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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore proposes $1M plan to fight erosion near historic lighthouse

South Manitou Island Lighthouse
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM
Engineers warn that eroding shoreline could damage the historic South Manitou Island Lighthouse.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has experienced a lot of damage the past few years, from battering storms to rising water levels.

MLive reports that engineers have found the shoreline of the South Manitou Island Lighthouse has degraded significantly. The erosion worsened during the 2015-2016 winter. Park staff have outlined a $1 million plan to fix it.

From the National Park Service's plan:

Approximately 200 linear feet of preexisting boardwalk, which provided access to the lighthouse complex, was washed away. The new shoreline in the eroded area consists of predominately sand banks that are unstable and subject to further erosion. Shoreline stabilization failure and erosion to the east are a serious concern to the nationally significant lighthouse complex, which is a Historic Landmark District. The existing shoreline is approximately 45 feet from the base of the lighthouse and 20 feet from the fog signal building.

The plan focuses fixing the erosion along a 250-foot span of shoreline. Rehabilitating the existing shoreline and installing new, natural shoreline protections are the main goals, according to the proposal.

It is hoped in time that the historic boardwalk would be restored and rehabilitated and incorporated into a universally accessible route to the Fog Whistle Building once the eroded shoreline has been reestablished.

The $1 million will come from the park's entrance fee revenue. The National Park Service is requesting public feedback on the plan until June 9. Officials hope that work can begin this fall.

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