Pictured Rocks cautions hikers after 2nd large erosion

Associated Press

Munising — Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is cautioning hikers to stay away from the park’s dune and cliff edges after a second large-scale erosion event occurred in the Grand Sable Dunes area.

The incident this month took place just west of the park’s Log Slide Overlook, which is about seven miles west of Grand Marais and sits about 175 feet above Lake Superior atop the Grand Sable Dunes, the National Park Service website said. Heavy snow, ice and sand deposits as well as erosion caused the platform to break off and slide about 100 feet down the face of the dune, according to the website.

“We hope to be able to move the walkway back from the edge and find a stable area on which to rebuild the viewing platform,” said acting Superintendent John Madden. “We will know more after the ice and snow melts and we can get a good look at the area.”

Pictured Rocks Chief of Interpretation Susan Reece said both erosion areas are popular scenic spots for tourists and through-hikers, with the Log Slide Overlook bringing about 12,000 people in the summer.

“The area’s continually changing,” she said. “There isn’t a nice sandy dune that you might see in places like Sleeping Bear Dunes right now. It’s sand and cliffs, clay drop-offs all the way down the over 300-foot face of the dunes.”

Park officials hope the Log Slide Overlook viewing platform it can reopen in 2018. From the overlook, visitors could view the Au Sable Light Station to the west, and the Grand Sable Banks and Grand Marais to the east.

The most recent erosion also took out a piece of the North Country Trail network. Park staff said they’ll mark a temporary trail to bypass the erosion.

The terrain at Pictured Rocks ranges from beaches, high cliffs and hardwood forests with over 100 miles of trails. Situated between the communities of Munising and Grand Marais, the park offers backcountry camping as well as drive-in sites.