Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Aspects of the Omnibus Public Lands Act

cliffs at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
cliffs at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (photo by JHY)

based in part on a news article in the Grand Rapids Press, "Federal act to protect Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior, other public lands creates buzz," by Howard Myerson, April 4, 2009

Monday, President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Act, and their was a collective sigh of relief from all who have been waiting a long time for various provisions of the 160 bills that made up the Act.

Along the North Country Trail, the closest determination about a parcel of land is the 11,740-acre Beaver Basin Wilderness at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior. The trail does not actually traverse this particular section, although it is nearby. And there won't be any change in the way the Beaver Basin is managed. It's actually been managed as wilderness since 2004 when it was identified as potential designated wilderness.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the federal Wilderness Act in 1964. It was a landmark legislation that defined the term for the American public and created the National Wilderness Preservation System.

The North Country Trail passes through four such designated wilderness areas: McCormick in Michigan's UP, Rainbow Lake and Porcupine in Wisconsin, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. The Rock River Canyon Wilderness, also in the UP, is directly in the route of the NCT, but the NCT has been denied passage there, and must officially bypass it. Hikers, however, often choose to hike through rather than follow a road walk.

Of course, the biggest effect of the new Act is Willing Seller Authority for the National Park Service. Bruce Mathews, NCTA Executive director, said that provision long has been needed. "It's the first of two steps," he said. Getting Congress to authorize funding comes next.

See North Country Trail Gains Willing Seller Authority
See Michigan Rep Wants to Remove Beaver Basin from Wilderness Proposal

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