February 2004 News
Keweenaw Point Advisory Committee: Minutes of meeting Feb. 3, 2004, Allouez Community Center
Meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. Present: Deephouse, Knoop, Eshbach, Keith, Powers, Hauswirth, Raymond, Hoover, Richter, Junttila, Dowker, Monette, Suchovsky. For Greuer: Douglas Welker. Don Kauppi arrived later
-- 6:20 p.m. All 15 organizations on the committee were represented.
DNR Recreation Specialist Ron Yesney introduced Tad Dowker, MTU Four Wheelers, to his first meeting and Doug Welker, North Country Trail Association, as the fill-in for
Frederike Greuer, and then discussed the meeting procedure for the evening.
Marty Nelson, FMFM, Baraga, outlined the Land Use Rules and how they will be applicable to the Committee's discussions and recommendations. He then outlined how a Director's Order is put into place which would then set rules that would otherwise fall outside the purview of standard land use rules. Director's
Orders can be established to put a speed limit on a forest road, as an example.
Q: Are Director's Orders specific?
Q: Can specific areas be designated for certain uses separately from others?
A: Yes. State land use rules can be modified for specific purposes.
Q: Is there a chance that the Keweenaw Point lands could be designated as a Michigan State Park?
A: The total area is rather fragmented by private in-holdings, and normally State Parks are established in large contiguous tracts. However, there has been some discussion within DNR Parks Division about establishing what areas
can be for a park, but that is in a very preliminary stage. FMFM has been authorized to proceed with the Committee and an FMFM management strategy.
Q: Are there any public roads in the Keweenaw Point lands at this time?
A: Mandan is the only road that currently meets the definition of a road under current rules. Further study must be done to determine
if Fish Cove and High Rock Bay Roads are eligible to be named as public roads.
Q: Who maintains the roads now?
A: Keweenaw County maintains the first mile of the Mandan Road; and past that are three private landowners, so easements would be required to do any maintenance beyond there. At present, the roads are not officially maintained by anyone.
The Committee members then reviewed the specific changes to the committee for future discussion:
Minimum impact zones
The committee then conducted an exercise to prioritize which charge to take into consideration first, and in what order the others should be addressed:
1. Minimum impact zones
2. Road system
3. Non-motorized uses
4. Motorized uses
5. Access sites
7. Forest/Timber management
8. Day use areas
Q: Do all the facilities or improvements done on this tract meet the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act?
A: If a structure, such as an outhouse or other building is part of the final plan, it must be made to be handicapped accessible. The same is true of
bridges and other things that are built to accommodate the public. However, the Act does not apply to trails, shorelines and other non-structure-related improvements.
Q: What is the definition of a public access site?
A: That is an area designated and designed to accommodate large numbers of people and is adjacent to a body of water, where the public can launch watercraft.
The Committee then identified Barriers and Needs in order to accomplish its mission.
Barriers: ADA Requirements; firemen and first-responder accessibility; management and policing in the future; commercial uses; maintenance in remote locations; user group conflicts; scattered ownership patterns, signage lacking at this point; funding and staffing for patrols and law enforcement; uncertainty of economic forecast; long range plans for area, including businesses; inaccessibility; commercial touring permit process; process for event permitting, infrastructure assessment for recreation activities.
Needs: Copy of the ADA laws; define historic deeryard habitat; inventory roads, trails and those routes not roads but used by
ORVs; Obtain Michigan Natural Features Inventory data for the area; obtain copies of local planning and zoning parameters; inventory historic campsites; survey land property line markers; consult with Keweenaw County First Responders about what their needs would be to access the lands and points open to public access; consider appropriate signage; inventory bridges and replacement procedures; inventory most popular hunting and fishing locations; conduct a wetland inventory; research the history of forestation and forest health; consult area recreation plans; obtain soil survey information; look at land-range economic plans for the area; identify partner associations; research mineral rights and ownerships; consider human carrying capacity of the land; research historical and archeological sites and uses; survey extent of private in holdings; identify partner organizations and groups interested in this tract of land and its potential uses; seek out support services and programs available through other agencies and organizations.
The floor was then opened for public comment, to discuss the question, "How should this area be used, how should it be protected, and what kinds of allowances and restrictions should be put into place as part of the committee's recommendations to the
1. Jim Rooks: Lake Superior Land Company still has holdings in the area and should be consulted about best uses for the Keweenaw Point
Lands. He added that LSLCo has left certain areas, including old mines, check dams and old machinery in some locations, and the Committee should consider those sites as well.
KPAC Q: Is access to lands owned by LSLCo an issue?
DNR: No, state easements have been obtained to all LSLCo holdings, as well as easements for those parcels owned by The Nature Conservancy. There are some private parcels for which no easements are available at present.
