Great Lakes National Parks in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption

Human disruption of the climate is the greatest threat ever to America's national parks. This report details the particular threats that a changed climate poses to our Great Lakes national parks -- those within the lakes or on their shores.

Seven units of the national park system on the shores of the lakes contain some of the most spectacular, nationally significant resources along the Great Lakes coastline. This report focuses primarily on the five largest of these parks, all on lakes Michigan and Superior: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (NL) in Indiana; Sleeping Bear Dunes NL, Pictured Rocks NL, and Isle Royale National Park (NP) in Michigan; and Apostle Islands NL in Wisconsin.

The threats of climate disruption to the national parks in the Great Lakes are also threats to the region's economy. The five parks featured in this report together drew more than four million visitors in 2010. Visitor spending in 2009 totaled more than $200 million and supported nearly 3,000 jobs. These economic benefits are at risk as a changing climate threatens the special resources that draw vacationing families and others to these parks.

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