Featured

Many Ways to Support the SBHT

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes manages and operates the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. In 2015, it cost over $13,000 to maintain the trail. This year, we are looking for people who love and use the trail to pitch in and help us cover the cost. We are asking for a $2.00 donation for paper trail maps. You can download a trail map and print it for free, or you can use our online interactive map for free. Businesses who support the trail can be on the interactive map. Click here for details.

Bike Rack and the Blacksmiths who made it.

Bike Rack and the Blacksmiths who made it.

In addition, we’ve been asked to put benches, bike racks, and picnic tables at various places along the trail. So we are offering donors the opportunity to make substantial donations to the trail and in return, we will dedicate one of these to you or whoever you designate.

We’ve also found that people love to have part of the trail in their home. One way is to make a donation and receive a mile-marker sign that was used on the SBHT. These small signs (3.25″ square) were replaced with the yellow emergency mile-marker signs in 2015.

Click here to see details on these and other ways you can support the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.


Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail – Ready for Spring

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail has been cleared of winter debris (branches, twigs, sand, gravel), and the Trail Crew has already started their weekly schedule to keep the trail clean and safe for riding and walking this spring. Now all we need is warmer weather!

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail near Charles Olson Farm

Heritage Trail near Charles Olson Farm

The next section of trail north of Glen Arbor (from Port Oneida Road to Bohemian Road) will be completed by the end of May. There will be a great new boardwalk over the edge of Narada Lake, and the trail will go right past the historic North Unity School. What a great addition to the trail! The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the Kelderhouse Farm on Friday, June 3. More details will be coming as we get closer to that date.

Click here to see detailed maps and information about the trail.


School Snowshoe Hikes – Happening Now!

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is paying for bus transportation costs for school groups to attend Ranger-led snowshoe hikes in the forests of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Students are learning about snowshoes and search for animal tracks in the fresh snow as they explore the winter wonderland of our Park! The Friends received a grant of $4,500 from the National Park Foundation – and with your help, has raised an additional $1,000 through a fundraising challenge sponsored by the Outdoor Industry Associaiton to pay for the transportation costs of over 1,000 students from 19 different school groups.

School Group Snowshoe Hike

School Group Snowshoe Hike

Pre- and Post-visit activities have been developed to help build background knowledge and create excitement for the hike, extend learning, and give students the opportunity to be creative and connect learning to the real world. The lesson during the hike will allow students to explore concepts in winter ecology and snow science in a hands-on, experimental format.

The programs began at the end of January and run through early March.


New Safety Equipment Purchased for the Park

In March of 2015, Consumers Energy Foundation provided Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes a $4,000 grant to purchase new Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to replace aging units that were unreliable and couldn’t be repaired. Through year-end donations from our members, we were able to purchase additional AEDs and supplies. The Park now has 8 units in high visitor use areas and in ranger patrol cars.

Philips Automated External Defibrillator

Philips Automated External Defibrillator

What’s an AED? You might not be thinking of an AED next time you run up the Dune Climb or walk a beach, but you will be happy to know that there are trained people with the right equipment nearby if you need one!

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

Ranger Joe Lachowski holds one of the new AEDs

Ranger Joe Lachowski holds one of the new AEDs

SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes. In fact, each minute of SCA leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival. Using an AED on a person who is having SCA may save the person’s life.

We had a situation at the Dune Climb last June, where a visitor had a SCA after climbing up the Dunes. Emergency personnel reacted quickly, applied an AED and stabilized him before transporting him to the hospital where he recovered. Fast action and availability of an AED saved his life.


Student Snowshoe Hikes – Need Your Support

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is raising funds to pay transportation costs for school groups to attend Ranger-led snowshoe hikes in the forests and dunes along Lake Michigan. Students will learn about snowshoes and will search for animal tracks in the fresh snow as they explore the winter wonderland of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Pre- and Post-visit activities have been developed to help build background knowledge and create excitement for the hike, extend learning, and give students the opportunity to be creative and connect learning to the real world. The lesson during the hike will allow students to explore concepts in winter ecology and snow science in a hands-on, experimental format.

We are participating in an online fundraising effort led by the Outdoor Industry Association to raise money to pay for transportation for school groups all over the US to experience a national park near them. We need your help to raise $1,000 to meet our goal. If you can help by making a donation, go to the fundraising web site and make a donation!


Echo Valley Trail Wins Cherry Republic Challenge

The Cherry Republic Holiday Trail Challenge was held from December 10 – 13. It was an friendly competition between three Mt. Bike trail projects to raise funds over this short time period. Thanks to your generous donations, WE WON! As a result, we will receive an additional $5,000 from Cherry Republic for the planning phase of the proposed Echo Valley Mt. Bike Trail.

During this campaign, we raised $11,125 + $5,000 from CR. We currently have $21,125 set aside for the planning phase of the new trail. That is enough to get started as soon as the management team at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is ready to start working on this. We hope that will be in the spring of 2016.

