Ottawa National Forest
The Ottawa National Forest is a national forest that covers 993,010 acres in the Upper Peninsula of the U. S. state of Michigan. It includes much of Gogebic and Ontonagon counties, as well as slices of Iron, Houghton and Marquette counties; the forest is under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Forest Service; the headquarters are in Ironwood, Michigan, on the Wisconsin border, the principal visitor center is located in Watersmeet, Michigan, in the southern section of the Forest. These and other towns within and adjacent to the Forest are served by U. S. Highway 2, one of the principal highways of the Western Upper Peninsula. There are local ranger district offices in Bessemer, Iron River, Kenton and Watersmeet. Wooded slopes mark the south shore of Lake Superior within the Ottawa National Forest within the Black River country between Little Girl's Point and the Presque Isle River; as the Black River, a National Wild and Scenic River, falls from near Copper Peak down towards the lake, it tumbles over seven separate mapped and named waterfalls.
The Presque Isle river and its major tributary, Copper Creek, have eleven waterfalls, although four of the Presque Isle falls are outside the national forest and are located within the boundaries of the adjacent Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Underwood Hill, at 1,867 feet in altitude is the highest elevation in the Presque Isle River drainage area. However, this is not the highest point in the national forest; that honor belongs to an unnamed 1,900-foot hill north of Lac Vieux Desert in southeastern Gogebic County. Rain or snow that falls on the north side of this hill flows through the Ontonagon River towards Lake Superior; the Ottawa National Forest is an area of high precipitation in both winter and summer. Sections of the Forest receive more than 200 inches of snow annually. In winter, Lake Superior, which does not freeze over, is itself the source of much of the water vapor that falls in the area. In many of the summer months, moist air carried by southerly winds from the faraway Gulf does not fall below the dew point in temperature until it enters the Lake Superior basin.
The forested area is poor in topsoil. The glaciers of various Ice Ages, including the most recent Wisconsonian glaciation, scraped much of the forested area down to bare rock or sand; the result is a characteristic boreal forest ecosystem. The Ottawa National Forest is home to several clans of the Ojibwa people who coexisted with the Forest's numerous rocky wetlands, they harvested many of the region's mammals beaver, for their pelts, sold them to traders from Canada and the eastern United States, such as the traders of the American Fur Company. After the fur trade declined, the nation sold most of the forest in the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe. A part of the nation used some of the proceeds from their fur trapping to purchase lands around Lac Vieux Desert, where their descendants remain today as the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; as a result of the construction of the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway in 1892-1894, the forest was opened to logging. A few parcels of old-growth white pine and red pine remain.
After the logging era ended, the heavily-exploited forest was abandoned. The U. S. federal government established the Ottawa National Forest in 1931, but the forest did not reach its full size until after two large land purchases in 1933 and 1935. In 1935 the national forest reached its maximum size of 1,026,329 acres. After some privatizations, the Forest reached its current 1.0 million acre extent. During the years after World War II, growing automobile tourism made it possible for a wider variety of people to visit the forest. Ottawa National Forest is used for fishing and lake kayaking. In winter, the Forest welcomes cross-country snowmobilers; the Ottawa National Forest contains three designated U. S. wilderness areas, managed as such by the Forest Service. They are McCormick Wilderness and the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness near Kenton and the Sylvania Wilderness near Watersmeet, Michigan; as of 2006, the Ottawa National Forest operates under a Resource Management Plan promulgated in 1986.
Opened in 1971, the Ottawa Visitor Center offers interpretive programs and exhibits about the natural history and resources of the Forest. The center's mission is to guide visitors to safe and caring use of the Forest. Media related to Ottawa National Forest at Wikimedia Commons U. S. Forest Service - Ottawa National Forest Ottawa Visitor Center Lac Vieux Desert Band
Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale National Park is an American national park consisting of Isle Royale and hundreds of adjacent islands, as well as the surrounding waters of Lake Superior, in the state of Michigan. Isle Royale National Park was established on April 3, 1940 additionally protected from development by wilderness area designation in 1976, declared a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve in 1980; the park covers 894 square miles, with 209 square miles of land and 685 square miles of surrounding waters. The park's northern boundary lies adjacent to the Canadian Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area along the international border. Isle Royale, the largest island in Lake Superior, is over 45 miles in length and 9 miles wide at its widest point; the park is made up of Isle Royale itself and 400 smaller islands, along with any submerged lands within 4.5 miles of the surrounding islands. Large quantities of copper artifacts found in indian mounds and settlements, some dating back to 3000 B. C. were most mined on Isle Royale and the nearby Keweenaw Peninsula.
