The historic agricultural landscape is an important part of the Port Oneida Rural Historic District within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Viewing the relationship between the farms and fields of the district gives the visitor appreciation of the lifestyle and challenges of the people who lived here. These fields have not been farmed for many years and trees and other woody vegetation begin to reclaim the fields back into forest. For this reason, the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has purchased a tractor and brush hog mower to mow the historic farm fields.
The Port Oneida Landscape Management Plan for the historic district was completed in 2012. It defines which farm fields will be maintained as agricultural landscape and which will be allowed to go back to forest. As a result, there are approximately 800 acres of fields to mow to keep woody vegetation under control. The National Park Service will continue to clear trees from those fields designated to be maintained as agricultural, and when the trees are removed, the Friends will mow them to keep the woody vegetation from reestablishing itself.
The Friends have applied for a grant and are raising pledges to purchase a larger tractor and mower because of the increased acreage to be mowed.
If you are interested in volunteering to mow fields, or want to help us raise funds for a larger tractor and mower, contact us.