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History’s Gem of the Month - October 2008

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: A Proposal -- Part 4


Access and Circulation

A scenic road would make accessible much of the now remote shoreline and permit visitors to tour the entire length of the park. In places, this road would run along the rim of the uplands overlooking the important natural and scenic areas, leaving them road-free yet visible. Associated trails would lead into these areas (Minors, Chapel and Beaver Basins). Spurs to the main road would take the visitor to other superb vistas, important features, and within a short walking distance of waterfalls.

A trail system, complementing the interpretive road, would provide unlimited opportunities for exploring the lakeshore. This system would traverse the area from east to west, but shorter loop trails would also be provided. In most cases the trails would be completely away from roads, particularly in the Miners Basin, along the Pictured Rocks from Mosquito Harbor to Chapel Beach, the Beaver Basin, Au Sable Point and the Grand Sable Dunes.

An important means of viewing the scenic features of the shoreline would be by excursion boats plying the offshore waters of Lake Superior.

Camping and Picnicking

12 Mile Beach

Visitors could enjoy the national lakeshore through camping and picnicking experiences. Three campgrounds available by road are proposed, the major one along Pine Bluff Beach. Here, vegetation, substratum, exposure and proximity to Lake Superior are favorable factors. Other campgrounds are proposed for Grand Sable Dunes and Miners Basin. Four primitive campgrounds containing Appalachian-type shelters are planned to serve hikers. Tentative, these sites would be at Mosquito Harbor, Beaver Lake, Pine Bluff Beach and Au Sable Point.

Beach Use

Swimming in the cold (54 degrees) water of Lake Superior is never likely to be a popular pastime for any but the hardiest. Nevertheless, swimming is possible at several places. The shallow waters along the sandy west shore of Sand Point are currently used by swimmers. The small beach at the north end of Grand Sable Lake is, and could continue to be, used for swimming in conjunction with a proposed contact station; picnic ground and dunes access point.

The wealth of sandy beaches in the proposed Lakeshore provides space for several beach uses. Twelve miles of undeveloped beach stretch between the east end of the Pictured Rocks and Au Sable Point, and would be available for beachcombing, hiking and sunbathing.

Boating and Canoeing

The open waters of Lake Superior are too dangerous for small boats but some of the inland lakes should be excellent for boating and canoeing. Water skiing and boating on Grand Sable Lake and canoeing in some of the more remote lakes could be popular activities for lakeshore visitors.

Hunting and Fishing

Fishermen now seek the streams and lakes in the Pictured Rocks Region because the combination of cool climate and good supply of pure water makes them excellent for trout and pike. Fishing is especially popular when the steelhead trout swim up the streams in the spring to spawn. Hunting for rugged grouse, whitetail deer and other game in season would be permitted in designate areas in accordance with Federal and state laws, except in zones which the Secretary of the Interior may designate for reasons of public safety, administration, or public use and enjoyment.

Winter Use

People would visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the winter to participate in a variety of recreational activities. Some of the inland lakes are ideal for ice boating and fishing. The Beaver Basin area could provide opportunities for tobogganing and downhill and cross-country skiing. Also, wildlife can be observed throughout the winter season. Another recreational activity that could occur is winter camping. Many people also would probably visit the lakeshore to view the northwoods winter landscape from the scenic drive.

Early Boat Tour Photo


The quality of the visitor’s experience depends upon the degree and depth to which he understands the various aspects and interplay of all the values within the lakeshore. To assist the visitor’s enjoyment of recreational opportunities and in recognizing and understanding the region’s natural values, the National Park Service would conduct an interpretive program in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Such a program should result in a rewarding experience for all lakeshore visitors.

In initiating an active interpretive and educational program, the National Park Service would employ various techniques -- information centers, contact stations, interpretive drives, nature trail's, signs and slide talks. The interpretive drive would introduce the visitor to the entire range of large scale features. Specific aspects of the lakeshore could be interpreted by nature trails, conducted walks, slide talks, and campfire programs. Plants, birds, animals -- or any other topic that is diffused throughout the lakeshore -- would be identified and described in slide talks. Biological units and groups of features in place, which could include geology, plants or animals, would be displayed and interpreted by nature trails. Initially, two nature trails are proposed: one on Sand Point with its combined features of bluffs, ponds, and sandy pineland, and the other south of Pine Beach in an unusually interesting pineland bog. Eventually, two more could be provided -- one in a mature hardwood stand and the other in the forested part of Grand Sable Dunes.

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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