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                                                       Calendar No. 266
112th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     112-104




                January 13, 2012.--Ordered to be printed

Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of December 17, 2011.


   Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 140]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 140) to designate as wilderness certain 
land and inland water within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National 
Lakeshore in the State of Michigan, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.


    The purpose of S. 140 is to designate approximately 32,557 
acres of land and inland water within Sleeping Bear Dunes 
National Lakeshore in Michigan as wilderness.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was established in 
1970 and includes over 70,000 acres of forests, lakes, beaches, 
and large sand dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan in 
northwestern Michigan. The lakeshore extends nearly 30 miles 
along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, and includes two 
large Lake Michigan islands with an additional 35 miles of 
shoreline. The park protects and preserves scenic and 
recreational resources, including perched sand dunes, miles of 
beaches, inland lakes and streams, wetlands, and an upland 
beech-maple northern hardwood forest.
    In 1981 the park's general management plan recommended over 
30,000 acres of the park as wilderness, and those lands have 
been managed as wilderness since that time. Following 
completion of the park's general management plan, the National 
Park Service prepared a formal wilderness study. The 
alternative mapped 32,557 acres for designation and that is the 
same as the proposed wilderness designation in S. 140.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 140 was introduced by Senators Levin and Stabenow on 
January 25, 2011. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a 
hearing on S. 140 on May 11, 2011 (S. Hrg. 112-124). At its 
business meeting on November 10, 2011, the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources ordered S. 140 favorably reported.
    During the 111th Congress, the Committee considered similar 
legislation, S. 2976, also sponsored by Senators Levin and 
Stabenow. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on 
the bill on May 19, 2010 (S. Hrg. 111-645) but no further 
action occurred.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on November 10, 2011, by voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 140. 
Senators Lee and Paul asked to be recorded as opposing the 

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title, the ``Sleeping Bear 
Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act.''
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the bill.
    Section 3(a) designates approximately 32,557 acres of land 
and inland water within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 
to be known as ``Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness,'' as a 
component of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
    Subsection (b) directs that the map describing the 
wilderness area be available for public inspection in the 
appropriate offices of the National Park Service and allows the 
Secretary of the Interior to correct any clerical or 
typographical errors in the map. The Secretary is directed to 
provide a corrected map and legal description of the wilderness 
area to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the 
Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
Representatives as soon as practicable after date of enactment.
    Subsection (c) establishes road setbacks of 100 feet from 
centerline and 300 feet from centerline for adjacent county 
roads and State highways, respectively.
    Section 4(a) directs the Secretary to manage the designated 
wilderness area in accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 
U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), except the date of enactment is 
considered the date of enactment of this Act and reference to 
the Secretary of Agriculture is considered to reference instead 
the Secretary of the Interior.
    Subsection (b) provides for continued maintenance of roads 
outside of the wilderness boundary.
    Subsection (c) prohibits any provision of the Act from 
affecting the jurisdiction of the State of Michigan as so far 
as management of hunting and fishing within the lakeshore in 
accordance with section 5 of Public Law 91-479 (16 U.S.C. 460x-
    Subsection (d) prohibits any provision of the Act from 
altering, modifying or affecting any treaty rights or valid 
private property rights in existence on the date of enactment.


    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

S. 140--Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and 
        Recreation Act

    S. 140 would designate as wilderness about 32,500 acres of 
the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the state of 
Michigan. The newly designated lands and inland waterways would 
comprise the Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness, a new component of 
the National Wilderness Preservation System.
    Based on information from the National Park Service, CBO 
estimates that the bill would have an insignificant impact on 
the federal budget. More than 30,000 of the affected acres have 
been managed as wilderness since 1981, and CBO estimates that 
the potential impact of the designation on public use would be 
minor. Enacting S. 140 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    S. 140 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Martin von 
Gnechten. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.


    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 140.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 140, as ordered reported.


    S. 140, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the 
May 11, 2011, Subcommittee on National Parks hearing on S. 140 

