Report to Show Climate Change Is Already Impacting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Isle Royale National Park

Major Parks In or Near Highlighted; Current and Potential Impact on Beaches, Wildlife, Tourism Revenue and Jobs to be Detailed
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LANSING, MI.//NEWS ADVISORY– Climate change is already damaging the fragile ecosystems of major national parks in or near Michigan and throughout the rest of Great Lakes area, according to a new report to be released during a phone-based news conference sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) at 12:30 p.m. CDT/1:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday (July 13, 2011).  

The report focuses on the five largest parks on the Great Lakes which attract a combined four million visitors annually: Sleeping Bear Dunes NL, Pictured Rocks NL, and Isle Royale National Park (NP) in Michigan; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (NL) in Indiana; and Apostle Islands NL in Wisconsin. Indiana Dunes is located in the Chicago vicinity, and Apostle Islands is offshore from Minnesota. Both sites attract substantial numbers of out-of-state visitors.

According to the report, increased temperatures resulting from a changing climate could have particularly destructive impacts along the shores of the Great Lakes. New projections done for the report show that summers in Indiana Dunes could become as hot as those of Gainesville, Florida. Already, there is a likelihood of lower Lake levels and disappearing winter ice cover. These changes would bring a cascade of problems, including increased erosion, which, at Indiana Dunes NL, could literally wipe away some of the parks’ signature sand dunes. Changing temperatures also could bring massive changes to biodiversity in the parks, with possible losses of moose and wolves at Isle Royale and wildlife at the other parks covered in the report.

“Great Lakes National Parks in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption” also details the action that can be taken both in specific parks and on a national level to tackle climate disruption.  

News event speakers will be:

* Stephen Saunders, president, Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior overseeing the National Park Service;

* Dale Engquist, former superintendent, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and president, Chicago Wilderness Trust;

* Thom Cmar, staff attorney, Chicago Office, Natural Resources Defense Council; and

* Larry J. MacDonald, mayor, Bayfield, Wisconsin.

TO PARTICIPATE: You can join this live, phone-based Michigan news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) at 12:30 p.m. CDT/1:30 p.m. EDT on July 13, 2011 by dialing 1-877-270-2148. Ask for the “Michigan Great Lakes climate report” news event.

CAN’T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio replay of this Michigan news event will be available on the Web at http://www.nrdc.org as of 5 p.m. CDT/6 p.m. EDT on July 13, 2011.

CONTACT: Leslie Anderson, (703) 276-3256 or landerson@hastingsgroup.com.   

The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization spreads the word about what a disrupted climate can do to us and what we can do about it. Learn more at http://www.rockymountainclimate.org.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national nonprofit organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, MT, and Beijing. Visit NRDC on the Web at http://www.nrdc.org.

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