The island has hundreds of pits with most in the McCargoe Cove area. Carbon-14 testing of a charred log found at one of these pits yielded an age of 1,500 B. C; the Jesuit missionary Dablon published an account in 1669-70 of "an island called Menong, celebrated for its copper." Menong, or Minong, was the native term for the island, is the basis for Minong Ridge. Prospecting began in earnest when the Chippewas relinquished their claims to the island in 1843, starting with many of the original native pits; this activity had ended by 1855. The Minong Mine and Island Mine were the result of renewed but short-lived activity from 1873 to 1881. In Prehistoric Copper Mining in the Lake Superior Region, published in 1961, Drier and Du Temple estimated that over 1.5 billion pounds of copper had been mined from the region. However, David Johnson and Susan Martin contend that their estimate was based on exaggerated and inaccurate assumptions. In the mid-1840s, a report by Douglass Houghton, Michigan's first state geologist, set off a copper boom in the state, the first modern copper mines were opened on the island.
Evidence of the earlier mining efforts was everywhere, in the form of many stone hammers, some copper artifacts, places where copper had been worked out of the rock but left in place. The ancient pits and trenches led to the discovery of many of the copper deposits that were mined in the 19th century; the island was once the site of a resort community. The fishing industry has declined but continues at Edisen Fishery; because numerous small islands surround Isle Royale, ships were once guided through the area by lighthouses at Passage Island, Rock Harbor, Rock of Ages, Isle Royale Lighthouse on Menagerie Island. Within the waters of Isle Royale National Park are several shipwrecks; the area’s notoriously harsh weather, dramatic underwater topography, the island’s central location on historic shipping routes, the cold, fresh water have resulted in intact, well preserved wrecks throughout the park. These were documented in the 1980s, with follow up occurring in 2009, by the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center.
The predominant floral habitats of Isle Royale are within the Laurentian Mixed Forest Province. The area is a temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome transition zone between the true boreal forest to the north and Big Woods to the south, with characteristics of each, it has areas of both broadleaf and conifer forest cover, bodies of water ranging from conifer bogs to swamps. Conifers include jack pines and white spruces, balsam firs, eastern redcedars. Deciduous trees include quaking aspens, red oaks, paper birches, American mountain ash, red maples, sugar maples, mountain maples. Isle Royale National Park is known for its wolf and moose populations which are studied by scientists investigating predator-prey relationships in a closed environment; this is made easier because Isle Royale has been colonized by just one third of the mainland mammal species, because it is so remote. In addition, the environment is unique in that it is the only known place where wolves and moose coexist without the presence of bears.
Neither moose nor wolves inhabited Isle Royale. Just prior to becoming a national park the large mammals on Isle Royale were Canada lynx and the boreal woodland caribou. Archeological evidence indicates both of these species were present on Isle Royale for 3,500 years prior to being removed by direct human actions; the last caribou documented on Isle Royale was in 1925. Though lynx were removed by the 1930s some have periodically crossed the ice bridge from neighboring Ontario, the most recent being an individual sighting in 1980. Although lynx are no longer present on the island, their primary prey, snowshoe hares, remain. Before the appearance of wolves, coyotes were predators on the island. Coyotes disappeared shortly after wolves arrived in the 1950s. Moose are believed to have colonized Isle Royale sometime between 1905 and 1912, it was believed that a small herd of moose colonized the islands by crossing the ice from the adjacent mainland.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
The Seney National Wildlife Refuge is a managed wetland in Schoolcraft County in the U. S. state of Michigan. It has an area of 95,212 acres, it is bordered by M-28 and M-77. The nearest town of any size is Michigan; the refuge contains the Seney Wilderness Area and the Strangmoor Bog National Natural Landmark within its boundaries. While the Seney National Wildlife Refuge is oriented towards maintaining living space for bird life, river otters, moose, black bears and wolves live in the refuge. 211 separate species of birds have been logged at Seney, including ducks, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, common loons. On the western side of the National Wildlife Refuge, a parcel is designated as a wilderness with an area of 25,150 acres; the Seney NWR's western wilderness area, designated by federal law as the Seney Wilderness Area, includes the Strangmoor Bog National Natural Landmark. The Strangmoor Bog was landmarked as being the best surviving example in the 48 states of a sub-arctic patterned bog ecosystem, characterized by rapid glacial meltoff from an exposed sandy plain.
