Exploring Sleeping Bear

Announcing a new release to accompany the Life of the Sleeping Bear Book, the Friends have created Exploring Sleeping Bear: An Educational Guide for Use with The Life of the Sleeping Bear. 

This NEW 24 page booklet includes grade level suggestions, educational standards, recommended websites and hands-on activities to help guide exploration through 11 themed units including Glaciers and the Lakes, The First People, Dark Skies, Boats of the Manitou Passage, and Black Bears. If you are looking for ways to jump start a successful year of learning with educational activities that are fun for the whole family that you can implement from your own home and neighborhood  – get your copy of the Life of the Sleeping Bear and Booklet.

Purchase the book and booklet together on the Life of the Sleeping Bear website for $33.90, plus shipping and handling. 



2020 Annual Meeting

We hope to see you DIGITAL for this year’s Annual Meeting on August 26 at 7:00 PM.

This year the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Annual Meeting will convene on Wednesday, August 26 at 7 PM. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom, one can access the meeting via the web, call-in, or Zoom app. The meeting will be recorded for those not able to attend online.

Email for a link to the video file.

All members of the Friends are encouraged to participate live online
Membership: Anyone who has donated time or money to the Friends in our current or previous fiscal year (Oct-Sept) is a member.


River Count Volunteers Needed

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is seeking volunteers to assist with conducting its bi-annual River Use Counts on the Crystal and Platte Rivers. River use counts are conducted every other year to document park visitors’ enjoyment of these unique natural resources. Information collected helps park officials to better understand recreational use of the rivers and how to best preserve the outstanding habitat they provide.

Volunteers will be asked to commit to a five to six hour shift, counting the number of visitors that pass by a given spot on each river. This is the perfect opportunity to relax in the great outdoors and enjoy a good book.
We are looking for volunteers who can assist with any one of the following days/shifts:


Crystal River

  • Saturday, August 1 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
  • Tuesday, August 4 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
  • Wednesday, August 5 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)

Platte River

  • Friday, July 31 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
  • Saturday, August 1 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
  • Wednesday, August 5 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)

If you would like to assist the park in this effort, or would like more information, please contact Renee Babiarz at or (231) 326-4762

Adopt-A-River Clean Up June 24

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Adopt-A-River Clean Up scheduled June 24th. 
We are back on the water, come join the fun! 
We will begin with a brief welcome and orientation followed by the river cleanup. You may bring your own kayak or  Riverside Canoe Livery  will provide you with one, please email the program coordinator listed below to RSVP.
Transportation to the “put in” location will be provided.
If you have a “Friends” vest and litter gitter, please bring them with you. If not, we will have some available for use.
Please bring a mask which will be required while being transported in the transportation vehicles. The “put in” location is at the Canoe/kayak access point at Lake Michigan Rd. and Hwy 22. 
Date: June 24th: 10 am 
Location: Meet at the Canoe/kayak access point at Lake Michigan Rd. and Hwy 22
Any needed equipment and transportation will be provided by Riverside Canoe/Kayak Livery.
Pizza will be provided for all volunteers at Sue’s Riverfront, which has outside seating.
Do not attend the cleanup if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus. 
You must fill out the daily self-assessment checklist BEFORE you come into the park to participate:
If you are not currently a member of the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, please fill out the Friends Volunteer Registration Form and Park volunteer service agreement available for you to sign prior to attending the river clean up.
Please email me ( to let us know if you will be attending the river cleanup and if you need a kayak. We need this information to plan transportation requirements.

Looking forward to seeing you on June 24th!!

Summer Volunteer Training

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Hosts Volunteer Training Sessions through Zoom.
Join the annual Friends volunteer training zoom session for registered Friends members. Presenters will include speakers from the Park Interpretive and Law Enforcement divisions as well as Chairpersons for different volunteer positions. Park staff will address questions about volunteering in the Park during COVID restrictions.
Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-River Orientation: Thursday, June 4 at 2:00 pm.
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Ambassadors, Adopt-a-Trail, and Trail Crew Orientation, Thursday, June 4th at 4:00 pm.
Watch your email for a zoom invitation and instructions, coming soon!
Anyone who is not a current Friends member can apply by filling out the application form through the Friends website:
For more information, email Mary Peterson at 
We are still seeking a few special Friends with specific talents and good organizational skills who want to join our team: Membership Record Manager and Fund Development Director positions are currently open. 
For more information, visit our previous post:

March Movies – POSTPONED

March, 16th, 2020: Due to federal recommendations to not hold any events with more than 10 people, the Spring Beak Escape – National Park Movie Festival will be postponed until further notice. 

In a continuation of the Sleeping Bear 50th Anniversary activities, the Park will be hosting a “Spring Break Escape ~ National Parks Film Festival” at the Park Visitor Center during March. These films will highlight other National Parks, come for the entire time or pop in when you can. Seating is limited to 100 people at a time due to the size of the theater in the Visitor Center.

