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COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends, 
During this difficult time as the US and world works to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Friends of Sleeping Bear want to do whatever we can to support the efforts advised by the CDC, state, and national government agencies. 
As our mission is to “Protect resources and heighten visitor experiences in partnership with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.”, we want to ensure the safety of our members, supporters, and the community. 

The Friends is an all-volunteer organization and we often accomplish administration tasks remotely. Meetings, training sessions, and other group gatherings are being suspended and we will move forward with online meetings and audioconferences so that essential business can continue.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is open and maintaining operations based on information from the CDC, state governments, and local health authorities. Check out the National Park Service website for the most up-to-date information on your national parks.
UPDATE: As of March 16, the Park’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center has been closed to the public.
Follow these links below to download Sleeping Bear Dunes mobile app for both Apple and Android.
Our participation in National Lakeshore events will be determined by the guidance of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore management.
UPDATE: As of March 23, all non-essential Park staff will be working from home. For the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, this means that only Law Enforcement and select facilities staff. Please plan ahead and use extra caution as emergency services may be delayed and take away valuable resources from our local health system. 
ALL bathrooms and campgrounds will also be closed to ensure the safety of Park guests, employees, and volunteers. 
We understand that spending time outdoors is a great way to pass this time of uncertainty while keeping active and healthy. Therefore, we will continue to promote safe visitation to the park. If you plan to visit the lakeshore, be prepared to walk on trails that can still be icy and snow-covered in some areas. Be kind on the trails and pass each other using the recommended 6-foot social boundary.
An UPDATED guide to visiting the park can be found in our post here: https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/visiting-the-par…ocial-distancing/
If you see any safety concerns that may require immediate attention, please fill out the safety report on our website. 
 And please, e-mail any questions to info@friendsofsleepingbear.org
Stay healthy, 
Friends of Sleeping Bear Executive Committee 

High Water Impact

As we have witnessed for the past months, Lake Michigan has had higher than usual water levels which has caused erosion problems at some of the stairs going down to the Lake (Lane Rd, No-Name Rd, Sunset Shores). In each case, the sand has been washed away at the bottom of the stairs. When built, the bottom step was at ground level. Now they are all about 3 feet above ground (or water) level. One (No Pets) signpost at CR-669 has almost washed away.
The Park will schedule time in the spring to dis-assemble these stairs and replace them where appropriate. The Friends will provide funding and volunteers to work with them to do the repairs. Stay Tuned for updates to dates to which the park may require help. 
Please be aware when visiting that the beach is both difficult to get to in some places as well as the ground is very icy. Please be advised that the trails and beaches will continue to be slippery with on and off snowmelt. Take additional precautions by using trekking poles and crampons or other ice-grabbing additions to shoes. 

The History of the Dunes Area

This year, as we will be celebrating the park’s 50th anniversary in 2020 and are celebrating the Park’s past, present, and future. The park was authorized by Congress on October 21, 1970 to protect the natural environment and historic landmarks. There is so much to love about this area, from it’s unique and beautiful landscape to the history of the area during the turn of the century boom of the area was a transportation hub. 

This year, Friend’s volunteers put together a book that celebrates the history of the Sleeping Bear Dunes area with beautiful photographs by local artists to showcase historic and educational information. The book, The Life of the Sleeping Bear is now on the bestseller list by Horizon Books. You can still order your copy of the first edition, but the books are going fast. 

Trail Study Results

Click to Enlarge

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail has been a great addition to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the surrounding community. Anytime you are on the trail in the summer, you can see that it is getting a lot of use. 
The Friends had done several non-scientific surveys in the past 7 years, but during the summer of 2019, we worked with TART Trails and the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation to conduct a scientific survey of trail users and local businesses and community members.
We wanted to learn more about how trail users felt about the trail and what community members, businesses, and healthcare providers thought – was the trail improving the quality of life for visitors and the community. The survey was done for two trails in the region: Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and the Leelanau Trail. Our volunteers administered over 400 trail use surveys on the Heritage Trail and TART staff did surveys with 400 trail users on the Leelanau Trail. The University of Florida students interviewed businesses and healthcare providers.
One of the surprising things was the difference in the type of user between the two trails. The Heritage Trail was a tourist destination and closely related to the visitation of the National Lakeshore, while the use of the Leelanau Trail was more local residents using the trail for recreation and exercise. That difference shows up in the economic impact numbers. According to the study, the Heritage Trail brings in over $3.3 Million per year to the local economy.
The other thing that stood out was that trail users felt that biking, walking, running on the trail was one way for them to improve their health and reduce healthcare costs. The study also highlighted the fact that both trails are accessible, provides opportunities for those with disabilities to enjoy nature too. 
Summary of work completed by the Friends summarized by Kerry Kelly; Former Chair and SBHT Program Manager.

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Visitor Profile from the TART Benefit Study

A summary of the study results are posted on TART Trails website.

Book Release Party Sunday December 8th at 3pm

Come Celebrate with us at our Book Release Party at Cherry Republic Glen Arbor! 


Come meet the historians, photographers, and writers who created The Life of the Sleeping Bear and the story that chronicles the journey of our Park and community.
This is a FREE Event with delicious treats, including cherry pie donated by Cherry Republic.

Enter a drawing for a Cherry Republic $30 gift card with each book purchased at the event! The drawing will take place at 3:30 after a short program.

Sunday from 3-5 pm, Cherry Republic will offer a 15% discount on any products shipped from the store if you include a book purchased during the Book Celebration event. Send cherry goodies and a copy of the book to those on your holiday shopping list. Flat-rate shipping is $9.95 per shipping location.

Event Information: 

Location: Cherry Republic Public House
Address: 6026 A, 5109, S Lake St, Glen Arbor, MI 49636
Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019
Time: 3-5 pm

To learn more about the book and pre-order a copy of your own, visit the book page here

Preventative Search and Rescue – PSAR

PSAR Volunteers helped reduce the number of Search and Rescues in the Park by over 50%. Fewer emergencies = happier visitors! Join our PSAR team!

Making the Park Accessible to More People

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a beautiful place, and one of our goals is to make it more accessible to people of all levels of ability.. Our efforts are focused on awareness, training, and projects to improve access to trails and beaches.

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT) is a hard-surface multi-use trail that passes through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from Empire through Glen Arbor to the Bohemian Road (CR-669).

Ski Conditions

We groom the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail from Glen Arbor to Empire when snow conditions allow. Ski conditions will be posted here whenever there is a change in conditions. This winter, we will also groom from Crystal View Trailhead past the Homestead to Port Oneida Road.

Ski conditions will be posted on our web site whenever conditions change.

Snowshoe Hikes

We are inviting all 4th grade classes to come to Sleeping Bear Dunes for a winter snowshoe  experience. We will pay for bus transportation and a team of rangers will lead you on snowshoes through the wintery woods.

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