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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposes To Allow Personal Watercraft In Lakeshore Waters

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Seven years after a federal judge tossed out rules governing personal watercraft use at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, the National Park Service has come up with a revised set of rules that would continue to allow the watercraft in park waters.

When U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled back in July 2010 on a lawsuit targeting personal watercraft rules in both Pictured Rocks and Gulf Islands National Seashore, she questioned "(W)hy has NPS issued rules allowing jet ski use in two beautiful and pristine national parks, acknowledging that such use will impact, to varying degrees, water quality, air quality, wildlife, animal habitats, soundscapes, visitor use and safety, etc., when the users of jet skis are perfectly free to enjoy their vehicles in other, equally accessible areas, without threatening the serenity, the tranquility--indeed, the majesty--of these two national treasures?"

The lakeshore's preferred alternative in the new environmental assessment would "allow the continued limited use of PWC on the surface of Lake Superior within the park, between the park’s western boundary near Sand Point, to the east end of Miners Beach," the Park Service said Sunday in a release. "The preferred alternative also includes a requirement to meet 2010 EPA emissions standards. Other alternatives examined in the EA include expanding use of PWC to the entire length of the Pictured Rocks shoreline or banning PWC use entirely."

You can find the EA at this site on the National Park Service's Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website.

Public open houses on the document are scheduled to be held from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. October 11 in Grand Marais, Michigan, (Burt Township Community Center, E21738 Brazel Street) and 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. October 12 in Munising, Michigan, (Alger Heritage Center, 1496 Washington St.). 

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