Purchase our book, The Life of the Sleeping Bear

The Life of the Sleeping Bear celebrates the world-famous Sleeping Bear Dunes area — its land and people — from prehistoric to modern times. Blending art, history, and science, the book contains vivid pictures, fascinating facts, and helpful graphics and maps to provide a rich and colorful tour of this precious geological and environmental area.
Find out more information about the book here https://friendsofsleepingbear.org/sleeping-bear-book/.

Call for Volunteers for Race Through Sleeping Bear

Help is needed at the Sleeping Bear Marathon

Date: Saturday, October 5, 2019
Time: 7 AM -2 PM – different positions require different time commitments 
Place: Race Start & Finish will be in Empire, MI. 
Various volunteer positions could be along the race route. 

Help us ensure a successful marathon, half marathon, and 5K run/walk in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. All races start and finish in Empire, MI. The out-and-back marathon course will take runners by the “Dune Climb”, past Little Glen Lake, and through the village of Glen Arbor with views of the Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dunes along the way. Our Trail Crew will be out cleaning the trail before the race to make sure it is safe and clean.

Volunteers are needed for help with packet pick-up on Friday, along the race route, at the finish line, and at the celebration at the end on Saturday. 

When you register, on page two it will ask “Are you part of a volunteer group?”.
Hit: Yep, Friends of Sleeping Bear & we will receive a donation to our organization for our time! 

Volunteer Here: https://runsignup.com/Race/Volunteer/MI/Empire/SleepingBear

Kettles Trail Update

Work on the new Kettles Trail has been completed for this year. We have a few more things to add in 2020 – an interpretive overlook at the bog, and an interpretive sign and bench at the end of the Accessible portion of the trail. 

The trailhead is located on Baatz Road near Fritz Road, and you are invited to stop by and hike this new addition to the portfolio of hiking trails at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! A map of trailhead location, trail map, and other info about the trail is available on the Kettles Trail page.

Planning and construction of this new 3-mile long hiking trail was a joint effort between Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore management and staff, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, YouthWork youth corps, SEEDS youth corps, and many volunteers! This year we had a volunteer work day in early June to finish the parking lot and work on the accessible portion of the trail.

Volunteers plant grass seed around the new parking lot.

A YouthWork crew worked alongside the NPS crew for the entire month of August. They improved the accessible portion of trail and built the bench-cut trail on the north end of the trail loop, which travels along a steep hillside with a bog way down below. They had to remove 9 huge stumps (by hand) to create this portion of the trail! 

YouthWork had a crew of 3 team leaders and 7 different members that participated in the Kettles Trail project. All of them learned a lot about trail design and really worked hard. Those 7 members logged hours towards educational awards, which in total amounted to $10,000 in scholarships. The YouthWork program is affiliated with AmeriCorps and we are happy to be able to support this important program.

Some of the YouthWork crew

Greetings From Yellowstone!

Our Communications Director recently took a trip to visit family right outside of Yellowstone National Park. Not only did they travel around the park but Laura Ann also met with Wendie Carr the Chief Marketing Officer for Yellowstone Forever, the National Parks official non profit partner organization.  Below are photos from her adventures.

Ranger Bob Furhmann and Laura Ann Johnson FSBD Communications Director

Here I am with my brother-in-law Bob Furhmann who is the Supervisory Park Ranger Branch Chief, in front of the Yellowstone National Park sign at the North entrance to the park.  Bob oversees all the youth programming in the park and is gearing up for a great summer hosting about 60 youth who will come to help build and maintain trails through Yellowstone National Park’s Youth Conservation Corps program.

Roosevelt Arch

The Roosevelt Arch is a famous landmark at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana. The arch was constructed per the request of  President Theodore Roosevelt, under the supervision of the US Army at Fort Yellowstone, in 1903. The top of the arch is inscribed with a quote from the Organic Act of 1872, the legislation which created Yellowstone, which reads: “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”.

four bull moose in the Lamar Valley


Much like Michigan, spring takes a long time to arrive, but the animals are starting to move back to higher elevation which means back into the park.  We were taking a drive through the Lamar Valley between Mammoth hot springs and Cook City and stumbled upon a very rare sight…. Four bull moose! This is the time of year when many animals like moose and elk shed their antlers.  All four of these guys had recently lost their antlers and will start to re-grow them. Fun fact about Moose, they start to overheat at 45 degrees which is why they spend much of their time in or near water.

Hike on the Rescue Creek Trail


They say if you don’t like the weather in Yellowstone, wait five minutes…. This is a photo of my husband Tom and our 20 month old Abner on the Rescue Creek trail. It was sunny, cloudy, rained a little, but overall a great hike! We saw five different types of ungulates (hoofed animals) bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, elk, and mule deer (not nearly as pretty as our white tailed deer).

Yellowstone Forever in Gardiner MT

Lastly a big thank you goes to Wendie Carr, the Chief Marketing Officer at Yellowstone Forever, Yellowstone National Parks official non profit partner. This organization is really cool! They do a ton of education programs for all ages, help fundraise for projects and in general raise awareness about the park and how to help preserve it. I had a great meeting with Wendie and learned a lot about how we can effectively spread the word about these amazing National Parks and Lakeshores!

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