Cheers to 2022! We trust you all had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying a great start to the New Year. December ended with some record-breaking numbers! Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore attracted 14,401 visitors in December, thus setting another annual visitation record. A total of 1,722,955 people frequented our local National Park in 2021, topping the previous record, which was set in 2020, by just over 4,000. The previous record was set in 2016 as reported by the Glen Arbor Sun on January 5, 2022. With the recent snowfall our volunteers are busy maintaining and grooming trails for cross country and skate skiing. This truly is one of the most beautiful times of year! 

It Is No Time To Hibernate!

The most promising part about the winter season in Northern Michigan is the abundant activities the National Park has to offer. Sledding down the Dune Climb, located 5 miles north of Empire, is the perfect family activity that becomes a popular and thrilling adventure. This 260-foot hidden gem in the heart of our lakeshore is the only site in the National Park where sledding is permitted. After hurrying to the top, you can appreciate the expansive views of the Glen Lakes, followed by the exhilaration of zipping down the dunes. Read the full blog here.

Meet Our Volunteer Blogger Olivia Kleshinski

Olivia and her family have a vacation home at the Homestead. Her neighbors, Helene and Dan Rimer encouraged Olivia to use her photography and writing talents and become a Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes volunteer. Olivia jumped into volunteering by walking trails, helping visitors, and taking great photos along the way. Her photos are featured in the Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear book.

Keep an eye out for her blogs about happenings around the park. Welcome Olivia!

Interested in becoming a volunteer…check out our Volunteer page on the website for more information.



Winter on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is special and can be enjoyed by all who enjoy a variety of winter activities. Friends volunteers groom the trail whenever the lakeshore receives fresh snow and temperatures are expected to stay below freezing. To sign up for email updates about trail grooming subscribe to our special e-newsletter by filling out this form

Rules for the Road on Skiing Trails Around the Park

  • A Park Pass is required – leave the pass in your car on the dash or in view.
  • Fat Tire Bikes are ONLY allowed on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. 
  • Pets are not allowed on ski trails during the winter ski season.
  • If you snowshoe or hike on backcountry trails, please stay out of the ski tracks.

A big wind storm we had at the end of December blew down 46 trees on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. All but one were located between Empire and Glen Haven. We had a team of four volunteers working to clear the down trees after the storm. Amazingly, none of those trees destroyed any of our signs. One bench on the big hill up from Greenan Road was destroyed. 

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers for jumping into action to clear the trees! Read more about the role of our Trail Maintenance Crew in keeping the trails safe and accessible in the winter to enjoy. 

“An additional Sleeping Bear Dunes captive-reared piping plover from the 2021 season was spotted on the wintering grounds recently. It is the fifth plover found so far this winter. This one was from the first clutch that had to be taken into captivity in 2021 from a nest near the maritime museum. The female disappeared, leaving only the male plover who only has one foot. We feared the two-egg clutch may not be viable but one of the eggs was fertile and survived to hatching and was released back at Sleeping Bear Dunes when it reached fledging age. The plover survived its first fall migration and was seen at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.” Wildlife Biologist Vince Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Plover News. Facebook, January 2, 2022.

Follow us on Social Media: 



Please fill out this form to update your information or unsubscribe.