Plan looks at Superior erosion at McLain State Park

Map provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources This map showing a piece of McLain State Park shows how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources expects Lake Superior erosion will change the shoreline.

BARAGA — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will spend about $1.25 million on McLain State Park this year, on the first phase of construction to address relentless Lake Superior erosion.

MDNR finalized a master plan for F.J. McLain State Park, with $1.25 million appropriated for an initial phase of construction beginning this spring.

In August, the DNR solicited public comments on the park master plan, which will guide developments at the park over the next 60 years.

“Over 250 public comments were received,” said Eric Cadeau, a regional field planner with the DNR in Baraga. “The plan has been reviewed and accepted by the DNR Parks and Recreation Division and was presented to the Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee on Dec. 8.”

Doug Rich, the western Upper Peninsula Parks & Recreation Division supervisor, told the Western Upper Peninsula Citizens Advisory Council Wednesday rates will be lower since construction will be ongoing throughout the summer.

“(With) a little bit of luck – God willing – you’re going to have a new McLain next fall,” Rich told the council at its Wednesday evening meeting at the Baraga Lakeside Inn. He said a popular day use area at McLain remain in place due to its popularity with survey respondents.

McLain is a 443-acre park situated between Calumet and Hancock, about 10 miles northwest of Hancock on M-203.

Severe storms in September 2014 and January 2015 eroded park roadways, utilities and large sections of embankment, forcing the closure of a dozen lakefront campsites.

Rich said some of these structures could fall into Lake Superior in the spring,

“The first phase of construction is set to begin this spring,” said Jamie Metheringham, unit supervisor for McLain and Twin Lakes state parks. “This phase is proposed to include construction of a new toilet and shower building, modern campsites with electric service and a new road within the campground.”

These new developments will take place in the midsection of the park.

Cadeau said the campground toilet and shower building will be sized to serve 130 campsites and 30 new modern campsites with 20/30/50-amp electrical service will be added.

The new campground circulation road will serve the existing campground. “The DNR awarded $1.25 million in 2017 capital outlay funds for Phase 1 implementation of the master plan,” Cadeau said. “A total of $1.45 million in funding has been provided to date for design and implementation of the F.J. McLain State Park master plan concepts.”

During the upcoming camping season, park officials anticipate the unavailability of flush toilets and showers at the park. Because of the temporary loss of those services, campers will be charged semi-modern rates for campsites and mini-cabins, $10 less than usual.

Water, electric, and the sanitation station will be available, however short term utility interruptions may occur during construction activities, which may be occurring throughout the 2017 camping season.

“We appreciate your patience during this transition period and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” Metheringham said.

“We appreciate your patience during this transition period and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” Metheringham said.

During this period, those making online reservations will initially be charged the full price ($28 per night), $49 for a mini cabin per night) and then refunded the difference ($10 per night). Fees to camp in the park’s Rustic Cabin ($65) and the Main, Breakies and Beach House shelters ($50) will not be discounted.

“Adjustments will be processed daily,” said Christa Sturtevant-Good, a DNR department specialist.