So Many Ways to Celebrate 50

We are Celebrating the Park’s 50 Years this week! 

Celebrate 50 with us – the Park and the Friends! Here are a few ideas for you:

  1. Pierce Stocking Drive at home
    Did you know that the Life of the Sleeping Bear Book was created from the wonderful educational signs created for all the points on the Pierce Stocking Drive? Order your copy of the Life of the Sleeping Bear today! 
  2. Learning at Home
    Learning from home or looking for supplemental activities while your family stays at home this winter, with Exploring the Sleeping Bear, your whole family can learn more about the history of the National Lakeshore and what shaped the area we love. 
    Order the booklet today!
  3. Virtual Visit
    Did you know there are many ways to visit the park, virtually? Through our iMap, the Sleeping Bear NL Youtube Channel, or the National Park Service Learning site. Learn more about how you can visit virtually here!
  4. Get your Limited Edition Merchandise
    We are excited to bring the Parks 50th Anniversary Logo to Limited Edition Merchandise! Now you can proudly showcase your favorite place on earth and support Park projects with your purchase. View our Bear Logo Merchandise Store.
  5. Celebrate with the Park!
    The Park is beyond excited to celebrate this momentous Birthday and have created many ways you can join in on the fun – in the park or at home. Learn how you can join in with 50th Anniversary Celebration Activities on the Park’s Website.  


Merchandise Sale Announcement

We are excited to announce the sale of the 50th Anniversary Bear Logo Merchandise!

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

We are beginning the sale of 50th Anniversary Bear Logo merchandise with a limited edition run of items for everyone in the family. Featuring a hoodie, crew neck sweater, and long sleeves for the colder months, as well as classic tee shirts with female-specific sizes, kids, toddlers, and even a onesie!
All profits will be used to support projects in the National Lakeshore.
Feel free to email questions to logo@friendsofsleepingbear.org


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 Donations to the Friends


Many individuals 70 1/2 years old or older may donate up to $100,000 each year to charitable organizations directly from their IRA, without that donation being counted as taxable income when it is withdrawn, whether or not they itemize their tax deductions.

In March, lawmakers approved the CARES Act, which allows some Americans to deduct up to $300 in charitable donations from their taxable income when they file their 2020 tax returns in 2021, whether or not they itemize their tax deductions.

If you wish to claim your donation to the Friends as a tax deduction, you should consult your tax, legal, and/or accounting advisors beforehand.



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 Secretary@FriendsofSleepingBear.org 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.


Cherrish Michigan

Cherry Republic has launched its Cherrish Michigan Campaign in which $1 from the purchase of select products will go back to an environmental-focused non-profit in the area. 

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has been chosen as one of the organizations the Cherrish Michigan Campaign will support! 
This means that for every sale of their CONFISCATED FRUIT MIX, $1 will come back to the Friends. 

Learn more about the program on the Cherry Republic blog.

Trails Reopen

Beginning Friday, May 22, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will begin to increase recreational access to the park and reopen access to: 

  • Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail;
  • all park hiking trails and trailheads;
  • picnic areas;
  • parking areas;
  • boat launches;
  • Dune Climb; and
  • vault toilets.

Click the links to learn more about the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT) or visit our Trail Page to learn about all of the trails in the park or view our Hiking Trail Brochure.

The Friends have been hard at work this week in partnership with the park to get trails ready for visitors to return! 

Trail Etiquette:

  • Stay to the RIGHT, alert others when passing on their left.
  • Please give six-feet of social distance to other groups on the trail.
  • No gathering of groups larger than 10 persons or with those outside of your household.
  • DO NOT block the trail when stopped – move to the side.
  • Cyclists ride single file when other users are present.
  • Please wear a helmet for your safety.
  • Dispose of all trash and animal waste in trash receptacles.
  • Stay on the trail, respect plants and wildlife.
  • Respect Private Property – Stay on the Trail.

One of the many Friends programs creates booklets supplied to the Visitor Center for a donation. These booklets can also be downloaded from our site on our Booklets page. We encourage you to donate to our organization to continue to provide valuable maintenance and programs to the park this year. 

Earth Day and National Park Week

We celebrated National Park Week with a look back in history, past projects, and future plans to work with the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore to protect natural resources and heighten visitor experiences. 

This year is also the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The purpose of Earth Day is to support environmental protection and we can work together to protect our natural resources. Everyone can make an impact on preserving earth’s resources through individual volunteering keeping natural spaces clean using Leave No Trace principles

Be prepared, travel on safe and durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, and respect wildlife and each other. 

There are so many reasons to be conscious when visiting the National Lakeshore and to remember these principals while enjoying your time at the park. We help the park preserve natural and historic sights, advise safe visitation to help foster the natural habitat of an endangered bird, the Piping Plover, and create educational materials to share why this location is so special. 

One such project was the creation of Interpretive Sign Areas around park interest points and along the Pierce Stocking Drive. This project involved the collection of geologic and historic information about this popular point of interest never found in one spot before and inspired the idea to create a book. Our book, The Life of the Sleeping Bear is now a fundraiser for us to be able to further support park programs. 

You can also visit our site before you visit the park to understand what trails and beaches to explore next. 

We can always use helping hands around the lakeshore. Now, this year we are awaiting when we can get back to help the land we love, but you can sign up to volunteer at any time, just fill out our Volunteer Application

Digital Park Visiting

During these times of Stay at Home and social distancing, there are many ways to explore the park and learn more about your favorite sites or prepare to explore some new locations for the next time you visit! 

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail IMAP outlines the entire Heritage trail, key sites, and park facilities along the trail. You can explore the entire length of the trail by clicking any point on the map and a photo of that area will come up on the right side of the screen – walking along the trail, digital, in any season. 
A video tutorial about how to use the IMAP can be found on YouTube.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Virtual Visit Showcases all points of interest in the park; viewpoints, campsites, and historic locations with links to learn about the history and importance of protecting each site. 
Follow these links below to download Sleeping Bear Dunes mobile app for both Apple and Android.

National Park System Virtual Visits provides links to many more of the National Park system’s 400+ parks and monuments. 



Plovers Returning

Nature never closes, and migrations of animals and birds are one of the most remarkable things in Nature. Here on the sandy shores of the Great Lakes, we see a special little bird called the Piping Plover return every year to nest and raise their young.

Plovers were classified an endangered species in 1985 when only 12 couples were spotted in the Great Lakes region. The birds are very sensitive to humans and dogs in the area which they nest and abandon nests if they feel threatened. Through conservation and protection by park staff, volunteers, and biologists, the Plover population reached a high of 41 pairs, half of them nested on North Manitu Island.

This season will be different. This year, volunteers will not be able to be on the beaches to spot and protect plover nests until the Stay at Home Ordinance is lifted and we can safely work with park staff. 

We ask our community to take extra care when visiting the shoreline by doing the following in April: 
– If you bring your dog, they must remain on a leash and within a close distance to you. 
– Please stay away from rocky areas on the beach and bluffs as this is where the Plovers build shallow nests in the sand and line them with pebbles or broken shells.

Sharing the shorelines, protecting piping plovers at Sleeping Bear


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