The friable sand, exposed to the weather, was sculpted by wind and water into parallel strips of dune highland and wetland. The Seney National Wildlife Refuge is built upon the remains of the Great Manistique Swamp, a perched sand wetland located in the central Upper Peninsula. After its forests were exploited in 1880-1910, promoters attempted to drain the swamp for farmland; the drainage was a failure and left the wetland criscrossed with canals and drainage ponds. Much of the property was abandoned for unpaid property taxes. During the 1930s, work crews employed by the Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt and expanded the wetland drains, this time for active wetlands management purposes; these CCC ponds and drains are still used by the wetlands managers that staff the current National Wildlife Refuge. The Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935; when the Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935, the Canada goose was a threatened species. Widespread, year-round hunting had reduced the North American population of free-flying Canada geese to a trickle of birds who avoided human beings as much as possible.
One of the priorities of the new Seney NWR was to establish a refuge for free-flying Canada geese. In January 1936, during the first winter of the Seney Refuge's operation, the refuge trucked in 300 pinioned Canada geese; these flightless geese were fed. It was hoped that they would produce a crop of goslings that would establish a migratory pattern of behavior and voluntarily return to the Refuge; the goslings were banded. Every year a shrinking crop of Canada goslings was hatched and flew south for the winter, but few or none returned in the following spring to Seney. Poaching was continuing in the geese wintering grounds and on the flyways. Meanwhile, the parent population of wing-clipped Canada geese diminished between 1936 and 1945 from 300 to 45. March, 1946 saw the first significant return of free-flying Canada geese; this tiny flock bred true in the following years. The Seney Canada goose breeding population had multiplied to 3,000 birds by 1956, continued to expand thereafter after local hunting was re-legalized.
The Seney National Wildlife Refuge's Canada goose project is considered to have been one of the key programs in re-establishing the Canada goose as a major wetland bird of North America. As of 2007, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, administrator of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge, was reporting that the refuge hosted 88,000 visitors annually. Seney NWR acts as the administrative unit for the following other refuges: The Huron Islands/Huron National Wildlife Refuge in Lake Superior; the Lake Michigan division of the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The Whitefish Point Unit on Lake Superior in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory conducts research on migrating birds. In 1998, the United States Coast Guard transferred 33 acres from the Whitefish Point Light Station to the USFWS to form the Whitefish Point Unit of the Seney NWR; the USFWS shares governance of the former light station with the Michigan Audubon Society and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society through a Management Plan.
The USFWS has final oversight at Whitefish Point. On August 30, 2012, the USFWS added 19.85 acres acres and more than 1,000 feet of Lake Superior shoreline as critical piping plover habitat to Whitefish Point unit. Casselman, Tracy. "Seney National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan". United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved January 30, 2011. Lively, Jim. "Human use/natural resource management plan for Whitefish Point". Michigan Land Use Institute. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011. Rosentreter, Roger L.. "Roosevelt's Tree Army: Michigan's Civilian Conservation Corps". Michigan History. Retrieved December 3, 2007. Seney National Wildlife Refuge Whitefish Point Unit of Seney National Wildlife Refuge Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the U. S. and Canada. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third-largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron. To the east, its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron through the wide Straits of Mackinac, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart. Lake Michigan is shared, from west to east, by the U. S. states of Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Ports along its shores include Chicago; the word "Michigan" referred to the lake itself, is believed to come from the Ojibwe word michi-gami meaning "great water". Some of the earliest human inhabitants of the Lake Michigan region were the Hopewell Indians, their culture declined after 800 AD, for the next few hundred years, the region was the home of peoples known as the Late Woodland Indians. In the early 17th century, when western European explorers made their first forays into the region, they encountered descendants of the Late Woodland Indians: the Chippewa.
