Saturday, August 22, 2009
Time for a plan
This is the first weekend in I can't remember how long when I woke up in my own bed and we're not paddling somewhere. But don't worry folks, in about an hour we're leaving for my sister and bro in law's cabin over in northwestern Wisconsin, kayaks and bikes strapped on the trusty VW wagon. This unaccustomed home life gives me a chance to enjoy a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. One of the things I need to read, study actually, showed up in the mail yesterday. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Draft General Management Plan - Wilderness Management Plan - Environmental Impact Statement is now plopped in a prominent spot next to the LazyBoy for some serious study.
I've just skimmed the document so far but it would appear that four alternative plans are being proposed, with plan #2 being the 'preferred plan'. You can read all about them here. Public comment is open until October 23 and there will be public hearings around the area including Bayfield, Red Cliff, Superior, the Twin Cities, and Madison. I'm glad that I'm on the public comment end rather than the policy formulation end. My guess is that every advocacy group in the area will be crawling out of the woodwork. The Cigarette Boat Racing Association will be battling with the Wilderness Society, the ADA activists will want elevator shafts cobbled on to the lighthouses, sustainability advocates will want the entire park operation conveted to solar-wind-granola power, and I'm sure we kayakers will be able to come up with an off the wall idea or two as well. And its not just the public, its the Feds themselves, with their dizzying maze of often conflicting acts and regulations. The Wilderness Act, NPS Management Policies, The Organic Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, Invasive Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act...........OK, I'll stop now.......all need to be taken into account. It will be a very interesting and likely contentious process.
Right now my requests are modest. A couple of picnic tables at York, an outhouse at Lighthouse Bay, and self service underwater beer vending stations near each island campsite. As I read the document I'm sure I'll come up with a couple more. It will be an interesting process and I hope that there is productive commentary. The old saying, 'if you enjoy law and sausage, its best not to watch how either is made' might apply here but I trust, like sausage and at least a couple of laws, that the result will be a good one.