Port Oneida assessment completed
Last year, the Park Service unveiled four alternatives for the district, which encompasses more than 3,400 acres of land and includes 19 historic farms in Cleveland and Glen Arbor townships in Leelanau County. The environmental assessment (EA) helped officials narrow down some of the alternatives presented last year.
As with any changes involving the National Lakeshore, officials began taking public input early in the planning process. In August 2005, they sent out “scoping letters” to various government agencies, other organizations and interested citizens. Public workshops were held in 2006. Last year, officials released drawings and other documents outlining various alternative plans.
“The project team evaluated alternatives for the location of a future visitor contact station and staff housing,” according to a news release issued this week from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “It was confirmed that using the Kelderhouse farm for a visitor contact station would have the fewest impacts and still provided the greatest benefits to (the park and its visitors).”
Another historic structure in the Port Oneida Historic District, the Charles Olsen House, operated by the non-profit park partner group Preserve Historic Sleeping bear, will continue to serve as a focal point for visitors in the interim.
“Once funds can be secured, the Kelderhouse farm will be rehabilitated as a visitor contact station,” according to NPS officials. “Because of its size, condition and location, the Goffar farm at the north end (of the district) was selected for the eventual location of employee, intern and volunteer housing.”
Last year, Park Service officials estimated it would be at least four years before any visible changes are made in the district, pending receipt of funding.
Long-range plans also call for the addition of some parking areas, roadside pull-offs, and an improved trail system in the district.
The Port Oneida Rural Historic District contains structures representative of late 19th and early 20th century farms of the Midwest and is one of the largest historic agricultural districts in public ownership in the country, according to the National Park Service.