The French explorer Jean Nicolet is believed to have been the first European to reach Lake Michigan in 1634 or 1638. In the earliest European maps of the region, the name of Lake Illinois has been found in addition to that of "Michigan", named for the Illinois Confederation of tribes. Lake Michigan is joined via the narrow, open-water Straits of Mackinac with Lake Huron, the combined body of water is sometimes called Michigan–Huron; the Straits of Mackinac were an important Native American and fur trade route. Located on the southern side of the Straits is the town of Mackinaw City, the site of Fort Michilimackinac, a reconstructed French fort founded in 1715, on the northern side is St. Ignace, site of a French Catholic mission to the Indians, founded in 1671. In 1673, Jacques Marquette, Louis Joliet and their crew of five Métis voyageurs followed Lake Michigan to Green Bay and up the Fox River, nearly to its headwaters, in their search for the Mississippi River, cf. Fox–Wisconsin Waterway.
The eastern end of the Straits was controlled by Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island, a British colonial and early American military base and fur trade center, founded in 1781. With the advent of European exploration into the area in the late 17th century, Lake Michigan became part of a line of waterways leading from the Saint Lawrence River to the Mississippi River and thence to the Gulf of Mexico. French coureurs des bois and voyageurs established small ports and trading communities, such as Green Bay, on the lake during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In the 19th century, Lake Michigan played a major role in the development of Chicago and the Midwestern United States west of the lake. For example, 90% of the grain shipped from Chicago travelled east over Lake Michigan during the antebellum years, only falling below 50% after the Civil War and the major expansion of railroad shipping; the first person to reach the deep bottom of Lake Michigan was J. Val Klump, a scientist at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
Klump reached the bottom via submersible as part of a 1985 research expedition. In 2007, a row of stones paralleling an ancient shoreline was discovered by Mark Holley, professor of underwater archeology at Northwestern Michigan College; this formation lies 40 feet below the surface of the lake. One of the stones is said to have a carving resembling a mastodon. So far the formation has not been authenticated; the warming of Lake Michigan was the subject of a report by Purdue University in 2018. In each decade since 1980, steady increases in average surface temperature have occurred; this is to lead to decreasing native habitat and to adversely affect native species survival. Lake Michigan is the sole Great Lake wholly within the borders of the United States, it lies in the region known as the American Midwest. Lake Michigan has a surface area of 22,404 sq.mi. It is the larger half of Lake Michigan–Huron, the largest body of fresh water in the world by surface area, it is 307 miles long by 118 miles wide with a shoreline 1,640 miles long.
The lake's average depth is 46 fathoms 3 feet. It contains a volume of 1,180 cubic miles of water. Green Bay in the northwest is its largest bay. Grand Traverse Bay in its northeast is another large bay. Lake Michigan's deepest region, which lies in its northern-half, is called Chippewa Basin and is separated from South Chippewa Basin, by a shallower area called the Mid Lake Plateau. Twelve million people live along Lake Michigan's shores in the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas; the economy of many communities in northern Michigan and Door County, Wisconsin is supported by tourism, with large seasonal populations attracted by Lake Michigan. Seasonal residents have summer homes along the waterfront and return home for the winter; the southern
Huron-Manistee National Forests
The Huron-Manistee National Forests are two separate national forests, the Huron National Forest and the Manistee National Forest, combined in 1945 for administration purposes and which comprise 978,906 acres of public lands, including 5,786 acres of wetlands, extending across the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. The Huron-Manistee National Forests provide recreation opportunities for visitors, habitat for fish and wildlife, resources for local industry; the headquarters for the forests is in Michigan. The Huron National Forest was established in 1909 and the Manistee National Forest in 1938. In 1945, they were administratively combined. Huron has about 44.8% of the combined area, whereas the larger Manistee has about 55.2%. The Huron National Forest is prone to frequent seasonal forest fires, due to ecological and geological factors including the domination of the jack pine in sections the forests, the needles of which are flammable, sandy soil composition as a result of glacial outwash plain geology of sections of the Huron National Forest, jack pine barrens management practices to create nesting habitat for the Kirtland's warbler resulting in dense, young stands of jack pine that are susceptible to crowning wildfires.
