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November Newsletter

Seems like just yesterday we were jumping in the waves and enjoying summer, although these days are still a bit far from normal, we are eternally grateful for our National Lakeshore and the sense of peace and calm it brings to everyone who steps on its sandy beaches or wooded trails. November is a time to give thanks and celebrate the abundance of all nature offers us. We have much appreciation for all our volunteers and our National Lakeshore partner, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

 

A big thank you to the YouthWork crew and NPS who rerouted the trail down to the bog at Kettle Trails, built a wooden retaining wall and earthen observation platform, and are planning to build a railing.
They have also put a rustic log bench at the platform and eventually an interpretive wayside will be installed.

Learn more about the Kettles Trail and how to enjoy this unique un-spoiled feature and check out the Kettle trail map before you go to explore. 

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by sporting a shirt or sweatshirt with the NEW 50th anniversary Park logo.
Just in time for holiday shopping,
the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is offering a limited-time sale of official 50th anniversary merchandise. Give the gift that reminds your friends and family of warm summer evenings around a campfire and hikes in the Dunes. There are 5 different adult and 4 children’s clothing items available.

Order by November 8th though our sales site and items will ship by November 20th, in plenty of time for your holiday gift giving.

Congratulations Carol and George 2020 Jim Mudgett Trail Pioneer Award Recipients!

This fall Carol and George Quarderer received the prestigious Jim Mudgett Trail Pioneer Award, awarded yearly by TART Trails to individuals who give their time, talents and treasure to ensuring our region has beautiful trails, bikeways and pedestrian ways. The Quarderers have been a huge part of the success of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail since 2001 and Carol is co-chair to raise funds for the development of the SBHT extension.

 

During the National Lakeshore’s 50th anniversary celebration, they revealed their Mobile Visitor Center! This beautifully wrapped van will be traveling around the great lakes region to be used at schools and elsewhere as a teaching tool and help bring a taste of our great public lands to our larger community.

The mobile visitor center gives rangers a unique opportunity to bring the lakeshore to those who have never been here before. Make sure to follow Sleeping Bear Dunes facebook page to stay up to date on events and how to see the mobile visitors center in person. 

 

The Life of the Sleeping Bear makes a wonderful holiday gift for anyone who loves the lakeshore.

This year, the Friends released a complimentary booklet, Exploring the Sleeping Bear that includes grade level suggestions and hands-on activities to help guide exploration. Get them both at: lifeofthesleepingbear.com

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

SBHT Ski Trail

Winter is fast approaching as we have already seen some flurries at the Lakeshore. If you are a cross-country skier or enjoy snowshoeing, make sure you are in the know when we get enough snow to groom the trails. 

Sign up using the Newsletter Form or update your contact information below for once-a-week updates on the trail conditions from our grooming crew. 

 

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October Newsletter

The leaves are starting to turn and so is the weather. Fall around the lakeshore is breathtaking! Get out and enjoy some color hikes like the Empire Bluffs trail, the Treat Farm, Pyramid point or the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. It is a great time of year to surround yourself with the beauty of nature. Check out this article on Best Fall Hikes from the Leelanau Ticker.

Easy-to-implement lessons, designed by teachers, to enhance understanding of 11 themed topics introduced in The Life of the Sleeping Bear.
This 24 page booklet, Exploring Sleeping Bear,  includes grade level suggestions and educational standards to help guide exploration through in-depth learning in science, history, math, and language arts/reading.

If you are worried about learning loss and looking for ways to jump start a successful year of learning with educational activities for the whole family, you can preorder this booklet for $4.95 on the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes website or directly at lifeofthesleepingbear.com 
Order it with
The Life of the Sleeping Bear ($29.95) and receive both the book and Educational Guide for $33.90, plus shipping and handling.

For more information on The Life of the Sleeping Bear or Exploring Sleeping Bear: An Educational Guide for Use with The Life of the Sleeping Bear, email: book@friendsofsleepingbear.org

This is the time of year where the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore begins to see a slow dip in numbers at its campgrounds. But not this year! Labor Day has passed and our campgrounds are still as busy as ever. If you are still planning a camping trip this season we suggest checking availability before you go. Availability can be checked and reservations may be made by visiting: https://www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

New Bike Repair Station (with water bottle filling unit) has been installed by the park on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. It is located next to the vault toilet in DH Day campground.

 

Bohemian (CR-669) Road Re-Opens!

The Leelanau County Road Commission recently finished construction on Bohemian Rd. (CR-669) which has been closed since June 22. The road commission removed an old culvert and built a bridge in its place to allow improved water flow in Shalda Creek.

