Exploring Track Chairs


A major area of emphasis for Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is to make Park beaches and trails more accessible to people of varying abilities. We know that it is often difficult for someone to get from the parking lot to a beach or a scenic overlook. So we’ve been exploring a variety of approaches.

We have been working with the Park’s Roads and Trails crew to design a hard walkway from the handicap parking area at the Cannery in Glen Haven to the beach. This will allow families with small children, older visitors, and those in wheelchairs an easier way to get down to the beach. This walkway will be installed before Labor Day.

Track Chairs on Alligator Hill Trail

Track Chairs on Alligator Hill Trail

Trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes often have steep slopes or sandy soil, which makes it difficult for some visitors to experience the natural environment or get to some of the spectacular vistas that others can hike to. We’ve been exploring the possibility of purchasing a track chair to make available to visitors with limited mobility. We will be working with Park management to see if we can set up a system to make one of these chairs available in the Park by 2018.

Island View from Alligator Hill Trail with Track Chair

Island View: Alligator Hill Trail on Track Chair








Videos Describe Friends of Sleeping Bear


Tired of reading? Why not watch some short video clips that describe Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes? This video playlist was developed by Libby Graves, our summer intern for social media. In a couple of minutes, you get an overview of some of our major projects and learn ways you can become an active member.


Bike Racks on Heritage Trail



Bike Rack at North Unity School Boardwalk

Bike Rack at North Unity School Boardwalk

Bike racks built at the Glen Haven Blacksmith Shop were placed along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Look for these steel and black locust bike racks at the Cannery in Glen Haven, Kelderhouse Cemetery, and North Unity School as well as in front of the Blacksmith Shop.

Bike Safety at Junior Ranger Day

Jr. Rangers learn Bike Safety

Jr. Rangers learn Bike Safety


The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes led a Bicycle Safety activity at the Junior Ranger Day Event at DH Day Campground on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Our Junior Rangers had to wear helmets, demonstrate signaling and riding through obstacles. They also learned how to take a tire off the rim and pump up a low tire.

THANK YOU to The Cyclery for providing bikes for the event!

Friends Receive Grant to Improve Accessibility

Evaluating accessibility at the SBHT Donor Plaza

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes (Friends) has received a grant for $17,500 from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) to assess trails and beaches at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

About 20% of Americans have a disability that limits their use of trails or beaches. Assessment and subsequent improvement of trails and beaches will allow more Park visitors to experience dune, woodland, and wetland habitats and our Lake Michigan and inland lakes. The Friends will have volunteers working with an expert in accessibility assessment to evaluate trails and beaches and make recommendations. We will also partner with the Disabilities Network of Northern Michigan and Northern Michigan Adaptive Sports and Recreation to bring individuals with disabilities and their families to attend “Beaches and Trails for Everyone” open house events to showcase newly enhanced accessibility features of the Park. This work will be done in 2017-2018.

If you are interested in being part of this project, click here to send us an e-mail to get on this team.

A Busy Year – 2016 Accomplishments


The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes spent over $66,000 in support of a wide variety of projects at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The largest projects in 2016 were maintenance of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, recovery from the windstorm in 2015, and the snowshoe program for 4th graders. Click here to see our annual newsletter that describes some of the projects and includes a list of projects we funded. For those of you who want more details about all of the projects we funded in 2016, click here.

What’s in the Plan for 2017?

We will definitely be busy in 2017 with our ongoing volunteer programs, but there will also be several big projects that we will need your help with. We will need volunteers AND donations to accomplish these big goals next year.

  • Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail – Annual Operations & Maintenance ($25,000)
  • Kettles Trail in the Bow Lakes Region of the Park – We will be building trail, observation deck, and parking lot in 2017 ($40,000)
  • Improvements to trails and Lake Michigan beach areas to make it easier for everyone to use. Projects are being identified and developed through an assessment by Park staff and nationally recognized experts. One beach that will definitely be addressed is Glen Haven. ($$ has not been determined yet)
  • New wayside interpretive panels for stops along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to replace the existing panels that were installed in the 1980’s. ($10,700)

Click here to make a donation for one of these projects or our General Fund.

4th Grade Snowshoe Program


The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore received two grants in support of the 2017 Snowshoe Hike Program for area 4th graders! One grant from The North Face Explore Fund is to provide transportation costs, snowshoe repair, and classroom materials. The other grant from the National Park Foundation is part of the Open Outdoors for Kids program provides Park Ranger staff and classroom materials and transportation costs for the school groups.

This winter 1,180 elementary students from 24 schools attended the Snowshoe Experience at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore!

Click here to learn more.

New Video features Sleeping Bear Dunes


A new video highlighting the beauty and diversity of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was produced by MyNorthMedia in Traverse City, publisher of Traverse Magazine. This project was managed by the Park’s Interpretive division and funded by Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Watch the video and share it with your friends!

Yoga on the Beach


Yes, it’s true! YOGA ON THE BEACH IS BACK FOR 2016

Tree-pose_Good-Harbor-250x188Yoga, fresh air, beautiful sunset, and the sound of gentle waves  lapping at the beach! That’s what you will get if you come to this Yoga on the Beach event! The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is partnering with Yoga on the Beach to conduct yoga sessions this summer starting on the Summer Solstice June 20 and then every Wednesday until August 17. Click here to see the Yoga on the Beach Facebook page.

Sessions will be held at Bohemian Road (CR-669) beach at 7:30 – 8:30 PM on the following dates:

  • August 3
  • August 10
  • August 17

A suggested donation of $10 will go to Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes to support projects in the Park.

Rain Location: 
Camille’s Body Shop
821 E Valley Rd
Maple City, MI 49664

Many Ways to Support the SBHT


The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes manages and operates the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. In 2015, it cost over $13,000 to maintain the trail. This year, we are looking for people who love and use the trail to pitch in and help us cover the cost. We are asking for a $2.00 donation for paper trail maps. You can download a trail map and print it for free, or you can use our online interactive map for free. Businesses who support the trail can be on the interactive map. Click here for details.

Bike Rack and the Blacksmiths who made it.

Bike Rack and the Blacksmiths who made it.

In addition, we’ve been asked to put benches, bike racks, and picnic tables at various places along the trail. So we are offering donors the opportunity to make substantial donations to the trail and in return, we will dedicate one of these to you or whoever you designate.

We’ve also found that people love to have part of the trail in their home. One way is to make a donation and receive a mile-marker sign that was used on the SBHT. These small signs (3.25″ square) were replaced with the yellow emergency mile-marker signs in 2015.

Click here to see details on these and other ways you can support the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.