National Park Service monitors disturbances in Northwest Michigan, UP

Capital News Service
LANSING — For the first time, the National Park Service is collecting data to monitor and find patterns in fires, trees blown down by wind and other events that affect national park landscapes, including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. “There’s a general thought that these parks are the last vestiges of natural area, and the areas around the parks are affected by humans, but a lot of times it isn’t quantified,” said Al Kirschbaum, a remote sensing specialist with the Park Service and the project’s lead researcher. “There’s not a lot of numbers associated with it, so that’s where our work came into play: to see if we can quantify disturbances.”

Eric Pfaff, an expert interpreter consulted for the project, said: “People, they like national parks. They enjoy the experience of going to them, so how they’re impacted by various things is important. … There’s been more stress on the parks from the number of visitors.

North Country Trail hikers set 100-mile centennial goal

Capital News Service
LANSING — Joan Young of Scottville is a frequent hiker on the seven-state North Country National Scenic Trail. Soon, she’ll have a special patch to show for it. Young, who over the years has logged every one of the trail’s 4,600 miles, is participating this year in a 100-mile hike challenge sponsored by the North Country Trail Association, headquartered in Lowell. The challenge marks the National Park Service’s centennial and will reward those who complete it with a commemorative patch. “I already have nine miles on the trail for 2016,” Young said last month.

National Parks centennial cause for celebration

Capital News Service
LANSING — One draws more than a million visitors each year, others only a fraction of that number. Some boast internationally recognizable names, others fall outside the public spotlight. They’re Michigan units of the National Park Service (NPS), which celebrates its centennial this year. Popular or not, widely familiar or not, they’re publicly owned treasures of environmental and natural resources, historic and cultural wealth, recreation and national identity. While the system has its origins in an 1872 law creating Yellowstone National Park, Congress waited until 1916 and Woodrow Wilson’s presidency to establish the NPS.