To celebrate the Park’s 50th Anniversary, The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has granted the Friends the use of the park’s 50th Anniversary logo for fundraising efforts. 

Here is where we get excited! We have some great merchandise and goods lined up with the NEW Sleeping Bear Anniversary Logo! 

Make sure to follow us on social media or sign-up for our newsletter for the latest updates and release of the new Bear Logo merchandise soon to be announced! 

We are looking for a person with good communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills to join our high-functioning all-volunteer organization. The Fund Development Director is responsible for integrating all fundraising programs into an Annual Fund Development Plan to assure financial support for operations and programs approved by the Friend’s board and national park administration. This is accomplished by helping to direct a group of dedicated volunteers seeking donations via fundraising events, granting sources, individuals, and businesses.

A position description is available at https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Fund-Development-Director-20171023.pdf

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes will provide training and assistance as needed. Time commitment will vary with the individual and seasons but may amount to approximately 12 hours a week. Interested in helping out?
For more information please email Bill Stot at:
wstott3193@gmail.com

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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September Newsletter

September brings some of the nicest weather to Northern Michigan. The lakes are super warm and the nights are starting to cool off. The National Lakeshore has seen amazing numbers of visitors and Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has seen tons of volunteers helping make summer 2020 a huge success! Below are some news and happenings around the park.  

The National Lakeshore had a record-setting month in July with 592,000 visitors! Deputy Superintendent of the park, Tom Ulrich, shed some light on the record-setting numbers: “Having so many beaches in the park, visitation is always affected by weather; and we had spectacular beach weather in July. Also, we imagine that a variety of activities not available to people because of the pandemic. People sought out a visit to the National Lakeshore for some much-needed outdoor recreation.”
In general, the lakeshore has seen huge visitation numbers in 2020 and is on track to be another record-breaking year. 

 

 

 

Park Update: The CR-669 Culvert project at Shalda Creek.
The completion date has been revised and is scheduled to be completed by September 4th instead of August 28th.

In July alone we saw almost 2000 volunteer hours, WOW!
Thank you to all our volunteers. We truly appreciate all you do to help Sleeping Bear.
We reached out to one of our first-time volunteers, Jesse Lewit from Suttons Bay, to tell us why he decided to volunteer. “I have great memories of coming here as a child, and my two sons now have the same. I want to help create those same great memories for the next generation.
Plus, as part of PSAR, I get an office with the best view in the world.”  If you are interested in volunteering you can find more information on our website https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/volunteer/

Need activities for your kids? Love learning about the National Lakeshore?
Grab one of our books today “The Life of Sleeping Bear”. 


Are you a teacher? Or do you know a teacher? Sleeping Bear Dunes offers free virtual distance learning programs. Programs are aligned with state and national learning standards, are FUN, and new lessons have been added for this school year. Check out the Parks Distance Learning webpage for more info and registration details. They look forward to seeing you in the virtual classroom! 

 

We are looking for a person with good communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills to join our high-functioning all-volunteer organization. The Fund Development Director is responsible for integrating all fundraising programs into an Annual Fund Development Plan to assure financial support for operations and programs approved by the Friend’s board and national park administration. This is accomplished by helping to direct a group of dedicated volunteers seeking donations via fundraising events, granting sources, individuals, and businesses.

A position description is available at https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Fund-Development-Director-20171023.pdf

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes will provide training and assistance as needed. Time commitment will vary with the individual and seasons but may amount to approximately 12 hours a week. Interested in helping out?
For more information please email Bill Stot at:
wstott3193@gmail.com

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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August Newsletter

Summer is flying by much like the NEOWISE Comet (pictured above). The comet was discovered just a few months ago and was easily seen just after sunset from the lakeshore over the last few weeks. Below are some updates from the park and a call for volunteers.  We hope you all are enjoying your summer and are staying safe around the national lakeshore.  

We hope to see you DIGITAL for this year’s Annual meeting on August 26 at 7:00 PM.
Stay Tuned for more details and a link to join in! 

 

On July 23rd the U.S. House passed the Great American Outdoors Act, which will invest $9.5 billion into national park and public lands repairs and protect and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Great American Outdoors Act will provide the biggest investment in parks and public lands in more than 65 years by addressing critical repair needs within the National Park Service (NPS) and other public land agencies.

Learn More about the Great American Outdoors Act. 

 

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore resumed the collection of entrance fees Saturday, July 25, 2020. The $25.00 park entrance pass allows everyone in a private vehicle to recreate in the National Lakeshore for seven days.

