Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Natural Resources, Cultural Resources and Recreation…
The name gives it away. It’s not a secret that the most unique feature of this Park are the sandy dunes – bluffs overlooking the crystalline Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. Here in the little finger of Michigan is the largest moving sand dune in the world. Thirty-five miles and 71,000 acres of unspoiled beauty along Michigan’s northwest shoreline and the magnificent Manitou Islands defines Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore established in 1970.
Created to protect its hardwood forests, rolling hills, towering sand dunes, freshwater lakes, quiet beaches, and scenic farmscapes – the Park is the steward of these natural and cultural treasures. Protection of these resources is balanced with offering these as a playground for recreational activities.
With its headquarters and visitors center located in Empire, the Lakeshore extends south into Benzie County and north through Leelanau County skipping around many privately owned homes and cottages. Over one million visitors come each year to enjoy this scenic wonderland and partake of its uncrowded beaches off Lake Michigan, and trail systems that offer breathtaking views in all seasons. The Park embellishes what nature and history has provided, through its engaging interpretive programs and scenic drives.
Historic properties can open visitor’s exploration and education. When established, the Park purchased many of the historic farms dotting its landscape, but it wasn’t until some time later that their historic significance was recognized and efforts to preserve them began.
Today, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore proudly offers interpretive explorations of life in another time at the historic Maritime Museum and the historic village of Glen Haven.
In addition, the Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear park partner (a “Friend’s” group), has rehabilitated the Charles and Hattie Olsen farm (and many other structures) offering interpretive information to the public. Other historic landscapes can be explored on the mainland and South and North Manitou Islands. As historic properties are preserved, the future holds promise for additional educational opportunities in the Park that allows visitors to peer into the lives of those who first settled in Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has promised to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources entrusted to their care for the education and enjoyment of all. We hope all who find pleasure in these pristine and culturally rich surroundings will protect and care for them as well. How You Can Help
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