Click here to learn more about the proposed trail.


Spring Wildflowers in Bloom

Yellow Trout Lily

Yellow Trout Lily

The wildflowers are popping up and starting to put on a show thanks to the recent sunshine and warm temperatures. This is a perfect time to get out on the trails to hunt for some close-ups of the flowers or vistas of Lake Michigan from atop a bluff.

Why not take the Trail Trekker Challenge this year and see if you can hike all the trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes? Pick up your form in our booklet display at the Visitor Center or download it here.

While you’re out on the trail, you might find a flower or two that you want to identify. Tap into the extensive wildflower database on our web site. If you have a smart phone and good reception, you can access the database right there on the trail! You can also pick up a wildflower guide at the Visitor Center.

 


Find Your Park

Sure, you know where Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is – but what about the other 400+ sites managed by the National Park Service?  As part of the build-up to the NPS centennial  celebration in 2016, an awareness and education campaign co-chaired by First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush is kicking off now!

Primary.FindYourParkLogo.URL-200xYou will be hearing a lot about Parks in the coming months. Click on the logo to go to findyourpark.com web site to explore National Parks around the country. Stay tuned here to learn about NPS-themed events in our area that highlight Sleeping Bear Dunes and our local community.

National Park Week – April 18-25

Park Entrance Fee for April 18 & 19 is FREE.

Star Party – April 18 from 9:00 – 11:00 PM at Platte River Point. Join Park Rangers and Grand Traverse Astronomical Society for a guided exploration of our night sky.

Find Your Park Scavenger Hunt – download from the Park web site or pick up at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center.

Junior Ranger Day – April 25 – Two Sessions: 10:00 – 11:30 AM and 1:00 – 2:30 PM at the DH Day Log Cabin. Park in Glen Haven and walk to the cabin on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.


Ski Season is Just Around the Corner

Winter on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is special. Light fluffy snow covering the trees and trail make it ideal for photography, skiing, or snowshoeing through a secluded winter wonderland! Most of the trail is groomed in the winter with a corduroy base for skate skiing, snowshoeing, and classic tracks on the outside for classic cross-country skiing. Click here for up-to-date ski conditions.

Groomer Crew Training in November 2013

Groomer Crew Training in November 2013

The grooming crew is getting ready for the season. The wheels on the Gator will be replaced with snow tracks and the grooming equipment is in place. Groomer Crew training will be held on Tuesday, November 18. If you are interested in being on the Crew this winter, contact us.

Trailhead parking is available on Forest Haven Road in Glen Arbor, Glen Haven, the Dune Climb, Pierce Stocking Drive, and the corner of Voice Rd and Bar Lake Rd on the north end of Empire.

The trail from Glen Arbor to the Dune Climb (4 miles) is relatively flat with beautiful scenery. A loop trail through DH Day Campground and a loop just south of the Dune Climb have been added this year. You will have to remove your skis to cross M-109 and in Glen Haven. 

The section from Empire to Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (3 miles) is also beautiful, but has more challenging slopes. This section will be groomed without classic tracks because of the hills. This will be a good section for skate skiers to get a good workout!

Between the Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Drive, the trail crosses multiple driveways and climbs significant hills, so this section will not be groomed. There is no good way to ski between the Scenic Drive and the Dune Climb at this time.


Beach Access Stairs at Sunset Shores in Port Oneida

Park management requested the Friends to work with the NPS Roads and Trails crew to build another Beach Access Stairs at the road end of Sunset Shores (just off of Thoreson Rd.). Funding for this project was provided by an anonymous donor who wanted to protect the Lake Michigan bluffs from erosion. Fifteen volunteers worked on the project – including several from Cherry Republic. Over 250 hours of volunteer time + staff from NPS Roads & Trails accomplished the project in less than 2 weeks.

Jim and Andrew building platforms

Jim and Andrew building platforms

The project was completed the afternoon of July 3 – just in time for the 4th of July weekend, and the first people to use the new stairs was a family with a very young baby and another family member with a bad leg. They were thankful to have a safe way to get to the beach! Click here to see more pictures of the project.

Over the past several years, we have teamed up with Cherry Republic and NPS to build stairs at Lane Road and another one at the little gravel road about a mile further north on Port Oneida Rd.

These steep bluffs along Lake Michigan get eroded from all of the foot traffic sliding down the bluff from the road end to the dunes below. In addition, the soil around the roots of the trees is compacted which is hard on the trees. Looking at the area at Sunset Shores, you can see green vegetation in the forest understory – except in the area that people have walked from their cars to the bluff. Having the stairs will reduce human impact on these areas, while making it easier and safer for people to get from their cars to these secluded beaches.

Click below for maps to the three Beach Access Stairs in Port Oneida:


Sign Up for our Newsletter

Click the button below to sign up for email newsletter, annual Newsletter Mailing, and/or email Ski Reports

Sign Up Today

Website Design and Development by Pro Web Marketing