SENEY, Mich. (WJMN) — A federal wildlife refuge in the Upper Peninsula is launching four projects to fix up and upgrade its features.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge north of Manistique will repair bridges and water control structures, rehabilitate the show pool site, improve the Pine Ridge Nature Trail and replace and enhance the visitors’ center.
The latter is one of the biggest projects.
“That’s going to be located on the side of the current visitor’s center, Seney manager Sara Siekierski said. “And so we just started this fall on the demolition of the existing visitors’ center so that we can start to make room for the new building that will go on that same site that will also hold our office facilities that currently are in a separate building in that same general area. So we’ll be reconfiguring the parking lot, making sure we can continue to grow with our visitor needs and better providing parking and recreational access to the trails.”
Siekierski said these infrastructure projects were made possible through the Great American Outdoors Act.
“That was a passed which was some bipartisan legislation and so we got funding through that opportunity,” she said. “And then we also used some federal highway dollars for parts of the projects. Between the federal highway and the GAOA funding, is about $12.5 million for all four initiative projects.”
She said her staff is making efforts to ensure a smooth transition for the wildlife and preserve the history of the refuge, which was created in 1935.
“We’re looking at energy efficiency,” Siekierski said. “We’re looking at bird-friendly windows. We’re looking at certification for dark skies. Trying to protect when we get parking lot lights that we make sure that they are not ruining our night sky opportunity, which I think the U.P. is well known for, as well as how that can affect and influence wildlife. And also just so folks understand that we’re trying to honor our past and there is sentimental attachment to all of these buildings and infrastructure and we don’t want to lose a piece of that history.”