Passes may be obtained at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, MI, daily from 9:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m., and at the Platte River and D. H. Day Campground offices, daily from 9:00 a.m. to9:00 p.m.

Park passes are also available at self-pay stations located at many of the beach road-ends, as well as local area businesses, including Manitou Island Transit (at their Fishtown gift shop), Crystal River Outfitters, Honor Trading Post, and Riverside Canoe Trips.

The Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive entrance stations remain under construction and will not be able to sell passes until later in August.

 

The Park is seeking volunteers to assist with conducting its bi-annual River Use Counts on the Crystal and Platte Rivers.  Volunteers will be designated a specific spot on the river and will be responsible for counting the number of visitors who pass through the area.  All shifts last approximately five (5) to six (6) hours. If you would like to assist the park in this effort or would like more information, please contact Renee Babiarz at renee_babiarz@nps.gov or (231) 326-4762, or learn more about the event on our news post

 

Our friends at Cherry Republic have started a campaign called “Cherrish Michigan”. The Cherrish Michigan campaign supports nine local non-profits, including the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes.  Each organization has been matched with a mixed nut bag. 

For every bag purchased Cherry Republic has pledged to donate $1 of the sale back to the respective organization.
The Confiscated Nut Mix is our favorite!!

Read more about the campaign on their blog: https://cherryrepublic.com/cherrishmichigan/ and purchase a bag of confiscated nut mix today. https://cherryrepublic.com/confiscated-fruit-mix/

 

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July Newsletter

Summer weather has hit us full force and we are starting to see many visitors enjoying trails and beaches in the National Lakeshore.  Below you will find updates as well as happenings around the park as things begin to re-open with restrictions to help keep enjoying the park safely.

 

For the most up to date information and resources to plan your next visit, review all the latest news and resources here: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/covid-19-update/

 

This year, we are asking participants to sign up ahead of class online and donate via our credit card processing as we will be cash-less this year.

You can review and learn about many flora and fauna in the Lakeshore by visiting our Wildflower Database.

 

 

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June Newsletter

 

Much has been changing these past few weeks, the Governor opened up some of the upper peninsula and lower northern Michigan and the forest floor is covered with wildflowers and green leaves are on the trees. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is alive with life! It was great to see people enjoying the lakeshore safely and at a distance from each other this Memorial Day weekend. Below you will find updated information about what is open in the National Lakeshore and other news from FSBD. 

 

For the most up to date information check our COVID-19 Updates on our website and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore website.  We encourage you to enjoy the park safely and at a distance from others. For more information and digital maps of the Park’s trails, visit our article about the Trails Reopening! A new Park Mini-Visitors Guide has also been created in a convenient PDF that can be printed or referenced before your next visit. 

 

We are looking for more volunteers in these programs. If you are interested in becoming a new volunteer please complete a Volunteer Registration form found on our website. All volunteers will participate in an orientation and training once the completed form is received and you speak with our volunteer coordinator. 
If you are already a volunteer for one of the programs that can begin work, be on the look-out for your Zoom Meeting Invite for this Summer’s Volunteer Training. Review our post about the Dates and times of this year’s trainings.
Learn more about all of our programs here: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/programs/

 

Learn more about the Track Chair program by visiting: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/programs/accessibility/track-chair/

 

Learn more about the Lakeshore’s Shipwrecks and how you can identify any new spottings on our post about Tracking Shipwrecks


May Newsletter

Although “stay-at-home” guidelines have been extended for a few more weeks, the sounds and signs of spring are in the air around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The color green is starting to outweigh the color brown, the spring peepers are out and the sandhill cranes can be heard around the Park. We know there are many questions about what people can and can’t do around the lakeshore.

We are updating our website (https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/) regularly with guidelines for Park visitation and dates when parts of the Park plan to be reopened. Currently, all in-Park volunteer activities remain on hold while the Park is closed to the public, however, we are currently seeking two highly organized and friendly individuals to join our team.

Answer: Currently the most up to date information is the following, all Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore trails, trailheads, picnic areas, parking areas, and boat launches will be closed with a target opening of campgrounds, museums, and attractions, as well as the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive by July 1, 2020. The visitor center, Dune Climb, restrooms, trails, and picnic areas, will be opened sooner than July 1 if public health guidance allows.

Check our website (https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/covid-19-update/) and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (https://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm) website for the most up to date information. 

To learn more about and purchase a book, visit our website (https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/sleeping-bear-book/)

 

Check out this blog on our website (https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/digital-park-visiting/)  to find out all the virtual ways you can “visit” your favorite National Lakeshore.

