2022 Annual Newsletter

This year has been fantastic for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. In 2022, the Friends dedicated over 12,600+ volunteer hours and $177,000 in funds to help complete Park projects and connect with visitors to make the Lakeshore a safe place for visitors to experience while protecting resources. 

Our organization is committed to assisting the National Park Service team with enhancing visitor experiences and preserving the Lakeshore for many years to come. Thank you to our tremendous volunteers and supporters for your contributions and dedication to our mission. Here is a look at some of the projects that the Friends conducted and supported this year:

  • Our Preventative Search and Rescue volunteers increased visitor contacts by 8,000 and saw the low- est number of search and rescue operations and 911 calls since the program’s inception!
  • Expanded the Track Chair Program with an additional chair as well as brought the hikes to a new location, the Platte River Campground. 
  • Provided funding for the NPS and tribal consultants to develop and offer educational and interpretive programming about the history of the Anishinaabe.
  • Received a $20k grant from the National Park Foundation as part of a larger grant given to the Lakeshore for Night Sky education programs. 
  • Fabricated custom bike racks at the historic blacksmith shop in Glen Haven. 

View the full 2022 Annual Newsletter to read more about the programs and their impacts as well as statements from our new Chairman and Park Superintendant, Scott Tucker. 

Over our 25+ years in service working with the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, the Friends have accomplished some amazing work within the park. You can find a summary of this year’s accomplishments and all previous newsletters from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes on our Accomplishments Page. 



April 2022 Newsletter

This newsletter is jam-packed with lots of fun NEWS! It might not feel like it outside, but spring and summer are just around the corner.

There are lots of great things to put on your calendar this spring-like our annual volunteer training meeting, the premier event of the new National Lakeshore film, the Sleeping Bear Inn open house, and much more! Plus the 2022 track chair season, a social media and communications summer intern opportunity, and piping plovers returning home to nest. Keep reading for more details.

Photo Credit Lisa Borodychuck

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) has announced the world premiere of “Water, Sand, and Sky,” their new park film. The film will be premiered during National Park Week (April 16-24) in a public campaign called Sleeping Bear Everywhere.  Events will be held anytime during National Park Week, April 16-24, 2022. Be sure to check out the National Lakeshores Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sbdnl, and Instagram at www.instagram.com/sleepingbearnps for more information and locations of screenings.



Sleeping Bear Inn

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has issued a 40-year lease to Balancing Environment and Rehabilitation (BEAR) for the historic Sleeping Bear Inn and Garage in Glen Haven. The lease allows the Inn to be rehabilitated and opened as a premier bed and breakfast lodge. A public open house of the buildings will take place on Friday, April 8, 2022, at 1:00 p.m., following a short ceremony. The open house will provide the public the opportunity to see the buildings as they are before their rehabilitation. Read an article by John Mauk about how BEAR came to be and their plans for the Sleeping Bear Inn. https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/sleeping-bear-inn-awakens/


Looking For a Unique Summer Internship?

Join our communications team for a unique opportunity to work with a National Park’s non-profit partner organization (Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes) to help document happenings around the park during the busiest time of year to capture and share the National Lakeshore with all. We are looking for a motivated, enthusiastic, creative intern for FOSBD this summer to help take photos, conduct interviews, post on social media, help with promotions and other related projects. Read about the Internship opportunity and a full description on our Page.

Applications are requested by April 15th and can be sent to Laura Ann Johnson at comm@friendsofsleepingbear.org

Attention Adopt-a-Beach Volunteers! 
Do you ever wonder where the information you collect goes after you file your report? We coordinate our data with the Alliance for the Great Lakes—a nonpartisan nonprofit working across the region to protect the waters of the Great Lakes. On Wednesday, April 27th, at 11:00 am a representative from the Alliance will meet with our volunteers at the Sleeping Bear Inn to discuss how our data is used and the goals for the 2022 season. Please mark your calendars now, and join us if you are in the area. This is also an excellent opportunity to get a quick walk through the Inn before construction begins.

The Return of The Piping Plover

Piping Plovers will start returning in April, as they always do to our sandy shores. Piping plovers are classified as an endangered species in the Great Lakes region where they nest and raise their young on open beaches, building shallow nests in the sand and lining them with pebbles or broken shells. The birds are very sensitive to humans and dogs, and they abandon nests if they feel threatened. To read more about how you can be aware and help keep them feeling safe and sound, here is a blog, written by Sherry Gigous.


Marcie Meditch 

Years of service: 4 years helping with track chair committee and Yoga on the Beach 

From: Bethesda MD

Best advice: Just show up! FOSBD is great to volunteer with and is so fun!

Things you might not know I do: I regularly take and send in photos for Yoga on the Beach and deposit the donations weekly. I also pick up trash on Glen Haven beach, sweep accessible decks at Glen Haven, and send in trail maintenance and park rule infringements whenever I see them.

Favorite memory: I was a part of the original group who ‘test rode’ the track chair–it was a deeply moving experience to see the joy it brought to those who had never been able to access the hiking trails. 

We are happy to report that our 2022 Track Chair Season will be up and running this June. We plan on opening up reservations on June 1st and the track chairs will be available starting June 24th. We are also very excited to announce a third chair and new location. Due to a generous donation, we were able to purchase a third chair, which hopefully will be here in May. This chair will be available at the Platte River Campground to use on the Rail Road Grade Trail. This trail is relatively flat and leads to the Lake Michigan Shoreline. Please check our website for updates at trackchair.org.

We are also in need of additional volunteers, especially with the third chair. If you are interested please email us at trackchair@friendsofsleepingbear.org for further information. Stay tuned for more information about training sessions coming this spring. 

Join Our Team! 
We are looking for volunteers with good communication skills and experience with IT communication tools to join our high functioning organization. The Social Media Manager serves as a focal point ensuring Friends’ information reaches volunteers and the public alike via numerous Social Media outlets. The Assistant Website Content Manager will team with our Website Manager to ensure up-to-date information is available on the Friends Website. Together, these individuals along with our Newsletter Manager will ensure that the Friends maintain an active social media presence, up-to-date website, and outlet for information about current Friends and Park activities. 






March 2022 Newsletter

This March newsletter we are dedicating to YOU! Are you already a volunteer? Have you thought about volunteering but not really sure how? Have a special skill, talent or just a special place in your heart for the National Lakeshore?  One common theme from our “Meet Your Friends” segment, surrounds the question “what advice do you have for future volunteers?”… “jump in!”, “I wasn’t sure what I could do, but reached out and found a ton of fun ways to volunteer”, “There are so many ways to volunteer and it doesn’t take much time”.

Below you will find lots of ways and information about volunteering for Friends and we encourage you to reach out for more information on volunteering in general or one of our open positions.
Now is a great time to become a Friend of Sleeping Bear Dunes!

The Friends are using a new e-newsletter platform. If you have received e-newsletters in the past and did not get the March newsletter, please look in your email SPAM folder and mark it as NOT SPAM to continue receiving the monthly Friends newsletter. 

Communication Team Openings – Communications Director, Social Media Manager, Assistant Website Content Manager. We are looking for volunteers with good communication skills and experience with IT communication tools to join our high functioning organization.  The Communications Director helps to coordinate efforts of the Communications Team to educate the public about the Friends, our mission, projects, and opportunities available to help the park. The Social Media Manager serves as a focal point ensuring Friends’ information reaches volunteers and public alike via numerous Social Media outlets. The Assistant Website Content Manager will team with our Website Manager to ensure up-to-date information is available on the Friends Website. Together, these individuals along with our Newsletter Manager will ensure that the Friends maintain an active social media presence, up-to-date website, and outlet for information about current Friends and Park activities. 

Wondering what volunteer opportunities are out there? There is literally something for everyone, even if you are a mother of two, living remotely and working part time! Here are some of our most popular: 

Trail Ambassadors walk or bike the Trail wearing their orange Ambassador vests. They answer questions, help people, and provide a friendly face.

Adopt-a-River volunteers paddle a few times through the season to correct or report issues, and occasionally join in clean-up parties.

Adopt-a-Beach volunteers sign up for a stretch of beach and visit it regularly, collecting trash and reporting problems.

Adopt-a-Trail volunteers hike designated trails about once a month, removing small obstacles and reporting larger issues.

Adopt-a-Highway volunteers work as a group, joining in organized clean-up parties three times a year.

Managing FOSBD activities can’t commit to getting out in the park? Consider helping manage our communications through social pages, communications, writing, IT, or serve on our board.

Apply to Volunteer Today

In any season, the Park is an excellent place to get out and enjoy the trails. If you’re snowshoeing, hiking, or skiing your trail, these hours count! Please track your hours and continue to report any down trees or erosion concerns as it begins to melt out there. The Park depends on these volunteer hours as do we, as a lot of our grant funding is dependent on volunteer hours. Don’t forget to count your drive time to and from your trail, as this is considered part of your volunteer effort. If you’re visiting the area primarily in the “off” seasons to enjoy the trails and aren’t yet a volunteer, we’d love to have you join us! You can learn more by visiting our website: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/volunteer/



Name: Sherry Gigous

From:  Northern Indiana

Favorite spot in the park: Esch road beach and North Manitou

Years of service: since 2019

Favorite memory: As a naturalist, education about the beauty of nature around us is so close to my heart. I have especially like writing blog posts about Morel mushrooms, Petoskey stones and especially, Piping plover. I was never a birder until I met the amazing little plover! Falling in love with them led to a day I encountered a Sandhill crane at Little Glen Lake. He actually danced for me as I exchanged calls with him from a distance. Listening to his rattling bugle and realizing I was hearing a sound older than history was simply magical. It’s something I’ll carry with me always.

Best Advice: As a disabled volunteer, myself, I would encourage others with non traditional abilities to consider volunteering even if they’ve never thought they could. I live here exclusively because of my love for the Park, I wasn’t about to not try. One email to a volunteer coordinator and so many possibilities were shown to me.
You can do it!

Name: Todd Avis

From: Cleveland OH

Years of Service: Since 2021

Favorite Memory: I had to intervene between a husband and wife discussion as to which way to Glen Arbor.  The wife won.

Something Unexpected About Volunteering: I found that riding the trail on my off training days has been really beneficial. I use it to keep in shape, but go at a much slower pace. It’s a recovery day for me.

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Be prepared.  If you are a trail ambassador, be ready to be asked for just about anything.  I carry a small tool kit, a few first aid supplies, and an extra water bottle.  I was asked for a sewing kit one time.  



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February 2022 Newsletter

From Brooklyn New York, to North Dakota and Traverse City, we are very excited to debut our “Get to Know Your Friends” segment and introduce you to some of our amazing volunteers! The survey results are in, and we have an inside look at volunteering for Friends of Sleeping Bear. Learn about our volunteers’ favorite places in the park, their hidden talents, tips and tricks of being a volunteer, and more! If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or want to learn more visit our website.

Name: Harold (Hal) LaLonde (pictured with his wife)

From: All over the world (retired military), currently live in Northern MI year-round 

Years of Service: 15 years

Volunteer areas: Beach clean up, cleaning the beach is a great low impact exercise.

Best Advice: I listen to audiobooks while cleaning the beach. There are about 100 books on my iPod so every couple of years I can go through the entire Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter series.

Favorite Memory: Cold windy day with no one on the beach but me with snow coming in. I am the King of the beach.

Other Advice: Volunteering at the beach gets me out there far more often. It would be a shame to live in this area and not take advantage of it.


Name: Lisa Cunic

From: Heartland, Michigan, currently live in Northern MI year-round 

Years of Service: 2022 will be my first year volunteering! I worked as a park ranger at SBDNLS in 2021. 

Favorite Spot: Bohemian Road Beach  

Best Advice: Volunteer for what you like to do, and don’t feel pressured into doing something just because we need the help. Remember when you talk to guests it may be their first time visiting and they don’t know all the rules. Educate, don’t lecture. 

Favorite Memory: I look forward to giving people ideas for great trails they might not know about.

Feeling those winter blues? Get outside! There is a saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices.”

From cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, to hiking and ice fishing, winter is a great time to explore the park. Check out the National Lakeshores website for a list of activities and more information about each.

Unfortunately, our four-legged friends are not allowed in the trails in winter. Please remember that snowmobiling is not permitted on lands or waters of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Every Saturday through March 12th, hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski at designated locations in the park between 10 am and 3 pm. The trail lengths will vary each week, but the self-guided portion will be one mile or less. The last sign for the self-guided portion will be labeled so you can just turn around or continue on. The total length and timing is up to you.

Reservations are not required. The hikes are free, but participants do need a park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. The self-guided hike will be canceled in inclement weather with safety as the priority.

For more information visit the National Lakeshore’s website

Thanks to the Open OutDoors for Kids grant, schools can join in for free!
In the classroom, students will design, build, and test a small beach cleanup machine. These activities help students learn Next Generation Science Standards. Lessons focus on “Earth and Human Activity” and “Engineering Design.” Students will also be able to define words like “watershed” and the process for developing and using models.

All 3rd-5th grade classes in the Great Lakes region are encouraged to apply for the free lessons and design kits at  https://www.nps.gov/teachers/classrooms/wandering-the-watershed-menu-3-full-virtual.htm.



Winter is well underway and our trail groomers and volunteers have been getting a work out recently! If you haven’t had a chance to get out on our groomed trails, it is a must! The recent fresh powder has been freshly groomed and the trails are in top condition! For the most up to date trail conditions check out our website and Facebook page. 

In case you need a taste of summer, here is a beautiful photo from one of our volunteers James Gerndt and James Eye View Photography to help warm you up and remember those summer days.


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January 2022 Newsletter

Cheers to 2022! We trust you all had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying a great start to the New Year. December ended with some record-breaking numbers! Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore attracted 14,401 visitors in December, thus setting another annual visitation record. A total of 1,722,955 people frequented our local National Park in 2021, topping the previous record, which was set in 2020, by just over 4,000. The previous record was set in 2016 as reported by the Glen Arbor Sun on January 5, 2022. With the recent snowfall our volunteers are busy maintaining and grooming trails for cross country and skate skiing. This truly is one of the most beautiful times of year! 

It Is No Time To Hibernate!

The most promising part about the winter season in Northern Michigan is the abundant activities the National Park has to offer. Sledding down the Dune Climb, located 5 miles north of Empire, is the perfect family activity that becomes a popular and thrilling adventure. This 260-foot hidden gem in the heart of our lakeshore is the only site in the National Park where sledding is permitted. After hurrying to the top, you can appreciate the expansive views of the Glen Lakes, followed by the exhilaration of zipping down the dunes. Read the full blog here.

Meet Our Volunteer Blogger Olivia Kleshinski

Olivia and her family have a vacation home at the Homestead. Her neighbors, Helene and Dan Rimer encouraged Olivia to use her photography and writing talents and become a Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes volunteer. Olivia jumped into volunteering by walking trails, helping visitors, and taking great photos along the way. Her photos are featured in the Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear book.

Keep an eye out for her blogs about happenings around the park. Welcome Olivia!

Interested in becoming a volunteer…check out our Volunteer page on the website for more information.



Winter on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is special and can be enjoyed by all who enjoy a variety of winter activities. Friends volunteers groom the trail whenever the lakeshore receives fresh snow and temperatures are expected to stay below freezing. To sign up for email updates about trail grooming subscribe to our special e-newsletter by filling out this form

Rules for the Road on Skiing Trails Around the Park

  • A Park Pass is required – leave the pass in your car on the dash or in view.
  • Fat Tire Bikes are ONLY allowed on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. 
  • Pets are not allowed on ski trails during the winter ski season.
  • If you snowshoe or hike on backcountry trails, please stay out of the ski tracks.

A big wind storm we had at the end of December blew down 46 trees on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. All but one were located between Empire and Glen Haven. We had a team of four volunteers working to clear the down trees after the storm. Amazingly, none of those trees destroyed any of our signs. One bench on the big hill up from Greenan Road was destroyed. 

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers for jumping into action to clear the trees! Read more about the role of our Trail Maintenance Crew in keeping the trails safe and accessible in the winter to enjoy. 

“An additional Sleeping Bear Dunes captive-reared piping plover from the 2021 season was spotted on the wintering grounds recently. It is the fifth plover found so far this winter. This one was from the first clutch that had to be taken into captivity in 2021 from a nest near the maritime museum. The female disappeared, leaving only the male plover who only has one foot. We feared the two-egg clutch may not be viable but one of the eggs was fertile and survived to hatching and was released back at Sleeping Bear Dunes when it reached fledging age. The plover survived its first fall migration and was seen at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.” Wildlife Biologist Vince Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Plover News. Facebook, January 2, 2022.


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December 2021 Newsletter

Thanksgiving weekend gave us hope for a great snowy winter! A few snowstorms blew through and started to cover our trails. Our trail groomers will be up and ready to roll (literally) by the first big snow to prepare our trails for cross country, skate skiing, and fat-tire biking. As December often is a time for giving, we encourage you to think about supporting the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Your support helps the Friends maintain park trails, support National Park programs, and work on the development of new trails. A special thank you to everyone who purchased Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear and our 50th-anniversary mugs at the Empire Artisan Marketplace and Glen Arbor Holiday Marketplace on Saturday, November 27th. We will have one more table event in December for the perfect opportunity to find the perfect gifts for those on your list who love the lakeshore. 

All of us at Friends are wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season. Thank you for making 2021 a memorable year!  

Join us Outside the Cherry Republic Great Hall in Glen Arbor for a Winter Celebration!

Enjoy FREE hot chocolate and visit with Friends volunteers.

We will have copies of Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear books, limited-edition 50th Anniversary logo mugs, and stickers-perfect gifts for all those lakeshore lovers on your holiday shopping list.

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor on December 11th from Noon to 2 pm and learn more about the Winter Celebration on our website.




We are also looking for financial support to build a new place to store our equipment, like the grooming and trail maintenance equipment! Due to the renovation of the Sleeping Bear Inn, we need to move from the garages there. 
A new, 1600-square-foot storage facility is planned at the Dune Climb to store tools, educational supplies, and equipment including the track chairs and Park’s mobile visitor center. 
Help us make this project happen by making a generous donation by the end of the year. Our target is to raise $30,000 to complete the capital needs for this storage building. Select ‘Dune Center Garage’ when you donate.


The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been called “The most beautiful place in America” and it needs your help. Our 700+ member organization helps ensure that the more than a million people who visit the dunes each year have a great experience while helping to protect this precious resource.

We are Seeking Grant Writing Volunteers
We are looking for persons with good organizational and interpersonal skills to join our high-functioning all-volunteer organization. Some experience in submitting grant applications would also be very useful.
Learn more about the position here.

Read more about the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes or check out all of our great volunteer opportunities in the park or on our administrative team, visit our Volunteer Page.

Winter on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is special. Light fluffy snow covering the trees and trail make it ideal for photography, skiing, or snowshoeing through a secluded winter wonderland!

Most of the trail is groomed in the winter with a corduroy base for skate skiing, snowshoeing, and classic tracks on the outside for classic cross-country skiing. Fat tire etiquette, maps of ski trails, and difficulty levels can be found on our winter trails page.

Keep up with the current snow conditions by subscribing to the winter trail updates (Sign-up through the newsletter link below) or visiting the Trail Report Page. Please note dogs are not allowed on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail from Dec. 1st – March 31st. 

Are you an educator or know of an educator looking for a fun gift for your students this holiday season? Give them a free virtual visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes that they’ll never forget!

The Lakeshore has a wide variety of live virtual programs on topics such as glaciers, bear adaptations, Anishinaabe culture, and in-person snowshoe and STEM field trips available. Their calendar still has some availability in December as well as in Spring 2022.

More info about educational programs by the National Park and how to sign up can be found on the National Park Education Page.


This shipwreck gets buried and uncovered depending on the wave action on Lake Michigan. It is currently really exposed on the beach right at the end of the social trail from the corner of Lacore and Voice Roads just north of Empire. The best way to get there is to park in the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail trailhead on Bar Lake Road near Voice Road and walk the trail to the social trail at Lacore. Once you get to Lake Michigan, the shipwreck is just to your left.

Read about the shipwrecks on an article from May 2020 in the Leelanau Ticker.



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November 2021 Newsletter

We are grateful for…

  • Our 728 volunteers logging over 12,014 volunteer hours
  • Returning to semi-normal
  • All our summer visitors
  • All our Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park rangers 
  • All our track chair participants  
  • And so much more! 

We hope you have a gratitude-filled November and enjoy reading updates and park happenings in this newsletter. Keep an eye out for our Friends 2021 annual newsletter which will be in your mailboxes soon.

$5 off each copy of Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear ordered through the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes website.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Everyone was reading, quiet as a mouse;     
With their new Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear book in hand, 
They read tales of friendships and protecting the land. 

The children loved to learn the history,
And read nonstop to solve the mysteries 
Of sand dunes, beaches, and little shore birds.
They looked at the pictures and read all the words. 

Begin your tradition of stories to share.
Order your copy and a book to spare. 
Send one to neighbors, and family, and more, 
Begin sharing memories of cabins and s’mores. 

Adapted from “The Night Before Christmas” a poem by Clement Clarke Moore

Learn more about the Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear Book.

If predictions come true, we are in for a great snowy winter and we will be ready when the snow flies!

Make sure you stay up to date on all the local trail conditions by signing up for our newsletter. We’ll keep you posted on our website, newsletter, and social media so you can enjoy the best-groomed trails for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and fat tire biking.

Learn more on the winter trails page on our site.

Sign-up for the Winter Trail Report.  

Still Around the National Lakeshore? Consider Volunteering!

Looking for something to do this winter? Consider joining the trail crew and learn how to groom our awesome trails! Read more about all of our great volunteer opportunities on the Volunteer Page. 

Seeking Grant Writing Volunteers

We are looking for persons with good organizational and interpersonal skills to join our high-functioning all-volunteer organization. Some experience in submitting grant applications would also be very useful.
Learn more about the Grant Writing Positions. 

Hunting Season Precautions and North Manitou Deer Hunt

Hunting is allowed throughout most of the park. Please check SBD NLS website for all rules and regulations. Interested in applying to the North Manitou Deer Hunt Oct 30th – Nov 6th. You can learn more about the Manitu Hunt.
This Hunt helps the park control the deer herd and preserve the natural vegetation with this unique hunting opportunity.

Rifle season runs November 15th -30th and the Park open to hunting. 
If you are out enjoying the trails this fall be sure to bear bright colors.

Explore the newest hiking trail in the Park – Kettles Trail

This year we installed two new interpretive signs – one at the Kettles Overlook at the end of the accessible portion of the trail and one at the Bog Overlook.

The Kettles trail is a 3-mile trail with a short accessible trail from the trailhead to the Kettles Overlook. The trailhead is located near the intersection of Fritz Road and Baatz Road. 

This trail has something for you in every season!
In fall, the leaves are brilliant and the reflection off the bog is beautiful.
In winter, the higher elevation of this area provides some of the best snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the park. For skiers – there are some steep hills, so be careful!
In spring, you will find the best show of spring wildflowers and in summer, Kettles provides a quiet, cool, shaded forest hike. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes Seeking Winter Internship Applications

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is pleased to announce that they will be recruiting additional winter interns for the 2021/2022 season to assist with snowshoe field trips, weekend hikes, and virtual distance learning programs. Interns will gain valuable experience in the fields of environmental education and interpretation, and will also be introduced to the policies, procedures, and career paths within the National Park Service (NPS). Internships in the NPS bolster student skills and experience and are designed to be stepping-stones to careers within the agency or similar workforce. Interns receive a stipend of $20 per day, government housing, and a volunteer uniform. This position is open to current college students and those who have graduated within the past two years.

The internship time period is early January to mid-March with the opportunity for extension based on student academic requirements. Visit the “Work with Us” section of the Sleeping Bear Dunes website for application information at https://www.nps.gov/slbe/getinvolved/winter-interpretation-interns.htm.

In FY2021…

  • 728 current members

  • $74,730 donated by individual members

  • 256 individuals volunteered 12,014 hours

  • 25,000 PSAR visitor contacts

  • 55 track chair users hosted

  • Over 280 participants in Yoga-on-the-Beach

  • 1,199 pounds of trash picked up

  • 13 beaches patrolled

  • 29 hiking trail sections (about 85 miles) monitored

  • 20 miles of Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail maintained

  • 1,000 acres mowed

Look forward to your copy in the mail and special e-newsletter in November. 


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October 2021 Newsletter

Happy October! The air is bringing colder temperatures and the smell of Fall is in the air. There are apples on the trees and the leaves are starting to make quite a colorful display around the Lakeshore. Lots of updates in this newsletter, including, our 2021 PSAR (Preventative Search and Rescue) stats, another opportunity to buy our new book Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear, Park internship openings and a great giving opportunity.


Take a Peek at our Fall Colors

October is leaf peeping month! MyNorth.com provides a great update of colors around the region. Warmer temperatures early in September lead to less leaf change, but now that we have seen some cooler temps, be on the lookout as colors will start to change quickly.

Visit our Trails page to find all the trails in the park to explore, some of our favorites in the fall are the Kettles Trail, Alligator Hill, and Platte Plains Trails. Find new areas in the park through the Educational Booklets like learning about the Lakeshore Ghost Towns

Fall Hours at Glen Haven 

The museums in the Glen Haven Historic District are open 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Starting Tuesday, October 12, the museums will be closed for the season.  You still have a few weeks to experience what it was like to live and work in this company town at the turn of the 20th century, all with fewer crowds! 
View an Educational Booklet and Map of the Historic Glen Haven area. 



The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes (FOSBD) is looking to fund a new storage facility to be used in support of a number of programs in the National Lakeshore. We currently occupy three of the six bays of the Sleeping Bear Inn’s garage building, and will need to move the contents of those bays so the Inn can move forward with their renovations. The proposed storage facility is planned to be an addition to the existing Dune Center building at the Dune Climb, and  will be approximately 1600 square feet, fully insulated, heated and will house the following: 

  • Heritage Trail maintenance tools and equipment 
  • The Park’s Mobile Visitor Center van 
  • The Friends’ Accessibility trailer, equipment, and track chairs
  • The Friends’ books, visitor information booklets, stickers, and trail maps

The target is to raise $30,000 to complete the capital needs for the storage building addition.  The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes are asking you, our members, community supporters, trail users, and Park visitors to help us make this project happen by making a generous donation this Fall. 

To make a donation, visit our Donation Page and select ‘Dune Center Garage’ in the ‘Use My Donation For’ drop-down menu.


Summer 2021 Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) Stats

As of early September, the PSAR team made 17,310 PSAR contacts and 8,243 general contacts for a total of 25,553 visitor contacts this season! Together, we put in 510 hours out on the dunes! That averages out to 50 contacts per hour. Also, we assisted 46 hikers who were in some form of distress. We ended up having ten 910) SARs and seven (7) 911 calls which is almost identical to what the Park saw in 2020 (9 SARs, 9 Calls) and 2019 (10 SARs, 8 Calls). Compare these to 2016 (31 SARs, 56 Calls) and the success of this program could not be any more evident. A huge thank you to all our PSAR volunteers. To find out more about this and other programs check out our PSAR Page

Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear Table Event 10/11 

Join us at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor on Sunday, October 10th for an Information Table where we will also have Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear on site for sale. 

Where: Cherry Republic, 5109 S. Lake St, Glen Arbor 
When: Sunday, October 10, 2021
Time: Noon – 2 PM

For more information about the book and to purchase that perfect holiday gift of up north memories, go to: www.sleepingbearbooks.org

The 2021 Track Chair season finished up at the end of September. We had fifty-five visitors use the Track Chair for a hike on the Bay View Trail. Visitors ranged in age from 10-97 and came from across Michigan and 11 additional states and D.C. Ten of those hikes were done with both chairs, allowing families with more than one mobility-challenged member to go together proving the second chair to be a great addition to the program! 
We hope to expand the season next year from mid-June to mid-October. We are also very excited to announce that, due to a generous donation, we will be purchasing a third chair! We hope to have this chair at a different location so that our Track Chair users can experience another beautiful area of the Park.
Stay tuned there will be updated information coming this Spring of 2022 and you can always learn more about this program on our Track Chair Program Page

As always we want to thank our wonderful volunteers that make this program possible. Due to their committed dedication, a hike has never had to be canceled because of a lack of a volunteer.

Learn More about how the Track Chair works with our video! 


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore along with FOSBD have been doing a tremendous job of protecting federally endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers. Efforts include plover monitoring, restricting certain areas of the beach so nests are not disturbed by visitors or pets, educating the public about ways people can help, and sometimes even saving eggs from abandoned nests so birds can be reared in captivity at the University of Michigan Biological Station and released into the wild. The 2021 season was the most successful breeding season the Park staff have seen since their work to help piping plover recovery began. As of August 5 of this year, 81 chicks successfully fledged.  The previous record was in 2018 when 72 chicks fledged. 

This year’s success is likely due, in part, to the reduced water level in Lake Michigan and the resulting increase in beach habitat. Sleeping Bear Dunes provides habitat for one-third to one-half of the plovers in the Great Lakes population.

For more information visit https://www.nps.gov/slbe/learn/nature/pipingplover.htm. For additional updates on this year’s success, read the article on MLive.com, and Sleeping Bear Dunes marks record breeding season for piping plovers on mlive.com.


Park Seeking Winter Intern Applicants 

Interested in learning more about working at a National Park, or do you know of someone who is looking to start their career with the Park Service?  Internships are a great way to learn more! Check out the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore website for more information on available internships and how to apply. 








During our Annual Meeting in August, we heard about Friends programs and updates from the park. We also voted in new and second term Board Members. You can view and learn more about our leadership on our Board Member page

Find a recap about the 2020-2021 year on our Annual Meeting Page


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September 2021 Newsletter

We made it through the dog days of summer and have had some amazing weather these past few weeks! Lake Michigan is a pleasant 72-73 degrees and things are starting to slow down just a little bit as folks head back to school, work, and their regular routines. The Lakeshore is on track for another record-breaking year! Visitation numbers are about 7% ahead of last year’s numbers. The National Lakeshore attracted 996,650 visitors through July in 2021, compared to 931,827 in 2020. Hope you all made it to our virtual Annual Meeting. If you were not able to attend, you can watch the replay on the Annual Meeting Page or our Youtube Chanel.

Emmy Strickland (Age 5) heard that the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes had a booth promoting their new book, Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear, at the Glen Arbor Farmers’ Market on August 3rd. With her dad, Bill, Emmy rushed over to the Market to surprise the Friends with a donation earned at her lemonade stand. Emmy offered free lemonade, squeezing the lemons herself, for a donation to the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Emmy’s hard work paid off, and she raised over $163 for the Friends. When we asked Emmy how she raised so much money she said, “I wanted to give free lemonade to people and help the pPrk.” According to her Dad, Emmy’s favorite spot in the park is Sleeping Bear Point. The Lakeshore impacts young and old visitors alike, and we are so honored that Emmy chose the Friends organization as the recipient of her philanthropic efforts.
Thank you Emmy! Read her full story here: Lemonade Stand Benefit for the Friends.

Beach Fires and Camping 
With the increase in visitors comes the increase of illegal camping on the Lakeshore and around Leelanau County. With illegal camping comes inappropriate fire placement and human impact. There are a couple of contributing factors to this problem, one being the lack of awareness from Lakeshore visitors. Many campers don’t realize campsites are booked online, months in advance, and assume once they arrive at the Lakeshore they will be able to find a campsite. In this digital age, many visitors attempt to use online apps to locate alternate campsites when they find the park campgrounds full. Unfortunately, many of these apps contain inaccurate information! Read more in the
Leelanau Ticker article here and find out about all of the Lakeshore’s camping sites as well as leave no trace guidelines for appropriate and safe campfire building.

Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) As A Model for Other Parks

The power of prevention…since the PSAR program launched in 2017, 911 calls from the Lakeshore are down from 60 in 2017 to eight in 2019. PSAR provides a trained volunteer to educate visitors about the safety issues they may face at popular spots in the park (the Dune Climb and the Lake Michigan Overlook stop on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive). Volunteers and NPS staff are available to give advice on appropriate planning, protective clothing, and more helpful information to visitors. This year alone program volunteers have logged more than 11,800 interactions with visitors. This article posted on Bridgemi.com talks more about the uptick in park incidents around the state and how parks could be using the PSAR program as a model. 

Removal of Invasive Mussels Making an Impact

Our beautiful lakeshore and the problem it has with zebra and quagga mussels were the topic of a recent Chicago Tribune article. Research is being done about how to eradicate this problem which is impacting the whole ecosystem of the Lakeshore from fish to birds, even damaging boats, docks, and clogging water intakes. 
You can help prevent the transfer of these mussels by washing your boat off with warm, soapy water if possible. Do not transport water from live wells and bait buckets from one water body to another. Empty them onto land when possible and dispose of leftover bait in the trash

For more information on invasive species in the Lakeshore click here to view FSBD Environmental Threats pamphlet. The National Lakeshore has been supporting this research in hopes of finding an answer. You can read more about research in the Lakeshore in our “Picture-Perfect” book.

For several years, Jerry Pearson has led informal hikes and bikes on the Heritage Trail. There is no charge, and it’s a nice way to socialize and enjoy the trail with others. Jerry Pearson invites you to the fourth annual “Bike the Heritage” on Saturday, September 25th. For more information, visit our event page: Bike the Heritage Trail

There will be two races in and around the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in September that will impact visitors and residents with Street Closures and additional traffic to the area: 

The race takes place on M-22 and will have a significant impact on local traffic. M-22 will be closed between Esch road and Frankfort until 2 PM. Please visit the northern section of the park until the race is over.

For more information, visit the event website: https://www.ironman.com/im703-traverse-city

 The M-22 Challenge race takes place on M109 near the Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The Race will have a significant impact on local traffic until early afternoon.

For more information, visit the event website: https://www.m22challenge.com/

COVID Guidelines in the Park

A friendly reminder about the National Lakeshore COVID guidelines for visitors. 

Individuals over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking, in the following locations:  

  1. All common areas and shared workspaces in buildings owned, rented, or leased by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, Lakeshore visitor centers administrative offices, lodges, gift shops, and restaurants.  
  2.  All outdoor areas, when others are present and physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained.  

Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.  

Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals must comply with all orders regarding masks issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The best thing you can do is simply to carry a mask with you and put it on indoors or anywhere it gets crowded outdoors!

For Volunteers – The National Park is still outlining Vaccination guidelines for partners. The Friends will continue to hold meetings Digitally and keep in-person activities to small groups when necessary. 

For any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the Friends Leadership: chairperson@friendsofsleepingbear.org or your program leader. For updated information and resources for Friends Volunteers, please see the Staff Page

For more information visit the NPS Public Health Update Page: https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/public-health-update.htm


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August 2021 Newsletter

What a summer! We are very grateful to all who have visited the lakeshore thus far. Our track chair program has been up and running full speed, volunteers have been riding the trails and running the blacksmith shop, and visitors have felt things returning back to the new “normal.”  The following newsletter contains important information about another book signing event, our annual meeting “Save the Date” and a wonderful story from a Track Chair Hike.  We hope you enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

Next Photo Book Signing August 8th

A big thank you to those who attended the book launch event at Cherry Republic on July 11th including Kim Koehler, photographer of the cover photo for Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear, with the 4 young ladies featured on the cover.  If you missed the opportunity to purchase the crowd-sourced book and have these stars sign your copy of the book, you can meet them along with other Picture-Perfect writers and photographers at the following 

    • Glen Arbor Market on August 3, 9-1,
    • Cottage Book Shop on August 8, 12-2,   
    • Suttons Bay Market on August 14, 9-1

Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear is a collection of stories and photos showcasing the history and memories of time spent in the Sleeping Bear area.  The book was created by Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. It can also be purchased directly at www.sleepingbearbooks.org.

Did you get your photo highlighted in the book? We would love to see where your photo is – tag us on Social Media (Facebook @FriendsoftheDunes or Instagram @friendofslbe) and use #friendofsleepingbear to be featured.
Or email your photos with names and any extra info to comms@friendsofsleepingbear.org

Save the Date for the Friends Annual Meeting.

Join us on Sunday, August 29th to hear the Chairman’s statement and introductions, program summaries, financial summary, Park information, the election of new members to Board of Directors, and Friends business.
The new book, Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear will be offered for sale, and park anniversary logo items will be displayed.

Date: Sunday, August 29, 2021
Time: 3:00 pm till approximately 4:00
Location: Empire Township Hall in Empire
(10088 West Front Street, Empire, MI)
Food: Ice cream donated by Cherry Republic  


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been called “The most beautiful place in America” and it needs your help. Our 700+ member organization helps ensure that the more than a million and a half people who visit the dunes each year have a great experience, while helping to protect this precious resource. We are looking for a person with information technology skills.  This person would be responsible for identification and implementation of appropriate software and/or hardware solutions for various organizational needs. Responsible for software/ hardware installation and development of maintenance plans. They would ensure access of documents to appropriate staff and conduct training as needed.

For more information about the needs for this position, review the job description here: IT Systems Manager. 
Interested in more details about this job, please email sec2@friendsofsleepingbear.org

This is a volunteer position as are all positions within the Friends.
Experience in or proficiency with MS Office, Google Drive, and G-Suite. 

A Huge THANKS to everyone who participated in our river clean-ups this summer. We appreciate your efforts, which are so important to the National Park and Friends of Sleeping Bear. In July Volunteers attended to the Platte, and in June, we had a group help on the Crystal River.

If you are interested in learning how you can join in the volunteering fun all-year-round check out: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/volunteer/


We are so excited that the Friends are able to facilitate the Track Chair program again this year, and we love hearing from hike participants.

“My husband’s family has a cottage on little Glen and we planned to get together for the 4th of July. This would be my first time at the cottage as a wheelchair user, and when I found out [about your Track Chair Program] I was so excited!

Hiking is one of the things I miss since becoming a full-time wheelchair user.

The hike was a true hike – rough terrain, rocks, roots, and a wonderful view.

I didn’t feel ‘cheapened’ by my disability. I just felt like I went on an amazing hike. The track chair is so awesome that my able-bodied sister really wanted to drive it! “

– Cheryl

Learn more about our Track Chair Program at www.trackchair.org

The M22 Challenge is looking for volunteers to help with the race on September 18th.

Those interested in volunteering for the event can find more information by visiting www.m22challenge.com Please use the following link to sign up for this year’s event. https://runsignup.com/Race/Volunteer/MI/Empire/M22Challenge

​​Event Coordinator, Matt Myers Sr. will be available every Tuesday from 6-7 pm at the M22 Store Downtown Traverse City to or email to events@m22.com

Bear Logo Merch_FOSBD_SunsetThere is Still Time… Get 50th anniversary Bear Logo Merch This Summer. 

The sale will continue through the next couple of weeks, so if you have been waiting to get your hands on some hoodies, tees, and everyday goodies like the tote bag with the colorful bear logo (or get some more for others who love the Dunes) you better act fast. 

Help us celebrate the park’s 50th by adoring your Sleeping Bear Dunes merchandise. As a proud partner of the National Park Service; you are supporting the National Lakeshore through Friends supported Park Projects. 

Head to the sales site to learn more about this round of products. 

There are only a few more Yoga on the Beach classes at the Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum left this summer.

Join us through Labor Day weekend, Friday, September 3rd at 10 am for this all-level, all-ages class with Amy from Yoga on the Beach NMI.

Learn more on the Yoga on the Beach Program Page of our website: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/programs/yoga-on-the-beach/




The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is home to several pairs of nesting piping plovers. During this nesting, small birds will begin appearing until August. At this time, these endangered birds must be given extra protection. Visitors may notice certain areas will be cordoned off and dog leashing rules strictly observed.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918, helped the bird population recover from over-hunting, but they continued to see a decline as water recreation increased. In 1986 the Federal Endangered Species Act added the species to their list, with only thirty-two pairs tracked in the entire Great Lakes population in 1996.

Today there are seventy-five to eighty pairs in the Great Lakes region. As recently as 2017, there were 41 of them calling SLBE home. The photo to the left shows the Park’s great care and dedication to these chicks, including raising one from an abandoned nest and releasing it to the same location where it was found. Read the Park’s story on their social media and view an article all about plovers on our Blog.  

#puremichigantrails: NEW Video About Sleeping Bear Heritage trail

Did you know in 2019 the Sleeping Bear Heritage trail qualified as a Pure Michigan Trail? Pure Michigan recently released a short video highlighting the trail as well as featuring Tom Ulrich the Deputy Superintendent of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

You can watch the short video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1cdjhV52zU



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