Those of us in the Twin Cities area will have the opportunity to listen and ask questions about the long term management plan for our favorite park tomorrow night at the REI in Bloomington from 6-8pm. You can read all about it in the link to the plan on the park website and Chad Dally, writing for the Ashland Daily Press, has a great overview of the alternative proposals. The more people that show up, the better the dialogue. Also, if you are planning on attending it would be really valuable to do some homework. The two links above have both an overview and very detailed information and good, well thought out questions always improve the dialogue and also give the folks from the park valuable feedback on what we, the kayaking public, think about the future of the park. But do make an effort to show up, even if only to listen to the give and take and show your support for the park. Written comments can be sent as well until the end of October. Non participation, in my mind, disqualifies a person from any complaining down the road. My friend Woody is ruthless about this participation/complaining paradigm. When people on either end of our dysfunctional political spectrum start to complain about this or that he always asks if they voted. A negative answer always results in the same response: "Then all you need to do is shut the f*#k up". Show up, listen, ask a question or two, and retain your god given American right to complain.
In a somewhat related planning item, the local kayak clubs among others, received an email from the Bayfield County Committee for Responsible Land Use two weeks ago. Apparently a developer from the Twin Cities thinks the area needs a 400 acre exclusive gated playground, Shadow Wood Landing, for the wealthy, complete with an airstrip capable of handling small jets. I don't think it will handle the B-17 above but jets do need a long runway. This would be located on a parcel in the Town of Russell, which is the township that the Little Sand Bay facilities are located in. There are a number of good reasons why this is a bad idea and they can be explored on the website that the Committee has created. I guess I thought a luxury community with an airstrip would be a pretty good description of part of Madeline Island but I guess they need a gate around the new thing to keep the riff raff out. At the open water swim a few weeks back, one of the locals explained that on Madeline, the millionaires attempted to replace the locals and now the billionaires are attempting the same thing with the millionaires. Its gotta be tough to maintain status in the upper strata of the economy and I'm certainly dripping with empathy for those poor SOB's. Given all the reasons not to proceed with this thing, my little pet peeve must seem fairly piddling. I hate noise.
I love the scenery and rugged terrain of the north shore of Lake Superior. What I hate however, is hearing Hwy 61 traffic noise all the time, especially Harley pipes. As a guy who owned two Harleys (granted they were not real Harley's, they were AMF Harleys) I appreciate that 'Milwaukee rumble' as much as the next guy. But if you replace your stock Harley muffler with a glass pack or bore holes in the stock muffler to make it louder, you, sir or ma'am, are an asshole. Likewise if your motorboat is louder than an ore freighter or a tour boat, I'm afraid I will need to lump you into that category of a lowly bodily part as well. I won't even get into jet ski's, I'm still advocating an open season with a bag limit of two on those things. Fortunately, they are banned in the AINL but banning noise is much more problematic. One of the elements of wilderness discussed in the Draft Management Plan is the natural soundscape. I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that most visitors to the park would rather hear a loon than a Learjet 45 throttling back to land or cranking up to take off. And with predominant westerly winds in the summer you can bet that most approaches will be over the islands. Just look at the map.
This issue, the natural soundscape, will be one of many discussed tomorrow night at the public meeting. We are all hoping for a large, informed, and talkative crowd.
PS In this mornings Ashland Daily Press, Chad Dally has an update on the first two public meetings and the comments and feedback made so far.