We are looking for a few special Friends with specific talents and good organizational skills who want to join our team of dedicated, high-functioning, and enthusiastic leaders. 
 
We have immediate openings for a Membership Record Manager and a Fund Development Director – full listings can be found in our article: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/administrative-positions-open/

Our 600+ member organization helps to ensure that the more than 1.5 million visitors to the National Lakeshore each year have a great experience and learn how to protect this precious resource.

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April 14, 2020 Park Update

Dear Friends,

We know these are uncertain times for our country and the world. But one thing has not changed: our mission to protect resources and heighten visitor experiences in partnership with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

On April 14, 2020, in response to guidance from the CDC, United States Public Health Service, and the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore announced that all trails, trailheads, picnic areas, parking areas, and boat launches are closed until further notice. As we celebrate the park’s 50th birthday this year, we cannot recall another time where closure was issued. This emphasizes the severity of the epidemic we are facing as a community.

This, we are sure, was not an easy decision. The health and safety of visitors, employees, volunteers and partners of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore continues to be their top priority.

Even though we are not able to visit the park at this time, we will be able to do so in the future.  Please join us in keeping the spirit of Sleeping Bear alive by enjoying our favorite lakeshore, virtuallyWe encourage you to connect with us via Facebook or Instagram and share your favorite park moments and photos or take a virtual journey down the Sleeping Bear Heritage trail via the virtual trail map. To get the most out of the virtual trail map, watch this instructional video on YouTube. 

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

With Gratitude,

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes


April Newsletter

 

The one phrase we are all hearing and talking about is Social Distancing.

For those who live in the area around the Park, we would like to promote safe visitation on the trails and lakeshore as we know the area within the park is a great resource to stay active and healthy during these times. We would like to reiterate some helpful guidelines to keep the community safe.

Read more about measures taken by the park and tips for visiting in our article about Visiting the Park While Social Distancing.

email info@freindsofsleepingbear.org to submit safety hazards, trees down across trails, large items that have washed up on beaches, excess trash, and abnormal trail activity. 

Read more about Piping Plovers or an article by environmental writer, Susan Poirier-Sorg.

 

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Annual Report 2019

This Year We Are Celebrating 25 Years of Support

 

Download our 2019 Annual Report

In 2019, The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes provided over 13,500 volunteer hours to support a wide variety of projects at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The largest projects in 2019 were the inception of the Track Chair Program and the completion of the Kettles Trail.

The Kettles Trail is officially complete and was commemorated by a Grand Opening Ceremony in late October which was attended by over 150 people. Attendees had the opportunity to see the trail with a guided hike by volunteers who helped build the trail. Our Track Chair Program is the first of its kind in a national park. We helped 70 visitors experience the Bay View Trail who otherwise would not be able to access due to the sandy and uneven trail. 

This year, The Friends raised over $122, 500 for programs to maintain the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail all year long, facilitate the completion of the Kettles Trail, support school snowshoe hikes in the park, produce and update trail maps in the park, provide preventative search and rescue efforts, as well as purchase an additional Track Chair for the 2nd year of the program. 

In November, The Friends also released a book written and published by volunteers, The Life of the Sleeping Bear which blends art, history, and science to provide a colorful tour of this precious geological and environmental area. With every purchase of our book, all proceeds come directly back to The Friends to support continuing programs.  

 For those who want more details about all of the projects we supported in 2019, click here.

 

Please consider making a donation for one of these projects or our General Fund.

Accomplishments by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes in 2019.

If you are not already a member, please consider joining.
All you have to do is make a donation or sign up as a volunteer!


What’s in the Plan for 2020?

Not only are we celebrating 25 years of service in partnership with the National Park, but the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore will also be celebrating its 50th year in existence in the year 2020. Keep an eye out for special events from us and the park all year long to commemorate the history and impact the National Park has made to protect the natural wonder of the Sleeping Bear Dunes. 

We will continue to be busy in 2020 with our ongoing volunteer programs, but there will also be several big projects that we will need your help with.

  • Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail – Annual Operations & Maintenance plus beginning work on an extension of the trail from Bohemian Road (CR669) to Good Harbor Trail (CR-651)
    creating 5 more miles of paved access.
  • Kettles Trail – We will continue work and maintenance on the new trail including adding an observation deck at the bog, benches, as well as additional interpretive and directional signage. 
  • Proposed Mountian Bike Trail – Assessment and planning for a proposed mountain bike trail will begin in the spring of 2020. 
  • Continued accessibility improvements to trails and beach access points. 
 


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