KPAC: LSLCo has adjacent ownerships, and the company does not plan to hold onto these lands forever. If these lands are to come under TNC or public ownership, they could potentially play a role in the management of the current public land holdings. The AC may need to consult with LSLCo about mutual management planning. Walt Arnold would be the contact person at LSLCo.
KPAC: Management planning may need to go beyond just the currently owned Keweenaw Point lands. There could be a Phase 2 in 10 years for planning, where more land acquisition could be mandated under agreement reached with other landowners.
2. Dickie Selfe: An inventory of all ecologically sensitive sites needs to be completed. He envisions a recreational corridor connecting Copper Harbor with Houghton. The plan would apply to lands all the way up the Keweenaw, with the Keweenaw Point Lands being the jewel of the network.
3. Ann Mayo-Kylie: There should be trail networks for non-motorized
uses. The emphasis on new structures, if any, should be that they are primitive by design.
4. Tom Fouts: He spends a lot of time on these lands under discussion and feels that both motorized and non-motorized uses should be in the plan. Keep the area open to everyone.
(He mentioned) fishing spots now open only to those with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Those access locations should be improved to allow for better access.
5. Mark Romanski: If more lakes are to be opened for public access, and those lakes now only accessible are made more so with road improvements and signage, then the DNR needs to consider the existing fishery and plan for more pressure on those fish populations.
6. Jack Holzhausen: The value of this land goes beyond the economic and commercial values. This is aesthetically very important land.
7. Ed Keischel: He would like to see the area kept as primitive as possible. The value in his mind of the land is that it is wild and rugged. He would favor minimizing roads and other development.
8. Evan McDonald: There needs to be a study of the threatened and endangered species habitats. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, US Forest Service and other related studies should be incorporated into the planning. Also, timber sales should be run past the MNRF criteria. Michigan History Division should also be consulted for any information they might have about the
9. Mark Romanski (again): Wanted to know the process for identifying TES (threatened & endangered species) and consultation with USFWS
(United States Fish and Wildlife Service).
10. Rod Aho: This land has been owned by a company for many years, and there have never been any use restrictions. So, in the future, the land should remain open and accessible.
11. Leo Erickson: He says he has used this property for many years and feels that the restrictions placed upon the land since the state acquired it are unreasonable. He advocates leaving the land just as it is. He feels that with development, more people will use the land. He does not favor any use restrictions for vehicle use or placement of camping locations.
KPAC: The role of the committee, in part, is to prepare the Keweenaw for the future. There must be some measures put into place to protect the land and its resources so future generations can enjoy the value of the land in the way those in the past have done.
12. Pete Mackin: Are the final recommendations of the committee binding?
KPAC: The recommendations from the committee will carry weight; however, they will be recommendations only; and the final decisions rest in the management plan developed by the DNR and commented upon by the public.
13. Ed Keishel (again): What is the timeline for recommendations? What will happen to the area if there is a 10-year lull due to no funds?
KPAC: We will do what is feasible when resources are available. No definite timeline.
14. Warren Suchowski: How are decisions made for various procedures?
15. Leo Erickson (again): Noted that enforcement of natural resources laws will be very minimal.
16. Anita Campbell: Explore the county's zoning laws. Some shoreline is currently zoned as resort/ residential. The
area's zoning ordinances are currently being updated and should be completed by spring.
17. Bob Crampton: As area zoning chair, he is taking public comment on what would be appropriate zoning for the
area; and he would appreciate feedback from the community.
No further persons chose to make public comment.
Bill Deephouse, KPAC Chair, asked that the list of KPAC Members be amended and attached to the minutes and other information being posted to the various websites around the county.
Those locations where minutes can be obtained include:
Keweenaw Now website: www.keweenawnow.com
MTU Library website: http://www.lib.mtu.edu/about/news.aspx
Hancock High School/Library
Dollar Bay High School/Library
Calumet Public Library
Lake Linden/Hubbell Public Library
L'Anse Area Schools/Library
Portage Lake District Library
Keweenaw County Courthouse, Eagle River
DNR Office, Baraga
Fort Wilkins State Park
McLain State Park
Marty Nelson: Get synopsis of the American with Disabilities Act for the Committee to review.
Ron Yesney, DNR: Send copies of all maps for the committee via e-mails to Jeff Knoop at TNC, so he can run color copies for the committee.
Ron and Marty Nelson, DNR: begin collection of those documents cited by the committee (see "Needs" identification section in minutes), especially ownership patterns of Keweenaw County.
Public: Review the county's new recreation plan and zoning ordinance so that everyone can participate in the overall land planning effort. Grant Township is working on a 5-year recreation plan
Ann Wilson, DNR: Contact MNFI for information, as Kim Herman's "Floristic Guide."
Next Meeting: Tuesday, March 2, 2004, 6:30 p.m., Allouez Twp. Community Center, 2 Bumbletown Road, Allouez.
The meeting will be open to the public and will allow time for public comment.
Respectfully submitted: Ann Wilson, DNR