This Year We Are Celebrating 25 Years of Support
In 2019, The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes provided over 13,500 volunteer hours to support a wide variety of projects at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The largest projects in 2019 were the inception of the Track Chair Program and the completion of the Kettles Trail.
The Kettles Trail is officially complete and was commemorated by a Grand Opening Ceremony in late October which was attended by over 150 people. Attendees had the opportunity to see the trail with a guided hike by volunteers who helped build the trail. Our Track Chair Program is the first of its kind in a national park. We helped 70 visitors experience the Bay View Trail who otherwise would not be able to access due to the sandy and uneven trail.
This year, The Friends raised over $122, 500 for programs to maintain the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail all year long, facilitate the completion of the Kettles Trail, support school snowshoe hikes in the park, produce and update trail maps in the park, provide preventative search and rescue efforts, as well as purchase an additional Track Chair for the 2nd year of the program.
In November, The Friends also released a book written and published by volunteers, The Life of the Sleeping Bear which blends art, history, and science to provide a colorful tour of this precious geological and environmental area. With every purchase of our book, all proceeds come directly back to The Friends to support continuing programs.
Click here to see our annual newsletter that describes some of the projects and includes a list of projects we funded. For those who want more details about all of the projects we supported in 2019, click here.
What’s in the Plan for 2020?
Not only are we celebrating 25 years of service in partnership with the National Park, but the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore will also be celebrating its 50th year in existence in the year 2020. Keep an eye out for special events from us and the park all year long to commemorate the history and impact the National Park has made to protect the natural wonder of the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
We will continue to be busy in 2020 with our ongoing volunteer programs, but there will also be several big projects that we will need your help with.
- Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail – Annual Operations & Maintenance plus beginning work on an extension of the trail from Bohemian Road (CR669) to Good Harbor Trail (CR-651)
creating 5 more miles of paved access.
- Kettles Trail – We will continue work and maintenance on the new trail including adding an observation deck at the bog, benches, as well as additional interpretive and directional signage.
- Echo Vally Trail – Assessment and planning for a proposed mountain bike trail will begin in the spring of 2020.
- Continued accessibility improvements to trails and beach access points.