MUNISING – The National Park Service turns 100 years old today. With three national parks in the Upper Peninsula, the park service is important to the Upper Peninsula’s tourism industry.
The U.P. is home to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Keweenaw National Historic Park and Isle Royale National Park.
The centennial mark is also the 50th anniversary at Pictured Rocks. Congress authorized the establishment of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in October 1966. It would be America’s first national lakeshore. The park’s first superintendent, Hugh P. Beattie, arrived to manage the new park in October of 1967.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore runs 42 miles along Lake Superior from Grand Marias to Munising and offers some 90 miles of trails. It includes 15 miles of spectacular sandstone cliffs that tower 200 feet above Superior. Visitors also view several waterfalls, clean sand beaches, lakes and a lighthouse.
Recently, the national park has started to make an impact on the communities of Grand Marais and Munising.
A National Park Service report in April showed that 723,179 visitors to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in 2015 spent $30,643,600 in the communities near the park. That spending supported 436 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $31,189,300.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service on August 25, 1916, to manage the 35 parks that were part of the national system at the time. Today, there are 59 national parks.
On Saturday, August 27, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore will celebrate the National Park Service 100th anniversary at the Grand Sable Visitor Center from 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Today, 25 applicants were sworn in as new citizens during a Naturalization Ceremony held at Bayshore Park in Munising. The ceremony was one of 17 held nationwide.