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History’s Gem of the Month - June 2008

Pictured Rocks Proposal

While combing through the museum’s archives, I recently came across the original proposal for creating the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which was established by legislation passed in 1966. Grand Marais is the eastern entrance to the national park. I will relay interesting information from the report beginning this month, and continuing in the next month or so. For brevity, I will edit and shorten some of the sections.

Introduction and Summary

The National Park Service first became concerned with the Pictured Rocks area in 1957-58 during the Great Lakes Shoreline Recreation Area Survey. In the survey report released in 1960, the area was rated as one of the five areas on the Great Lakes of national significance. In June 1961, legislation was first introduced calling for establishment of the park.

The Pictured Rocks -- multicolored sandstone cliffs, 50 to 200 feet high, and stretching about 15 miles along the shore of Lake Superior -- have long been a major tourist attraction. But, although they are the dominant attraction of this region, people also come to see and enjoy the Grand Sable Banks and Dunes, the Beaver Basin, the picturesque inland lakes, and the numerous waterfalls.

With each season of the year having its own particular visitor attraction -- forest wildflowers in spring, cool forests and lakes in summer, yellow birches and scarlet sugar maples in autumn, and snowscapes in winter -- the area would no doubt receive year-round use.

The proposed lakeshore would be developed for the optimum use and enjoyment by the public. A minimum land area of approximately 28,000 acres, referred to as the shoreline zone, is deemed essential for protection, development and use of the primary features of the area. This shoreline zone is a continuous strip along Lake Superior, from Munising to Grand Marais, averaging about 1.4 mile in width.


The Department of the Interior recommends:

  1. Establishment, as a unit of the National Park System, of a Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore lying between Munising and Grand Marais, Michigan.
  2. Acquisition by the Federal Government of a 28,000-acrea lakeshore zone.
  3. Designation of a 39,000-acre buffer zone to provide protection of the watersheds and the forest setting.
  4. Construction by the National Park Service of a non-commercial scenic road to facilitate circulation within the lakeshore.
  5. Designation of the Beaver Basin as a natural area, containing only trails and minimum facilities necessary for the visitor’s enjoyment.
  6. Construction of a hiking trail along the entire length with hiker's campgrounds at convenient locations.
  7. Emphasis is given to providing public use facilities which encourage enjoyment through observation and appreciation of its natural values.
  8. Hunting and fishing in accordance with applicable Federal and state laws.


Private developments within the area are located principally at Miners Beach, Grand Sable, and Beaver Lakes. Of the 164 structures within the proposed lakeshore, 60 percent are seasonal cabins, 25 percent non-farm residence, 2 percent farms, 7 percent commercial, and 6 percent miscellaneous buildings.

Land Ownership

The proposed area would contain about 67,376 acres of land and inland lakes. About 6,320 acres of water in Lake Superior are included within the boundaries. Categories of land ownership are:

Owner Shoreline Zone Buffer Zone Total
Federal 781 1,572 2,353
State 5,140 14,911 20,051
Other Public 77 4 81
Private 22,440 20,868 43,126
Inland Water area     1,765
Lake Superior area     6,320

Total Acres of proposed National Lakeshore 73,696
Sable Lake

Note: To be continued next month

History's Gems Archives

May 2007
(The Telescope Story)

June 2007
(The Story of the Grand Marais "Meteor")

July 2007
(Hints on Hunting Glacial Agate Article)

August 2007
(Lake Superior Origin from 1957)

Fall 2007
(Tourist Information from the 1920s)

December 2007
(Lake Superior Editorial)

January 2008
(Grand Marais Tourist Signpost)

February 2008
(Unusual Wedding Invitation)

March 2008
(1915 Rules for Teachers)

April 2008
(Cedar Stump article from 1962)

May 2008
(Old Postcards)

June 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal Proposal-Part 1)

Summer 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 2)

Summer 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 3)

October 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 4)

November 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal-Part 5)

December 2008
(Agate Leaflet from 1927)

January 2009
(Old Postcards)

February 2009
(Snowstorm Article from 1988)

March 2009
(Lake Superior Agate Poem)

Spring 2009
(History of M77)

July 2009
(Axel Niemi Photo)

August 2009
(Ship Travel on Lake Superior)

September 2009
(Hints on Hunting and Finding Agates)

Fall 2009
(Hints on Hunting and Finding Agates Part 2)

February 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 1)

February 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 2)

April/May 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 3)

June 2010
(Box of Rocks Gets Diploma)

July 2010
(Shipwrecks at Agate Beach)

August/September 2010
(1958 Detroit News Article about Axel Niemi)

Fall 2010
(Reprint from the Douglas Houghton Expedition)

Winter 2011
(Old Postcards and Pictures)

Spring 2011
(1905 Grand Marais Article)

September 2011
(Michigan Log Marks)

March 2012
(John Keating)

January 2012
(Axel Remembered)

March 2012
(John Keating)

June 2012
(The Shark: Post 1)

September 2012
(The Shark: Post 2)

March 2013
(The Shark: Post 3)

August 2013
(All That Glitters. . .)

November 2013
(Excerpts from The Grand Marais Herald)

April 2014
(Souvenir View Book of Sault Ste. Marie)

September 2014
(Michigan Beach Stones)

February 2015
(Michiganís Mystic Dunes)

June 2015
(Vintage Grand Marais Photos)

November 2015
(Gitchee Agomowin)

June 2016
(Grand Marais Poems)

March 2017
(Logging Era Photos)

July 2017
(Jonas Hill Letters)

December 2017
(Seagull (Lost) Island, Grand Marais Bay)

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Gitche Gumee Museum.
E21739 Brazel Street
Grand Marais, Michigan 49839


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