Who We Are

Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear



To preserve and interpret the rich heritage of historic structures and cultural landscapes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Facts:  366 historic structures and landscapes representing the late 1800s and early 1900s.  We are not funded by the Park

Our Projects and Programs

  • Raise awareness of the value & endangerment of historic resources
  • Fundraising
  • Historic Structure Preservation Volunteer & Contracted Projects
  • Landscape Restoration
  • Adopt-A-Building Program
  • Adopt-A-Landscape Program
  • Adaptive-use leasing program – New!
  • Historical Research
  • Advocacy for cultural resources  in Park management plans
  • Interpretive Exhibit at the Olsen Interpretive Center
  • Interpretive Field Guides
  • Historic Tours
  • Port Oneida Rural Arts & Cultural Fair – co-sponsor and site coordinator
  • Annual Chicken BBQ
  • Educational programs


There was a time when a large number of historic resources in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore were in jeopardy. Standing silently in the shadows of the unique and stunning geological features of this magnificent shoreline, was a vast collection of farms and maritime structures depicting a changing landscape of human history that went largely unnoticed when the Park was established.

Eventually, the quantity and quality of this historically significant cultural history could no longer be ignored.  With the help of heightened public awareness, their timeless value to the region was revealed.

This shifted the fate of these treasures and the danger of their being lost forever. With no funding to take on and maintain such a large preservation project, the National Park gladly accepted the help of the newly-formed nonprofit Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear as a park partner dedicated to preserving both the historic buildings and the About Preservestories they have to tell.

Together, they’re working to save over 360 remnants of 18th century agriculture, logging, maritime and tourism activities which speak of the struggles, resourcefulness, and heroism of the day.  Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear feels it’s important to preserve this past which offers a wealth of inspiration, recreation and education for the present and the future.”  They’re still in jeopardy.


We raise funds through membership, donations, grants, events, and corporate funding, and coordinate and implement volunteer preservation projects. We also provide interpretive experiences through our Walking Tour Guide, exhibits and programs.

In Spring of 2004, Preserve completed rehabilitation of the historic Charles and Hattie Olsen house in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. The organization relocated its office to the farmhouse under a Special Use permit issued by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Situated on a visible stretch of M-22 near the gateway to Port Oneida, the house serves as an interpretive center for cultural landscapes and a place for communicating Preserve’s goals and preservation needs to the public.

We are a nonprofit 501 c 3 organization.


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was established by an Act of Congress October 21, 1970. In addition to the primary purpose of preserving the natural resources, the legislation required that the Park “…shall prepare and implement a land and water use management plan, which shall include specific provisions for – protection of scenic, scientific, and historic features contributing to public enjoyment.”

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© 2012 Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear. All Rights Reserved.