 Statement of Stephen E. Whitesell, Associate Director, Park Planning, 
Facilities and Lands, National Park Service, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to appear before you today to present the 
Department of the Interior's views on S. 140, a bill to 
designate the Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness at Sleeping Bear 
Dunes National Lakeshore in the State of Michigan.
    The Department strongly supports enactment of S. 140. This 
legislation would designate 32,557 acres, or 46 percent, of 
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan's Lower 
Peninsula as federally protected wilderness. Management of the 
wilderness area would be in accordance with the 1964 Wilderness 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.).
    P.L. 91-479 established Sleeping Bear Dunes National 
Lakeshore on October 21, 1970, in order ``. . . that certain 
outstanding natural features including forests, beaches, dune 
formations, and ancient (glacial) phenomena . . . be preserved 
in their natural setting and protected from developments and 
uses which would destroy the scenic beauty and natural 
character of the area . . . for the benefit, inspiration, 
education, recreation, and enjoyment of the public.'' This bill 
clearly supports the intent of that law.
    The park extends nearly 30 miles along the eastern shore of 
Lake Michigan. It also includes two large Lake Michigan islands 
with an additional 35 miles of shoreline. The park protects and 
preserves superlative scenic and recreational resources 
including towering perched sand dunes that rise as high as 450 
feet above Lake Michigan. The park contains several federally 
threatened and endangered species, including the Piping Plover, 
Pitcher's Thistle and Michigan Monkeyflower. The park also 
includes many historic features, including a lighthouse and 
three U.S. life-saving service stations, coastal villages, and 
picturesque farmsteads. Permanent wilderness designation will 
ensure protection of these significant natural, cultural and 
historical resources.
    The park receives nearly 1.2 million visitors each year who 
enjoy the beaches, over 100 miles of backcountry trails and 
eight campgrounds. The region surrounding the park is a popular 
vacation and summer home destination as visitors and residents 
take advantage of a variety of recreational opportunities, 
including hiking, camping, backpacking, hunting, fishing, bird 
watching, boating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The 
National Park Service estimates that the presence of the 
National Lakeshore brings nearly $78 million of economic 
benefit to the local community each year.* Designation of the 
wilderness area will not limit public access or change the way 
the area is currently being managed for public use and 
    *Stynes, Daniel J. ``National Park Visitor Spending and Payroll 
Impacts: 2009.'' National Park Service, 2011.
    Native American use of the area extends some 3,000 years 
into the past and is represented today primarily by the Grand 
Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Nothing in S. 140 
would modify, alter, or affect any treaty rights.
    The park encompasses a total of 71,291 acres; about 58,571 
acres of land and 12,720 acres of water. Over 30,000 acres of 
the proposed 32,557-acre wilderness area have been managed as 
wilderness since 1981, when a wilderness proposal produced 
under the park's first comprehensive General Management Plan 
(GMP) was published. Since that time, the five areas of the 
park proposed as wilderness have provided outstanding 
recreational opportunities for hikers, backpackers, anglers, 
paddlers, and hunters with hunting being allowed in accordance 
with State regulations. A network of hiking trails and numerous 
camping opportunities will continue to be maintained in this 
portion of the park, even with the wilderness designation. The 
additional acres in the current proposal arise from the 
inclusion of the Sleeping Bear Plateau, an area only suitable 
for foot travel that continues to offer outstanding 
opportunities for solitude. Since formal wilderness designation 
would not change the way in which visitor use is currently 
managed in the area proposed as wilderness, there is no reason 
to believe it would have any detrimental impact on visitation 
or the local economy, and formal designation may actually have 
a beneficial impact.
    The proposed wilderness area does not include any existing 
county roads or areas managed primarily for historic resources. 
This is to ensure the continued availability of the county 
roads for visitors accessing remote trailheads, beaches, 
backcountry areas and historic areas. Although the park's 
boundary extends one-quarter mile out into Lake Michigan, none 
of the waters of Lake Michigan are proposed as wilderness. S. 
140 would authorize the use of boat motors on the surface water 
of Lake Michigan adjacent to the wilderness and beaching of 
those boats, subject to applicable laws. This is to ensure 
continued access by boaters to the shoreline beach adjacent to 
the wilderness area. These have been areas of significant 
public concern.
    Between 2006 and 2009, the NPS developed an updated GMP for 
the park. Because of public concern over the 1981 wilderness 
proposal, and its inclusion of county roads and historic sites, 
a formal Wilderness Study was conducted as part of this 
comprehensive planning effort. After extensive public 
involvement, review, and comment, including overwhelming public 
support for wilderness designation, the preferred alternative 
in the final GMP/Wilderness Study was approved by the Midwest 
Regional Director on January 6, 2009. The area of proposed 
wilderness was mapped at 32,557 acres, with a portion in all 
five eligible areas, and is the same as the proposed wilderness 
designation in S. 140. The final GMP/Wilderness Study does not 
propose wilderness in several eligible areas, including those 
areas fragmented by the road corridors near the Otter Creek 
area of the Lakeshore; the land within the Port Oneida Rural 
Historic District; the lands in the historic ``Cottage Row'' on 
North Manitou Island; the area in the South Manitou Island 
historic farm loop; an area near the historic Bufka Farm 
identified for a bicycle trail; and the congested area at the 
top of the Dune Climb.
    Passage of S. 140 would support the vision in the new GMP. 
The bill has very strong, broad-based public support. The 
overwhelming majority of local officials, the conservation 
community, and the Michigan delegation are united in their 
support for this bill as a winning resolution to an issue that 
has been debated since the park's establishment in 1970. 
Parties that had been bitterly polarized over earlier proposals 
have reached consensus that this bill strikes an appropriate 
balance between preserving access and guaranteeing outstanding 
primitive recreational opportunities.
    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment. 
This concludes my prepared remarks and I will be happy to 
answer any questions you or other committee members might have.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill S. 140 as ordered