In 2010, the Meridian Boundary Fire burned over 8,500 acres in and near the Huron District of the Huron National Forest. The fire destroyed 13 homes, damaged two others, destroyed or damaged 46 outbuildings; the Huron-Manistee streams. The nationally known Pere Marquette and Au Sable Rivers offer quality fishing. Additionally, over 330 miles of trails are available for hiking; the Huron-Manistee National Forests are a tourist attraction to many campers. You do not need a permit to camp on the National Forest campgrounds. However, some do require that one pays camping fee. A wood permit is required to cut firewood; the Manistee National Forest portion is located in northwest lower Michigan. It has varying but sandy terrain covered with trees. There are numerous lakes and frontage on Lake Michigan; the area is popular for fishing, boating, cross-country skiing and hunting. The North Country Trail passes through it, it has a total area of 540,187 acres. In descending order of land area it lies in parts of Lake, Wexford, Mason, Muskegon and Montcalm counties.
There are local ranger district offices located in Manistee. The Manistee National Forest is broken by private property and towns. Much of the land had been abandoned by logging companies after being logged off a century ago; the Lumberjack 100, a 100-mile ultra-endurance mountain bike race is held annually within its bounds. The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness is a unique feature in the Manistee portion; this small area of 3,450 acres, situated on the east shore of Lake Michigan is one of the few wilderness areas in the U. S. with an extensive lake shore. Most of the dunes are 3500 to 4000 years old and some stand about 140 feet higher than the lake; the Nordhouse Dunes are interspersed with woody vegetation such as jack pine and hemlock. There are many small water holes and marshes dotting the landscape and dune grass covers many of the dunes; the beach is sandy. The Huron National Forest portion is in northeast lower Michigan, its southern boundary is at the latitude of Manistee's northern boundary.
It has a total area of 438,538 acres. It lies in parts of Oscoda, Iosco and Ogemaw counties. There are local ranger district offices in Oscoda; the Bull Gap ORV Trail is located in the Huron portion. It contains 115 miles of ORV trails; the threatened Kirtland's warbler nests in the area, tours are available, subject to time restrictions. Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad Official website
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System
The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, enacted by the U. S. Congress to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations; the Act is notable for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection; the Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the height of the United States environmental era, states:"It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, geologic and wildlife, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes." The Act established the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System to protect and enhance rivers found to be regionally and nationally significant. Rivers may be designated by Congress or, if certain requirements are met, the Secretary of the Interior; each designated river is administered by either a federal, state, or tribal agency, or as a partnership between any number of these government entities and local NGOs. Designated segments need not include the entire river and may include headwaters and tributaries. For federally administered rivers, the designated boundaries average one-quarter mile on either bank in the lower 48 states and one-half mile on rivers outside national parks in Alaska in order to protect river-related values.
As of August 2018, the National System protects over 12,700 miles of 209 rivers in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. By comparison, more than 75,000 large dams across the country have modified at least 600,000 miles, or about 17%, of American rivers; the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was an outgrowth of the recommendations of a Presidential commission, the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. Among other things, the commission recommended that the nation protect wild rivers and scenic rivers from development that would change their free-flowing nature and values. At this time, the country was experiencing rapid degradation of its water resources due to municipal and industrial effluent being released into the nation's rivers. Many waterways and the fish in them were toxic. Populations of aquatic species were declining and people were being relocated from their communities due to rampant dam building. All across the country people were writing letters imploring the President and First lady to protect their beloved rivers.
The act was sponsored by Sen. Frank Church and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 2, 1968. A river, or river section, may be designated by the U. S. Congress or the Secretary of the Interior. In 1968, as part of the original act, eight rivers were designated as National Wild and Scenic Rivers; as of November 2018, 209 rivers, totaling 12,754 miles of river in 40 states and Puerto Rico, have Wild and Scenic status. By comparison, more than 75,000 large dams across the country have modified at least 600,000 miles, or about 17%, of American rivers. Selected rivers in the United States are preserved for possessing Outstandingly Remarkable Values that fall into the 8 categories: Scenic, Geologic, Wildlife, Culture, or Other similar values; these values can be considered synonymous with ecosystem services, or those goods and services that nature provides and that benefit society. Rivers so designated are set out for protection and enhancement in perpetuity by preserving their free-flowing condition from dams and development that would otherwise diminish the quality of their remarkable values.
