans!

Perhaps for some reason he was suggesting prohibiting those things that are completely compatible with sustaining natural features such as trails and pathways, viewpoints, minimal signage, minimal parking areas, widely dispersed rustic camping sites, hiking, non-motorized hunting, etc.)?  If that was his position then I would suspect most folks involved would find such a position as unreasonable, impractical, and ill-advised.

I assume he was just misinformed about the larger plans......but I must respond to the post so that others in this forum are not misinformed.

It should be noted that there has been a gigantic sea change of people and approaches within the MDNR, in recent years (I have been closely involved with them in this kind of planning for three decades).  Natural features and natural ecosystems are recognized, are incorporated into plans from the outset, and to the (woefully inadequate) extent funds allow -- are cared for via stewardship efforts.  There is an increasing effort at all levels and in all endeavors of the Department to have a keen, state-wide view of our natural features and natural communities -- to make certain we are holding dear the full complement of our natural resources.

I would suggest that we should be applauding both the planning process for these three parks, and the very likely outcome.


At 03:58 PM 2/20/2008, Chris Reader wrote:
Enviro-Mich message from "Chris Reader" <xopher@tigerburningbright.net>

The letter below is from today's Bay City Times. Anyone have any
perspective on this?


Christopher Reader


People's forum
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Threatened shorelines

Voice: Gary Smith, Ossineke

I attended a meeting held by the DNR to inform us of their new plans
for three of the last large pieces of Huron shoreline in Northern
Michigan near Alpena - Thompson's Harbor, Rockport and Negwegon Park.
The state has decided to move forward with ''developing'' these
properties, and these last beautiful pieces of pristine shoreline
property will be changed forever. Even though countless numbers of
people have enjoyed their wild, nearly untouched (except for Rockport
harbor and quarry) beauty for decades, it is about to be developed in
the name of ''stewardship.''

Nearly the entire Northern Michigan shoreline has been developed, with
the exception of these properties and a few small pieces of public
land. These lands have given many an opportunity to get away from the
crowds to enjoy nature without walking through a commercialized
''outdoor museum.''

Instead of developing Thompson Harbor or Negwegon, why not focus on
Rockport, which already has a boat launch and would be a great place
for a campground.

As state parks and campgrounds are hurting for funding and some being
closed, it does make one wonder.

I believe that development of these lands will result in the loss of
pristine woods and shoreline. Surrounding properties will be annexed
into the park from Ossineke to South Point, requiring a $24 permit
fee. You will soon be able to hike down the beach to find a campground
city and one more ''wild'' place exploited by the state in the name of
''preservation'' for financial gain. The DNR must complete phase one
of this project by March 1, or they will lose the Federal funding, so
things are moving quickly. Please voice your concerns to your
congressman and Keith Cheli, district planner for the DNR at

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Christopher L. Graham, ASLA
(734) 975-7800 (O)
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