Each day gets us closer to summer! That is what we keep telling ourselves as we grin and bear these last cold days of spring. We are all looking forward to a great summer full of biking on the heritage trail, repairing beach steps, volunteering, and much more. There is a lot to accomplish in these spring months to prepare us for another successful summer season. Check out our downloadable wildflower database (small donation requested), mark your calendars for our virtual volunteer training, and learn more about our new Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear photo book.
5 Signs Spring has Sprung Around our National Lakeshore
- Spring Peepers – Wetlands thaw and release choruses of spring peepers, soon joined by red-winged blackbirds trilling from budding bushes.
- Ruffed Grouse sounds – Male ruffed grouse stand atop old logs and drum their wings to establish territory and attract a mate. Hear the sound here.
- Fawns – White-Tailed deer babies or fawns are odorless when they are born so predators can’t detect where they are. The mother will leave the fawn for a few days right after birth so as not to rub any of her scent off on the fawn while it gains strength.
- Sandhill Cranes – return to forage in open fields or soar overheard on outstretched wings with their long legs trailing behind. Their distinct guttural calls carry a long way in the spring air.
- Trillium – This beautiful flower blooms and covers the forest floor with a blanket of white before the trees leaf out above. Did you know we have an entire wildflower database on our website!
Are you planning to search for those golden hidden treasures we call morel mushrooms?
A few reminders about collecting morels in the National Lakeshore. Check out our blog for further information and the National Park’s regulations for foraging. Happy hunting!
- Gathering must be by hand and no more than one gallon at a time.
- Must be for personal use or consumption (non-commercial use only).
- Clean footwear and gear before and after an excursion to reduce the spread of invasive species.
- Learn how to identify target species and those that may be similar as look-alikes may be poisonous. Do not consume unless certain of the identification.
- As ramps are also out at the same time as morels, however, please note that collection of ramps or wild leeks is NOT permitted and also kills the plant.
All Friends are encouraged to attend the Annual Friends training session on June 5th. The training will be offered on Zoom again this year. From 2-3 pm,
Friends information will be provided by Chairperson, Jerry Peterson; followed by Park updates from Superintendent Scott Tucker. Important safety and updated COVID protocols will be presented by Park Law Enforcement Ranger, Andy Blake, and Park Volunteer Coordinator, Matt Mohrman.
Following the one-hour general training session, there will be short breakout sessions for some of the individual volunteer groups. This is a chance to get your questions answered by experts in the field. The Zoom link will be announced when we are closer to the date of the training. The 2 pm general training session will be recorded and available for anyone unable to attend this once-a-year training event.
We just received approval from the Park to install three bike repair stations on the Heritage Trail. The Park has already installed one at DH Day Campground.
We plan to install the stations at the following locations:
- Glen Haven – near the Garage
- Dune Climb – near the bike racks and Donor Plaza
- Voice Road / Bar Lake Road Trailhead – across the trail from the trailhead kiosk
These locations are very popular starting points for many trail users. Having repair stations where trail users are just getting their bikes ready to go on the trail will make it possible for them to make minor repairs or adjustments before they get on the trail. Each station costs about $1,540. Please consider donating toward one today, or buy a whole station! Just indicate the donation is for Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and add a comment saying “For bike repair stations.”
Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear set to Arrive in June! Until then, you can look forward to a book pre-sale starting sometime in May. Those whose photos were chosen for the book will be notified in a few weeks when the page layouts are finalized.
Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear features the beauty of Sleeping Bear country, which has enchanted people for centuries. It highlights the fun-filled activities that bring people to visit here by the millions. It shows the area as it was when settlers came here to lumber and to farm. And, it explores how Sleeping Bear has been preserved and protected since the National Lakeshore was established 50 years ago.
Hundreds of pictures tell the stories. People were asked to send in their best photos and fondest memories. The stunning response provides visible testimony to the love that people have for this place. The result is an album of shared memories celebrating Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Our Track Chair Program plans to return to the trails July! We are currently working on updating our reservation system, and plan on opening up online reservations in June. We are also looking for any volunteers that would be interested in becoming part of this exciting and very rewarding program.
We need volunteers to accompany visitors using the track chair and others that might be interested in helping with the reservations and coordination of the program. Please check our website trackchair.org for updates as they become available.
Searching for Petoskey stones may as well be Michigan’s favorite pastime. These beautiful prehistoric coral have been found all over the state, even on forest floors. They are the official state stone and very abundant along Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. But pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations Title 36 – 2.1 , they must remain in the Park. It is illegal to take any natural thing from a National Park. Learn more about Leave No Trace Principals on our website.
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