Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

A dead water bird, speckled black and white, lies on beach grass.
National Park Service

Dozens of dead loons washed up at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore last week. On Friday afternoon, the official carcass count was 32.

Creative Commons

 

Michigan is home to twice as many sand dunes as previously thought.

A researcher says maps done in the 80s only accounted for large dunes, usually found along a lakeshore, but a new map shows there are over 230,000 acres of dunes in the state.

Michigan State University’s Geography Chair Alan Arbogast says he looked at remotely sensed imagery, aerial photos, topographic maps and went on field visits to complete the map.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Facebook page

 

The National Park Service is improving access for disabled visitors to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Parks Service recently added a ramp at the Platte River boat launch and an all-terrain wheelchair that goes on trails. They also have beach wheelchairs available.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Park Ranger Merrith Baughman says the parks should be available to everyone.

"Here’s some way that people who would otherwise have trouble getting on the beach can access beautiful parts of the park," she says.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, the water is so high in Michigan this summer that shorelines are disappearing, docks are underwater and rivers are overflowing. Plus hear how high water is affecting public access to beaches and research on avian botulism. 

 


Map shows prescribed burn areas
National Parks Service

For the first time, the National Park Service will do a controlled burn at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Officials say they plan to start the fire in two forested regions covering about 900 acres in the Platte River District.

Micah Bell is a fire prevention educator with the Great Lakes Fire Management Zone. He says without fire as a disruptor, hardwood trees will outcompete the pines and alter the forest’s ecology.

 

Broken glass spread along Sleeping Bear Dunes beach

Apr 16, 2019
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

 

The National Parks Service says broken glass was purposely placed in the sand along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The glass was found near Good Harbor Picnic Area at the east end of Lake Michigan Road in Cleveland Township.

Park Rangers say it was spread evenly across several hundred yards. They say the pieces looked like they had been broken recently, and would have injured beachgoers if stepped on.

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

Reservations will be required for all campsites in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore starting April 1.

Most of the sites at Platte River Campground already took reservations, but D.H. Day Campground was entirely first-come first-serve, leading to long lines overnight as people waited to nab a site. The National Park Service says the change to reservations will fix those long lines.

Snowshoeing at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
NPS.gov/Kerry Kelly 2007

Updated Jan. 15, 2019: As of Saturday National Park maintenance workers have begun plowing and picking up trash.

While many federal employees continue to be out of work during the partial government shutdown, about 30 volunteers are filling in for park rangers at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

Members of the non-profit group Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes have emptied trash receptacles, cleaned and restocked bathrooms, and groomed 20 miles of trails around the Lakeshore.

Historic Sleeping Bear Inn taken off the market

Jun 28, 2017
National Park Service

The National Park Service is scrapping plans to lease out the historic Sleeping Bear Inn in Glen Haven. The two-story inn was built in 1857 and has not been unoccupied since the 1970's.

Morgan Springer

I’m staying at D. H. Day Campground in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with family. My uncle, aunt and three cousins are visiting from New York. It’s a perfect evening – in my opinion –  at Site 15. Somewhat cool; sweaters and socks weather. The sky is flecked with stars, and the peepers are out. We sit around around the fire roasting marshmallows for the classic camping dessert: s'mores. 

Aaron Selbig

A popular hiking trail near Glen Arbor is set to reopen this weekend. 

The Alligator Hill trail was wiped out by a powerful windstorm that hit northern Michigan last August. Crews with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore have removed hundreds of trees and restored the trail in its original location.

The park's deputy superintendent, Tom Ulrich, says there are no plans to remove the rest of the fallen trees on Alligator Hill.

Aaron Selbig

Soon it will cost more to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In January the entrance fee will go from $10 to $15, and the annual entrance pass will increase from $20 to $30. Camping fees will also increase. 

Merrith Baughman, ​park ranger and chief of interpretation and visitor services, says the National Park Service wants more consistent fees across the country. 

Mary Jo West

The park’s name comes from the Native American legend of a mother bear who swims from Wisconsin to escape a forest fire.

Marie Scott, a park ranger and interpreter who has worked at Sleeping Bear on and off since the 1970’s, says the park was preserved by joining existing state parks together with private land to retain public access to the so called “Third Coast.”
    

Last year Sleeping Bear Dunes ranked 13th out of more than 100 national parks, lakeshores, and recreation areas for the number of search and rescue operations conducted there.

Ghost towns don't only belong to the Old West. You can find them scattered all over Michigan, including Glen Haven, located in the Leelanau Peninsula right inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Marie Scott is a park ranger in the area. She says the town began before the civil war as a stop for steamers to pick up wood for fuel. As the traffic picked up, it grew from only a dock to a fully functioning town.

The National Park Service is ready to build a new hiking trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Kettles Trail will be on a piece of parkland that is inland a number of miles—near Maple City—and not connected to the rest of the lakeshore.

Linda Stephan

Fifty years ago, Congress set out to guarantee future generations would always have access to America’s great outdoors in its most natural state. But several recent requests for wilderness protections have been languishing on Capitol Hill.  

In the past five years, just one new wilderness bill made it to law. This new law guarantees 35 miles of northern Lake Michigan shoreline will be forever left wild.

Good Harbor Bay

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

President Obama today (Thursday) signed into law the first-ever formal wilderness protections for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. More than 32,500 acres will remain primitive in perpetuity. No new roads or other amenities will be built in these areas.

 We explained the changes in detail in a blog post last week, after the U.S. House gave final approval.

Jim Sorbie/Flickr

Tuesday evening there was an historic vote in Congress for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The U.S. House voted to create the park’s first-ever formal wilderness plan. The bill now awaits the president’s signature.


U.S. House To Vote On Sleeping Bear Wilderness

Mar 3, 2014
Jim Sorbie/Flickr

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today (Monday) on a plan to designate 32,500 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness.

The move comes after more than a decade of debate both in northern Michigan and in Washington.

Under the legislation there are specific protections for hunting and fishing. Congressman Dan Benishek says the bill also ensures natural features will be protected, along with county roads, access to the water and historic structures. 

Peter Payette

A plan to designate large portions of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness could move forward today in Congress. It’s been five years since the plan was first proposed. It would designate 32,000 acres, more than 40 percent, of Sleeping Bear as wilderness.

Deputy Superintendent Tom Ulrich says that wouldn’t change much in the daily operation of the park, since those areas are already treated as wilderness. It would put the land off limits to future development.

Dead Fish Good Sign For Anglers, Not Swimmers

Jul 17, 2013

Just in time for peak travel season dead fish have been washing ashore on parts of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Kevin Skerl, the chief of natural resources at the lakeshore, says it’s not a big concern.

“This is something that happens every year. It’s just a question of if the conditions are such that the dead fish are showing up on beaches where people are,” says Skerl

Looking Back At The Fight For Sleeping Bear

Jun 19, 2013

As we celebrate 50 years on the air, IPR is looking back at stories and events that made a significant and lasting difference for life Up North.

In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to create a national lakeshore at Sleeping Bear Dunes. It protects in perpetuity a place that many consider a gem --not just for the Great Lakes -- but for the whole country.

But it was a bitter battle that lasted nearly a decade. Eventually people in the area accepted a role for government in protecting the environment.

Idea for a Lakeshore Park

Great Lakes Drownings Top 100 in 2012

Jan 7, 2013

More than 100 people drown in the Great Lakes last year and half of them were in Lake Michigan. That’s according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

Spokesman Dave Benjamin says one explanation for so many deaths in Lake Michigan is the lake is so long, 320 miles. Most of the wind comes out of the north or the south.