Park management requested the Friends to work with the NPS Roads and Trails crew to build another Beach Access Stairs at the road end of Sunset Shores (just off of Thoreson Rd.). Funding for this project was provided by an anonymous donor who wanted to protect the Lake Michigan bluffs from erosion. Fifteen volunteers worked on the project – including several from Cherry Republic. Over 250 hours of volunteer time + staff from NPS Roads & Trails accomplished the project in less than 2 weeks.
The project was completed the afternoon of July 3 – just in time for the 4th of July weekend, and the first people to use the new stairs was a family with a very young baby and another family member with a bad leg. They were thankful to have a safe way to get to the beach! Click here to see more pictures of the project.
Over the past several years, we have teamed up with Cherry Republic and NPS to build stairs at Lane Road and another one at the little gravel road about a mile further north on Port Oneida Rd.
These steep bluffs along Lake Michigan get eroded from all of the foot traffic sliding down the bluff from the road end to the dunes below. In addition, the soil around the roots of the trees is compacted which is hard on the trees. Looking at the area at Sunset Shores, you can see green vegetation in the forest understory – except in the area that people have walked from their cars to the bluff. Having the stairs will reduce human impact on these areas, while making it easier and safer for people to get from their cars to these secluded beaches.
Click below for maps to the three Beach Access Stairs in Port Oneida: