e-newsletters

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. 

https://www.nps.gov/slbe/getinvolved/internship-opportunities.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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July 2020 Newsletter

We finally got some much needed rain this past week and are excited for the sun to return and the Fourth of July weekend to commence. July kicks off the launch of our NEW book, Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear! As well as NEW 50th anniversary logo wear. Keep reading for more information as well as an informative blog about ticks and how to protect yourself from them. 

Enjoying the 4th of July in Northern Michigan is a tradition for many. Please keep in mind fireworks, firecrackers or any other pyrotechnic items are not allowed in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Rangers can write tickets for setting off fireworks and fireworks can spark wildfires, disrupt other visitors and wildlife, and leave trash behind.

Catch us at the Glen Arbor 4th of July Parade!

The Friends will be walking and carrying our banner, wearing your orange vests and possibly some new 50th Anniversary Logo Wear. We will also be driving the Trackchair along the way.

Photo from MLive Article, Tick Explosion Underway in Michigan.

Park Rangers at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are adding ticks to their list of things to keep an eye on and educate visitors about this summer season.  Ticks are out throughout the park and there is a grave concern about tick-borne illnesses being contracted on our trails. Some of these little guys, who hitchhike on bushes, tall grasses and other vegetation, are so small that they are not visible to the human eye or are extremely difficult to spot. They can be smaller than poppy seeds!… keep reading Sherry Gigous (FSBD Volunteers) tick blog here: Tick Warning for the 2021 Season

 

Cover of Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear Book

Cover of the NEW Book, Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear, by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. All Sales fundraised go to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park projects.

Pre-order Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear today.

Hundreds of pictures tell the stories. Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear contains a delightful collection of photographs and stories submitted by locals and visitors to the Sleeping Bear Dunes Area. Order today for shipping in early July or save shipping and handling and pick up your copies at the book signing party at Cherry Republic, Glen Arbor, July 11th, 2-4 pm.

The Preventive Search and Rescue Team (PSAR) volunteers interact with visitors at the Dune Climb and at the Pierce Stocking Lake Michigan Overlook to inform them of the risks that the dunes can present to the unprepared. PSAR is looking to provide more coverage of critical areas to further enhance the safety of visitors to Sleeping Bear. Last year was the busiest season on record for Sleeping Bear. During that time, there were fewer calls for service and fewer actual rescues than at any time since PSAR was formed. We are looking for outgoing volunteers who have a love and knowledge of the Park. Learn more on our program page.

Please contact either Jesse Lewit  PSAR Coordinator jlewit1128@gmail.com or Mike Kohl National Park Service-PSAR michael_kohl@partner.nps.gov if you are interested in volunteering. 

Join us for Search and Rescue Day at the Dunes On July 31, details to be announced. The highlight will be a robotic rescue system called EMILY where volunteers will get to learn how to operate it. The goal is to provide additional service on the water when the National Weather Service issues a Beach Warning for portions of Leelanau or Benzie County that fall within Sleeping Bear.

Sport Tech Tees with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore 50th Bear Logo. Long Sleeve tee on a man, short sleeve tee on a woman.

This round we are offering favorites for the summer season on the lake, including zip-up fleece hoodies, 100% cotton tees, and a beach tote with a zip closure that can fit all the necessities for a day at the beach.

Pictured are our sport tech options which come in both short sleeve and long sleeve for women and unisex fit. These relaxed fit shirts are made from moisture-wicking fabric in white which allows for sun protection while out and active. Don’t the bright colors of the Anniversary Bear Logo just pop! All items also include our Friends of Sleeping Bear insignia to show your support for our amazing organization.

Track Chair Program: Participants and Volunteers Needed

The Track Chair is a personal mobility device, a tracked wheelchair that enables access to rustic trails and gorgeous park features. The Track Chair Program is officially up and running with our first Park Visitor going out on Friday, July 2nd! Please check our webpage at trackchair.org for available dates and times. And, as always we are looking for volunteers that would like to join our Visitors on the trail, and others that might be willing to help with reservations.

The bicycle maintenance station with tools and air pump has been installed at the Dune Climb near the bike racks at the Donor Plaza. There is another one in DH Day campground near the vault toilet. Two additional repair stations will be installed by next week in Glen Haven near the Sleeping Bear Inn garage & at the Empire Voice/Bar Lake Road trailhead.

You can find out more about this project and others to support the SBHT on our website

It’s been a beautiful summer for Yoga on the Beach. Join us with Amy from Yoga on the Beach NMI every Friday Morning at 10 am from through July and August.

UPDATE for this year – classes will be healed at the Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum, just to the west of the Cannery.
Learn more on the
Yoga on the Beach Program Page of our website.

 

 

 

 

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June 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to Summer! All reports indicate this is going to be another summer for the record books and we are excited and getting ready! Don’t miss out on our volunteer training on June 5th at 2 pm and other opportunities to give to Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes this month. Check out some updates from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore like new education programs and newly renovated dock on South Manitou Island as well as more information about how to purchase Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear: A History in Photos from National Lakeshore Visitors our NEW book.

Hope you can join us! The Annual Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes training is scheduled for June 5th, 2 pm.
The training will take place on zoom – A link will be provided via our website the day prior to training:
https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/2021-volunteer-training/
Training includes a general orientation that is applicable for all volunteers, both experienced and new Friends. This training is a once-a-year chance for volunteers to hear the latest park news from park staff. It will include updates from the park superintendent, park rangers, and the park volunteer coordinator. COVID protocols in the park will be an important part of this general training.

Sample Page from the upcoming book, Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear.

Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear showcases the beauty of Sleeping Bear country, which has enchanted people for centuries. It highlights the fun-filled activities that bring people to visit here by the millions. It shows the area as it was when settlers came here to lumber and to farm, and it explores how Sleeping Bear Dunes has been preserved and protected since the National Lakeshore was established 50 years ago. Hundreds of pictures tell the stories.  The result is an 8.5 x 11, 128 pages, full-color book of shared memories celebrating Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The cost is $29.95, plus shipping, handling, and sales tax. We expect delivery of the books by early July. 
Preordering will be available soon at
www.friends of sleeping bear.org.

Back by popular demand, the 2nd round of 50th Anniversary Bear logo merchandise will be kicking off this June. This event we will be offering lots of color options, styles, women’s sizes, sportswear and more! This fundraiser event helps us raise revenue for the Friends, which directly supports vital park programs. Keep an eye on our website:https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/bear-logo-sale  and stay tuned to social media, we’ll be making the big announcement soon.

First river cleanups are scheduled for the Crystal River on June 10th and Platte River on June 17th at 9 AM.  We’ll start with a very brief welcome/orientation followed by the cleanup at the kayak launch site and then the river. Learn more about these events and how you can participate by visiting our website. https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/adopt-a-river-events-2021/
Please email beckersupnorth@yahoo.com if you plan to attend. We’ll have “grabbers” and volunteer vests for your use and kayaks will be provided. Please bring a mask, which is required for transportation to the kayak launch site. Also, it is recommended that you have coverings for your feet, as you never know what’s under the water should you tip over. A light lunch will be provided following the cleanup. Feel free to email with any questions.

Our Track Chair Program will return to the trails in July! Visitors who require assistance in hiking rustic trails can now reserve the use of a Track Chair at: https://calendly.com/friends-acessability
At this time, the Track Chairs will only be available on Friday, Saturday, and Monday on the Bay View Trail. 

If you would like to volunteer for this very rewarding program, please reach out to trackchair@friendsofsleepinfbear.org We need volunteers to accompany visitors using the track chair and others that might be interested in helping with the reservations and coordination of the program. 

SBD National Lakeshore new spring and summer education programs.  

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) announces new spring and summer education programs. Discover a new skill, conduct a science experiment, or create a work of art in a program with the National Lakeshore. Try one of the following options for students to learn about their park!  Activity Kits, Classroom Lessons, Live Virtual Lessons

Email slbe_education@nps.gov to sign up for a virtual program, request classroom lessons, or receive a teacher-led kit. 

Friends Volunteers and Park staff started working on much-needed beach stairs repairs this month with more work to be completed in the coming weeks. 

High water and big storms have damaged many of our beach access starts. The beach stairs at No-Name Road near Camps Kohahna and Leelanau have been repaired. The repairs at Sunset Shores Dr beach stairs are almost completed. Lane Road beach stairs had to be completely removed and will be redesigned. The cost estimate for the entire project is about $8,000. The timing of the repair of the Lane road stairs will be after this summer or early fall. Please consider donating towards the Lane stair repair project by donating on our website. Just indicate the donation is for “Beach Stair Repair” in the comment.

Yoga on Glen Haven Beach – Summer Solstice

We are excited for the summer return of more activities – including Yoga on the Beach. Join us for our Summer Kick-off and a sunset class at 7 PM on Sunday, June 20th at Glen Haven Beach with Amy from Yoga on the Beach NMI.

Classes will continue on Friday Mornings at 10 am from June 25th through July and August.
Learn more on the
Yoga on the Beach Program Page of our website.

South Manitou Island Ready for Visitors!

The newly renovated dock on South Manitou Island is ready to greet you this summer. High water levels and winter ice damaged the dock in 2019/2020. It is now elevated and new boards line the deck. Staff are busy on the island preparing for summer visitors.   Are you planning to visit the island this summer?  Check out trip planning information on the NPS website, and visit the Manitou Island Transit website, www.Manitoutransit.com, for ferry information.

 

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May 2021 Newsletter

Each day gets us closer to summer! That is what we keep telling ourselves as we grin and bear these last cold days of spring. We are all looking forward to a great summer full of biking on the heritage trail, repairing beach steps, volunteering, and much more. There is a lot to accomplish in these spring months to prepare us for another successful summer season.  Check out our downloadable wildflower database (small donation requested), mark your calendars for our virtual volunteer training, and learn more about our new Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear photo book. 

5 Signs Spring has Sprung Around our National Lakeshore

  1. Spring Peepers – Wetlands thaw and release choruses of spring peepers, soon joined by red-winged blackbirds trilling from budding bushes. 
  2. Ruffed Grouse sounds – Male ruffed grouse stand atop old logs and drum their wings to establish territory and attract a mate. Hear the sound here
  3. Fawns – White-Tailed deer babies or fawns are odorless when they are born so predators can’t detect where they are.  The mother will leave the fawn for a few days right after birth so as not to rub any of her scent off on the fawn while it gains strength.
  4. Sandhill Cranes – return to forage in open fields or soar overheard on outstretched wings with their long legs trailing behind. Their distinct guttural calls carry a long way in the spring air.
  5. Trillium – This beautiful flower blooms and covers the forest floor with a blanket of white before the trees leaf out above. Did you know we have an entire wildflower database on our website!

Are you planning to search for those golden hidden treasures we call morel mushrooms?

A few reminders about collecting morels in the National Lakeshore. Check out our blog for further information and the National Park’s regulations for foraging. Happy hunting!

  • Gathering must be by hand and no more than one gallon at a time.
  • Must be for personal use or consumption (non-commercial use only).
  • Clean footwear and gear before and after an excursion to reduce the spread of invasive species.
  • Learn how to identify target species and those that may be similar as look-alikes may be poisonous. Do not consume unless certain of the identification.
  • As ramps are also out at the same time as morels, however, please note that collection of ramps or wild leeks is NOT permitted and also kills the plant.

All Friends are encouraged to attend the Annual Friends training session on June 5th. The training will be offered on Zoom again this year. From 2-3 pm,
Friends information will be provided by Chairperson, Jerry Peterson; followed by Park updates from Superintendent Scott Tucker. Important safety and updated COVID protocols will be presented by Park Law Enforcement Ranger, Andy Blake, and Park Volunteer Coordinator, Matt Mohrman.
Following the
one-hour general training session, there will be short breakout sessions for some of the individual volunteer groups. This is a chance to get your questions answered by experts in the field. The Zoom link will be announced when we are closer to the date of the training. The 2 pm general training session will be recorded and available for anyone unable to attend this once-a-year training event.

We just received approval from the Park to install three bike repair stations on the Heritage Trail. The Park has already installed one at DH Day Campground.

We plan to install the stations at the following locations:

  • Glen Haven – near the Garage
  • Dune Climb – near the bike racks and Donor Plaza
  • Voice Road / Bar Lake Road Trailhead – across the trail from the trailhead kiosk

These locations are very popular starting points for many trail users. Having repair stations where trail users are just getting their bikes ready to go on the trail will make it possible for them to make minor repairs or adjustments before they get on the trail. Each station costs about $1,540. Please consider donating toward one today, or buy a whole station! Just indicate the donation is for Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and add a comment saying “For bike repair stations.”

Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear set to Arrive in June! Until then, you can look forward to a book pre-sale starting sometime in May. Those whose photos were chosen for the book will be notified in a few weeks when the page layouts are finalized. 

Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear features the beauty of Sleeping Bear country, which has enchanted people for centuries. It highlights the fun-filled activities that bring people to visit here by the millions. It shows the area as it was when settlers came here to lumber and to farm. And, it explores how Sleeping Bear has been preserved and protected since the National Lakeshore was established 50 years ago.

Hundreds of pictures tell the stories. People were asked to send in their best photos and fondest memories. The stunning response provides visible testimony to the love that people have for this place. The result is an album of shared memories celebrating Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Our Track Chair Program plans to return to the trails July! We are currently working on updating our reservation system, and plan on opening up online reservations in June. We are also looking for any volunteers that would be interested in becoming part of this exciting and very rewarding program.

We need volunteers to accompany visitors using the track chair and others that might be interested in helping with the reservations and coordination of the program. Please check our website trackchair.org for updates as they become available.

Searching for Petoskey stones may as well be Michigan’s favorite pastime. These beautiful prehistoric coral have been found all over the state, even on forest floors. They are the official state stone and very abundant along Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. But pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations Title 36 – 2.1 , they must remain in the Park. It is illegal to take any natural thing from a National Park. Learn more about Leave No Trace Principals on our website.

 

 

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April 2021 Newsletter

We are so grateful this April 2021 newsletter is going to be all about our National Lakeshore and not the pandemic unlike a year ago. As we reflect on this last year, we welcomed a record number of visitors to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, were able to safely have our volunteers help keep the Heritage Trail free of debri and groom our favorite ski trails when the snow came and are looking forward to another great summer full of volunteers and visitors. 

Read more updates from Park Superintendent Scott Tucker in The Leelanau Ticker Article.

The Friends are excited to announce plans for a Spring/Summer 50th Anniversary Merchandise with the Park’s new commemorative logo! There are so many great items to have the logo on, we need your help deciding! Head to our quiz to answer three easy questions about what you would like to see!

Stay tuned to our social media or our monthly newsletter to keep up to date on the launch of the next sale.

 The reservation period is now open for free, virtual educational programming from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore). Those wishing to sign up for a virtual program or request classroom lessons can email the Education Team at slbe_education@nps.gov. Teachers can also visit the NPS website for more information. 

All programs have a ranger-facilitated hands-on activity that can be done at home or in the classroom. Programs are roughly 45 minutes in length with time included for student questions. Audio descriptions are incorporated into the programming and live captioning is available to support students with different learning needs.

Bears are out, birds are returning, and it’s time for our annual Spring Training. Please save the date for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Annual Spring training on June 5th. Whether you are a new Friends volunteer or a returning veteran, there will be plenty of news including up-to-date COVID restrictions, Park news from Superintendent Scott Tucker, and information from other key Park staff including Rangers, Interpretation, and Natural Resources. This is also your chance to get questions answered by the Park experts. This year’s training will be conducted through Zoom again this year.
Zoom link will be provided closer to the event date here: www.friendsofsleepingbear.org/2021-volunteer-training

 

We are looking for a person with information technology skills.  This person would be responsible for the 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 to documents to appropriate staff and conduct training as needed. This is a volunteer position as are all positions within the Friends.

IT Systems Manager: Experience in or proficiency with the following would be helpful, but is not required: Word Press, MS Office, Google Drive and G-Suite, DonorSnap and QuickBooks

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes will provide training and assistance as needed. Interested in helping out?  For more information, please email wstott3193@gmail.com

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, all-volunteer organization.

We are happy to announce that we plan on restarting the Track Chair Program in July.  We are currently working on updating our reservation system, and plan on opening up online reservations in June. 


We are also looking for any volunteers that would be interested in becoming part of this exciting and very rewarding program.  We need volunteers to accompany visitors using the track chair and others that might be interested in helping with the reservations and coordination of the program. Apply to be a volunteer today!


Please check our website
trackchair.org for updates as they become available.

Photographer Susan Tusa, who has been featured in the Sleeping Bear Gallery, was featured in a The Washington Post Travel article showcasing her beautiful photos of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Well worth a look and read through. A beautiful reminder of how fortunate we are to have these wild places preserved for all to see and enjoy.  Ever heard the saying “there are two seasons, winter and road construction.”  Two roads are slated to have much-needed work and improvements. County Road 610 (Esch Road) and County Road 669 (South Bohemian Road) will be redone this summer. Both roads are desperately in need of full reconstruction so beachgoers can safely access their favorite beaches.  For more information click on this article from the Leelanau Ticker. We will keep our website and facebook pages updated with official start and end dates as both of these projects get underway.

 

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March 2021 Newsletter

Happy March! This is the month we can see anything from a peek of spring or feel like we are still in the throes of winter with cold temps and more snowstorms! Whatever the weather throws at us, the National Lakeshore has an activity to keep us outside and enjoying nature. Keep updated on our trail conditions here or grab your sunglasses and take a hike on the many great beaches. March keeps us on our toes, but the promise of spring is around the corner. Take a look at the following newsletter to find out ways to volunteer as well as a potential new trail system.

Connecting the Leelanau Trail and the Heritage Trail Survey

Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails (TART) and the University of Michigan are partnering on a project to explore expanding non-motorized (biking, running, etc.) trails in Leelanau County. Specifically, how to connect two popular trails, the Leelanau Trail, and the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Connecting these two trails would provide an opportunity for people to travel between the two unique trails without having to drive or travel on roads without dedicated space. They want to hear from you to help determine the best way to connect these two trails. To fill out a brief survey please visit the project page (tinyurl.com/connecttrails). The survey will close at 11:59pm on Friday March 12th. Additional information about the project and contact information for the project lead is also on the webpage.

The mix of extreme temperatures creates an almost unworldly landscape on the beaches. These formations are fun to go exploring, but please use caution.  Formations like “ice volcanoes” created by freezing waves along Lake Michigan beaches can be beautiful but extremely dangerous. Holes and cracks in the ice quickly become hidden by blowing sand or snow. Recreate responsibly by taking in the experience from the safety of the Lakeshore. Learn more on the Park’s Website

As the lakeshore begins to experience thawing, it is a great to walk the beaches and pick up trash that winter storms have brought or uncovered. It is also a great time to start planning your volunteer activities for the upcoming spring and summer. Keep an eye out for volunteer training on our website and facebook page.

Sleeping Bear Dunes staff began surveying Hemlocks in January when they were made aware that the insect was found at Ludington State Park last fall. So far one Hemlock in the Platte River campground has been identified with Woolly Adelgids. This invasive insect is not native to Michigan and can weaken needles, branches, slows tree growth by sucking sap from the tree. Eventually, without treatment the Woolly Adelgids can kill the tree within four – ten years. Infestations can be reported to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at MDA-Info@Michigan.gov or 800-292-3939. Read more in the Ticker article.

Photo submission period for Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear now Closed.
Thank you to everyone who submitted photos for consideration for the Friends Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear Book. Over 1,1000 awesome photos were uploaded during the submission period. If your photo is selected for inclusion in the book, we plan to notify you by email around  May 1st. The book will be available for purchase this summer.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been called “The most beautiful place in America” and it needs your help. Our 600+ 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 looking for a person with information technology skills.  This person would be responsible for the 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.   

Experience in or proficiency with the following would be helpful but is not required: Word Press, MS Office, Google Drive, and G-Suite, DonorSnap and QuickBooks

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes will provide training and assistance as needed.  A position description is can be found here: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/IT-Systems-Manager-20210227.pdf

. Interested in helping out?  For more information please email wieberd2@gmail.com

We Love Our Heritage Trail: Remember To Take Some Time For Yourself at the Lakeshore.

We hope you can take some time to visit us this month and will plan a trip to the Lakeshore.

Make sure to keep updated about the winter trail conditions before you go – bookmark our updated Trail Conditions page: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/…/winter-trail-report/

 

 

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February 2021 Newsletter

As we steadily make our way through winter 2021,  the trails and forests are slowly becoming snowcovered and the smaller inland lakes are freezing.  It is starting to look and feel more like the middle of winter within the Park. As soon as Christmas festivities come to a close, some start to look towards Valentine’s Day.  This special day encourages us to think about those we love, but we are thinking about WHAT we love as well… and we love our National Lakeshore and all our volunteers. Even though we find ourselves in the midst of the winter months, we still are out enjoying everything the Park has to offer.  One of our favorite winter activities is paddling the peaceful rivers like the Crystal River shown above.  Winter offers us a different perspective with the riverbanks full of snow covered trees. We hope you all will make some time for yourself this month to appreciate what you love.

We Love Sharing Memories: We Invite You To Share Yours too! “Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear: An Album of Shared Memories Celebrating the National Lakeshore”

Would you like to have your best Sleeping Bear Dunes area photos considered for a new book? The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is creating a crowdsourced book chronicling the history of our Park area through photos and text in celebration of the Park’s 50th Anniversary. 

We have traveled here, sometimes for generations, and created memories of family vacations, weddings, canoe trips, campfires, and hikes. Some of us had family homes and farms that are now part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. What is your story?

The owners of photos selected for the book will get:

  • A caption accompanying the photo in the book listing the photograph owner’s name and his or her description of the photo.
  • An invitation to a kickoff event upon the book’s release when gatherings are approved; selected photos will be part of an event slide show.
  • Knowledge that they are supporting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park projects.

Visit our Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear Page to find out how to submit electronic or hardcopy photos. Although electronic submissions are preferred, if you mail us your historical, family photos or slides, we will mail your original copies back to you. Deadline for consideration is March 1, 2021. For more information about the book project, email: friendsbook2021@gmail.com.

We Love Our Historic Inns: BEAR Set to Give New Life to Sleeping Bear Inn in Glen Haven.

Maggie Kato and Jeff Kato of BEAR (Balancing Environment and Rehabilitation) were issued a letter of intent from the National Park Service to lease the historic Sleeping Bear Inn and Garage in Glen Haven. The nonprofit will begin rehabilitating the inn starting spring of 2021, it will function as a Bed and Breakfast as well as a lunch spot for visitors. Read more about this exciting project at the Leelanau Ticker

We Love Our 2020 Volunteers: Hours Converted to Dollars!

A fun fact we wanted to share with you all… volunteer time in the National Lakeshore was recorded as an extraordinary 14,000 hours in 2020.  That is an impressive amount of volunteer time! What would that look like if we put that into dollars? It represents a dollar value of a whopping $361,060.00!  That would be a lot of cash!  Thanks again to all our hardworking volunteers.  Your hours really do add up! If you would like to join us as a volunteer please visit our Volunteer Page.

 

We Love Our Heritage Trail: Remember To Take Some Time For Yourself at the Lakeshore.

This time of the winter it is hard to think about warmer weather and Piping Plover, but our nesting pairs are starting to show up in Florida, their winter residence. Reports of piping plovers from Sleeping Bear Dunes have come in, including from Bunche Beach, Big Marco Pass, and Anclote Key, Florida, as well as Kiawah Island in South Carolina. It is good to see plovers surviving down south! Learn more about Piping Plover on the NPS website,  and follow Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort on Facebook to get real-time updates on what birds have been sited where. 

We Love Our Heritage Trail: Remember To Take Some Time For Yourself at the Lakeshore.

We hope you can take some time to visit us this month and will plan a trip to the Lakeshore.

Make sure to keep updated about the winter trail conditions before you go – bookmark our updated Trail Conditions page: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/…/winter-trail-report/

 

 

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January Newsletter

Happy New Year from all of us at Friends! Many of us are grateful to have 2020 behind us, but 2020 set many records. July 2020 had a record number of visitors 592,000. Overall, 1,697,940 visitors were counted through the end of November 2020, breaking the 2016 record of 1,683,553 visitors which coincided with the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary.  We appreciated the ability to enjoy these wide open spaces, beaches, trails and forests even during this difficult time and look forward to seeing you all in 2021.


A big thanks to everyone who purchased 50th anniversary logo wear! We had 1,112 orders totaling 2,519 shirts! We look forward to seeing the swag around the National Lakeshore, the country, and maybe even the world. Pictured to the Left is the Myer family, Ron, Celia, and their daughters Liberty and Lincoln took their new Bear Logo Shirts climbing Sharp Top Mountain in their home state of Virginia.  The last shipment went out Dec. 30th and those who ordered should have received a shipping tracking number from Pogo – shipping is expected to take up to 20 days. Email Pogo with questions.

 

 

Can’t Make It To the Park, Visit Virtually

If you have already headed south for the winter or if the winter temps keep you indoors we have an app to cure those Sleeping Bear blues.  Did you know Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has a mobile app? You can visit the park virtually through their mobile app, youtube channel, or virtual museum. There are many ways to stay connected to your favorite National Lakeshore this winter.

 

 

Prehistoric remains were found in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Read more about these findings in this Mlive article. The remains were found back in 2017 by a visitor walking the beach at an undisclosed location. After the remains were finally turned in to park rangers, forensic analysis showed they were most likely of a Native American person and prehistoric in age. The Lakeshore is consulting with Indian Tribes to return the remains to the appropriate group(s).

 

 

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 the trail grooming subscribe to our special e-newsletter by filling out this form.

New Trail report page: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/sleeping-bear-heritage-trail/winter-trail-report/

 

You can view a recording of the 2020 Annual Membership Meeting and/or sign up for our monthly meeting notifications. Signing up will give you the Zoom access information so you can participate remotely.
Email us at secretary@friendsofsleepingbear.org

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