One of the natural jewels of the Upper Peninsula was included in a recent proposal to expand so-called wilderness areas, which brings with it government's highest level of protection from development and resource extraction.
In January, the U.S. Senate approved an omnibus bill to designate 2 million acres in eight states as wilderness areas, including 11,739 acres in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which covers a long swath along Lake Superior east of Munising. If the legislation is approved by the House, it would be the largest expansion of wilderness areas in the past quarter century.
Two other U.P. sites are targeted for support in the omnibus legislation, which is a collection of some 160 separate bills covering a wide range of projects. One of the bills revises certain provisions for the Keweenaw National Historical Park with regard to land acquisition and matching requirements for federal funds. Another bill authorizes the federal government to purchase land to help build the North Country National Scenic Trail, which would run through seven states. Michigan would have the trail's longest segment, at some 1,100 miles.
—Ronald A. Wirtz