Commenters Ask How Peninsula Will Fix Parking, Congestion

Public comment period ends Feb. 8 for variance requested for remedies near Eagle Tower, but proposed reconfigurations haven’t been released 

Congestion problems, parking scarcity and general safety in the vicinity of Eagle Tower raised concerns last summer for Peninsula State Park leaders, but they need permission to correct the issues.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asked the public to make comments by Feb. 8 on a requested variance to the Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Regional Master Plan.

DNR Property Planner Yoyi Steele said she received comments in support of altering the Master Plan to allow for more parking, but has also received questions on exactly how the DNR plans to remedy the problem and create more parking near the tower, Eagle Terrace and Eagle Panorama overlook.

A DNR invitation for public comment included a link to a map of the current configuration of parking and roadways near the tower, terrace and overlook, but it did not show a proposed reconfiguration plan for parking lots or roadway and trail routing, Steele confirmed.

“There’s no schematic in there,” Steele said. “The intent is just to improve and reconfigure the roads right in that specific area.”

Park Superintendent Eric Hyde said many weekends, up to 100 cars fill all grassy, temporary-parking areas near Eagle Terrace and many motorists park illegally elsewhere. He said a map will be released soon, depicting the addition of 30 parking spots around the Eagle Terrace area; moving the park entrance booth and kiosk about 200 yards south; and creating 40-50 parking spots in an open area near the current location of the kiosk and turnaround lanes.

“The tower is so popular that a lot of people want to visit it,” Steele said. “The intent is to correct the problem in the area.”  

The proposal calls for creation of a maximum of 100 new parking stalls – well beyond the 20-30 near Eagle Terrace called for in the master plan, which is accessible via – and for some oversized-vehicle parking for RVs or trolleys where space allows.

“This may be accomplished by developing multiple parking areas based on space availability, site suitability, and user demands, removing/ relocating existing parking areas, and by reconfiguring or rerouting roads,” according to the variance application. “Safety features such as guardrails and pedestrian crossings may be added.”

Steele said all work would take place in the vicinity of the kiosk, tower, terrace and Panorama overlook. 

Construction will require vegetation clearing, extensive grading and additional substrate material, according to the variance request. Soil compaction may occur, and construction work may temporarily have a negative effect on aesthetics of the park and disturb wildlife, according to the variance request. Construction activities would occur between late fall and late spring, and erosion-control measures would be in place.

Trails may be built to connect parking areas. 

The application also seeks permission to install an open-air shelter with electricity and a maximum capacity of 50 people in the Eagle Terrace area. That modification would change that location’s Wisconsin Administrative Code NR44 classification to “modern.”

Comments may be directed to Wisconsin DNR, C/O Yoyi Steele, Property Planner, 101 S. Webster St. LF/6, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921; or [email protected] or 608.590.6027.

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