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ISLE ROYALE WILDERNESS NEEDS YOUR HELP



ISLE ROYALE WILDERNESS NEEDS YOUR HELP

        The National Park Service is well into developing a General
Management Plan for Isle Royale(island) National Park in Lake Superior.
This is the first GMP for this park and it is extremely important that
nonmotorized zones
in the waters of Lake Superior within Park boundaries be established
now.  When finalized, the GMP will establish the direction of use and
wilderness protection on Isle Royale for at least the next 15 to 20
years.

        Isle Royale’s land base, inclusive of interior lakes and
streams, is
mostly federally designated wilderness.  Surrounding Lake Superior
waters within Park boundaries are not designated wilderness, but NPS has
the authority to designate the types of use allowed.

        During the first stages of the GMP planning process NPS
presented
five alternative scenarios, a few of which included motorized sensitive
(motorboats allowed but restricted to no-wake speed) and nonmotorized
zones
for certain bays, coves, and channels because of increasing user
conflicts,
and to protect nesting water birds such as Loons.  Many public comments
were submitted both for and against nonmotorized zones,
and motor boaters came out in force in an attempt to prevent any
nonmotorized designations.

        Of all NPS scenarios presented, the one referred to as the
wilderness alternative (alternative C) had the largest non-motorized
area,
but even this was extremely modest. Out of 396,500 acres of Lake
Superior
waters
lying within the Park’s boundaries, it proposed only 2,333 acres as
nonmotorized and 9,777 acres as motorized sensitive.

        A Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement 
has
been issued, as of March 1998, recommending a proposed action that’s not
too bad except for the puny nonmotorized zones.  The proposed
nonmotorized area is now down to only 195 acres, a 92% reduction from
the already extremely modest wilderness alternative.

        Even though the proposed non-motorized zones are so
insignificant, and
99.95% of Isle Royale’s Lake Superior waters are still open to
motorboats under the proposed action, the Isle Royale Boaters
Association and associated interests are up in arms.  They are demanding
the complete elimination of nonmotorized zones for Isle Royale.  With
all of Lake Superior’s 20 million acres of surface water open to them,
motorboaters still oppose having less than a couple hundred acres of the
Lake within Isle Royale preserved for nonmotorized activities.

        Those of us who prefer the smell of spruce and moose over that
of
oil and gasoline need to counter the motorboaters’ demands,
demonstrating
strong support for both the authority of NPS to zone waters nonmotorized
(there are some claiming it’s not constitutional), and for greatly
expanded nonmotorized zones for Isle Royale’s GMP.

        Since this is a national park, it’s a national issue, and your
help is
important wherever you live.  There are three main things you can do:

1.)  Write a letter.  Written comments to the NPS supporting expanded
nonmotorized zones are crucial.    Your letter need not be long.  Even
just one or two short paragraphs stating your position is very helpful.
Write to the NPS stating that:

•The nonmotorized zones proposed in the draft GMP are seriously
inadequate.
•Nonmotorized zones need to be greatly expanded, at least to the level
outlined in the wilderness alternative (alternative C), or more.

Supporting arguments in your letter can include:

 •Nonmotorized zones help to provide ecological protection of aquatic
and shoreline environments from the pollution and disturbance of
motorboat use (for great information on motorboat pollution visit Earth
Island Institute’s Bluewater Network web site at
(<http://www.earthisland.org/ei/bw>).

 •Nonmotorized zones will help preserve quiet, solitude, and the overall
wilderness experience for park users.  Any personal anecdotes of
conflicts you have experienced with motorboaters while on Isle Royale
are important to include.

•Neither ecological protection or preservation of wilderness values can
be achieved with 99.95% of Isle Royale’s Lake Superior waters left
motorized.

Comments will be accepted through May 15, 1998.  Send letters to:

Isle Royale General Management Plan Project Leader
National Park Service, Denver Service Center
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225

Comments can also be phoned to Isle Royale Superintendent Douglas
Barnard at 906-482-0984, or sent via e-mail from the comment box at
<http://www.nps.gov/planning/current.htm>.

        Sending a copy of your letter, or just a brief note to your
congressional representative or senator would also be helpful.  So far
they have reportedly heard mainly from motorboaters.

2.)  In April, attend the Isle Royale GMP public meeting nearest you and
speak out in favor of expanded nonmotorized zones. This, too, is
critically important.  Dates and locations are:

•April 22:  St Paul, MN, University of Minnesota, St. Paul Student
Center - North Star Ballroom, 2017 Buford Ave.
•April 23:  Duluth, MN, Radisson Hotel, 505 W. Superior St., Duluth.
•April 24:  Houghton, MI, Houghton High School Auditorium and
Multipurpose Room, 1603 Gundlach Road.
•April 27:  Ann Arbor, MI, Cobblestone Farm Center, 2781 Packard Road.

All meetings will have the same time format, which is:

5:30 - 6:30pm - open house
6:30 - 8:00pm - formal presentation by NPS, and public comment
8:00 - 9:00pm - open house

3.)  Circulate a petition to get signatures in support of nonmotorized
zones.  You can get petitions from CALM, P.O.Box 391, Houghton, MI
49931; <calm@portup.com>.  The petitions can also be copied and passed
out
to friends.  Petitions need to be returned to CALM by May 11, 1998.

For those who want more information, copies of the Draft General
Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement can be obtained from
the
NPS, or viewed on the Internet at
<http://www.nps.gov/planning/current.htm>.  Thanks for your
consideration of this issue and any help you can provide.

CALM (Citizens Allied for Limiting Motors)