Come enjoy some movies highlighting other great Nations Parks across the U.S., including well-known Grand Canyon, scorching Death Valley, sunny Gulf Island, remote Glacier Bay, and Sleeping Bear Dunes’ newest BFF, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, who is also celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. The National Lakeshore has 14 fascinating park films to share and is planning at least one special event each month in 2020.
Some healthy snacks will be provided and Friends Volunteers will be on-site to answer questions about some of our programs. 

Time: 12:30 to 3:30
Location: the Phillip A. Heart Visitors Center, Empire MI
Dates:  Will update upon further notification. 

Get Out and Hike Day – POSTPONED

Get Out and Hike Day was previously scheduled for Saturday, April 25th. We are now working on adapting this event to be moved to another date to be announced as soon as the park and volunteers can continue normal activity. 

We would like to celebrate Earth Day by helping the park understand spring needs for clean-up and repairs on the beaches and trails around the Sleeping Bear Lakeshore.
There are 12 trails that need to be walked around the park as well as understanding any damage to beach access points because of the high water we have experienced this winter. 

This is an all-ages event and a great way to learn more about how the Friends partner with the National Park. We will need about 30 volunteers for the day and tasks can be accomplished in groups. 
No need to RSVP ahead of time, please come to the Park Visitor Center in Empire for location assignment between 8:30-10 am. 

Date: TBD 
Location: Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore
Time: TBD
Participants should wear sturdy shoes and dress according to the weather forecasted.  Handouts, pens/pencils, and instructions on how to report damage will be provided.

For questions or more information, please feel free to contact our Adopt-a-Trail Coordinator: Tracy Barrilleaux, or at: 760-505-6743

Moonlit Snowshoe and Ski Event

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore continues its 50th anniversary activities with a snowshoe and/or cross-country ski on Saturday, February 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Join park rangers and volunteers from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and experience the park after dark as you snowshoe or ski along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail under the full moon.
Bring your sense of adventure, enjoy a trail lit by luminaries, warm up by the fire, and engage with our knowledgeable rangers and volunteers. The event is free with a park pass.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own cross-country skis and/or snowshoes for the SBHT event. Snowshoes will be loaned on a first-come, first-served basis. Park rangers will provide information along the route. Luminaries and a full moon will light the trail, however, visitors are encouraged to bring a flashlight or headlamp and wear layers.


Date: Saturday, February 8th

Time: 6pm-8pm

Location: Meet at the Dune Climb Parking Lot

There is no advanced registration needed.
Feel free to explore the trail at your own pace, there will be Rangers and Friend’s Volunteers along the candle-lit path and an open fire back at the Dune Climb to warm you up after your adventures.

Chili Dinner Fundraiser

Join us to Snowshoe in the park, then warm up with some Chili provided by Cherry Republic!

Saturday, January 25th at 2 pm, meet us at Cherry Republic Public House in Glen Arbor for a casual snowshoe stroll in the National Park lead by our very own, Kerry Kelly. As we celebrate 50 years of the park, this will be a great way to explore some of the winter wonders the area has to offer. 

After the snowshoe hike, warm up with a FREE chili dinner provided by Cherry Republic in their Glen Arbor Public House starting. 


Location: Cherry Republic Public House, 5109, S Lake St, Glen Arbor, MI 49636
Date: Saturday, January 25th
Time: Snowshoe hike will start around 2 pm from Cherry Republic
FREE Chilli Dinner from 2 PM- 5 PM 

Donations to the Friends are welcome and 10% of sales in the Public House during the event will be donated back to the Friends. 

If you do not have snowshoes of your own, some will be available to rent at Crystal River Outfitters in Glen Arbor.
$18 per person and includes snowshoes & poles.
You can reserve and pay online by visiting: 
(Click the Winter Equipment Rentals link) or Call (231) 334-4420 for more information. 

Pick up your equipment at Coastal 6324 W Western Ave Glen Arbor. 
Equipment must be returned by 5 pm. 
Walk-in rentals are also available too!

Hibernation Celebration

There’s a park party and you are invited. The National Lakeshore’s 50th anniversary activities start with a kick-off celebration at the Dune Climb on Saturday, January 18th. Join park rangers and volunteers from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Historic Sleeping Bear for a “Hibernation Celebration” full of fun winter activities. Build a snow sculpture, sled down the dunes (remember to BYOS (Bring Your Own Sled), try snowball target practice, borrow snowshoes to enjoy the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, sip hot chocolate by a fire, and MORE.

There will be a warming station with craft activities in the Dune Center. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes will be offered at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Stop by anytime from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to join in the celebration.

The event is free with a park pass. You can purchase a commemorative anniversary park pass in the Visitor Center for $45 which is good for the entire year!

Location: Dune Climb; 6748 S Dune Hwy, Glen Arbor, MI 49636
Date: Saturday, January 18 2020.
Time: Activities will start at 10:00 a.m. and go until to 4:00 p.m.
Expect to be outside for about two hours. 

Participants enjoying hot cocoa and roasting marshmallows in view of sledding the dune climb.

Friends gathered around an open fire at the Hibernation Celebration.

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