National Wild and Scenic designation vetoes the licensing of new dams on, or directly affecting the designated section of river. It provides strong protection against federally funded bank and channel alterations that adversely affect river values, protects riverfront public lands from new oil and mineral development, creates a federal reserved water right to protect flow-dependent values such as fish habitat. Designation as a Wild and Scenic River is not the same as a national park designation, does not confer the same protections as a Wilderness Area designation. Wild and Scenic designation protects the free-flowing nature of rivers in both federal and non-federal areas, something the Wilderness Act and other federal designations cannot do. Despite misplaced fears, WSR designation does not alter private property rights. Federally administered National Wild and Scenic Rivers are managed by one or more of the four principal land-managing agencies of the federal government. Of the 209 National Wild an
National Natural Landmark
The National Natural Landmarks Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the natural history of the United States. It is the only national natural areas program that identifies and recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership; the program was established on May 18, 1962, by United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. The program aims to encourage and support voluntary preservation of sites that illustrate the geological and ecological history of the United States, it hopes to strengthen the public's appreciation of the country's natural heritage. As of November 2016, 599 sites have been added to the National Registry of National Landmarks; the registry includes nationally significant geological and ecological features in 48 states, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands; the National Park Service administers the NNL Program and if requested, assists NNL owners and managers with the conservation of these important sites.
Land acquisition by the federal government is not a goal of this program. National Natural Landmarks are nationally significant sites owned by a variety of land stewards, their participation in this federal program is voluntary; the legislative authority for the National Natural Landmarks Program stems from the Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935. The NNL Program does not have the protection features of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Thus, designation of a National Natural Landmark presently constitutes only an agreement with the owner to preserve, insofar as possible, the significant natural values of the site or area. Administration and preservation of National Natural Landmarks is the owner's responsibility. Either party may terminate the agreement; the NNL designation is made by the Secretary of the Interior after in-depth scientific study of a potential site. All new designations must have owner concurrence; the selection process is rigorous: to be considered for NNL status, a site must be one of the best examples of a natural region's characteristic biotic or geologic features.
Since establishment of the NNL program, a multi-step process has been used to designate a site for NNL status. Since 1970, the following steps have constituted the process. A natural area inventory of a natural region is completed to identify the most promising sites. After landowners are notified that the site is being considered for NNL status, a detailed onsite evaluation is conducted by scientists other than those who conducted the inventory; the evaluation report is peer reviewed by other experts to assure its soundness. The report is reviewed further by National Park Service staff; the site is reviewed by the Secretary of the Interior's National Park Advisory Board to determine that the site qualifies as an NNL. The findings are provided to the Secretary of the Interior who declines. Landowners are notified a third time informing them that the site has been designated an NNL. Prospective sites for NNL designation are aquatic ecosystems; each major natural history "theme" can be further subdivided into various sub-themes.
For example, sub-themes suggested in 1972 for the overall theme "Lakes and ponds" included large deep lakes, large shallow lakes, lakes of complex shape, crater lakes, kettle lake and potholes, oxbow lakes, dune lakes, sphagnum-bog lakes, lakes fed by thermal streams, tundra lakes and ponds and marshy areas, sinkhole lakes, unusually productive lakes, lakes of high productivity and high clarity. The NNL program does not require designated properties to be owned by public entities. Lands under all forms of ownership or administration have been designated—federal, local and private. Federal lands with NNLs include those administered by the National Park Service, National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and Wildlife Service, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army Corps of Engineers and others; some NNL have been designated on lands held by Native tribes. NNLs have been designated on state lands that cover a variety of types and management, as forest, game refuge, recreation area, preserve.
Private lands with NNLs include those owned by universities, scientific societies, conservation organizations, land trusts, commercial interests, private individuals. 52% of NNLs are administered by public agencies, more than 30% are privately owned, the remaining 18% are owned or administered by a mixture of public agencies and private owners. Participation in the NNL Program carries no requirements regarding public access; the NNL registry includes many sites of national significance that are open for public tours, but others are not. Since many NNLs are located on federal and state property, permission to visit is unnecessary; some private property may be open to public visitation or just require permission from the site manager. On the other hand, some NNL private landowners desire no visitors whatever and might prosecute trespassers; the reasons for this viewpoint vary: potential property damage or liability, fragile or dangerous resources, desire for solitude or no publicity. NNL designation is an agreement between the federal government.
NNL designation does not change ownership of the property nor induce any encumbrances on the property. NNL status does not transfer with changes in ownership. Participation in the NNL Program involve