September 2021 Newsletter

We made it through the dog days of summer and have had some amazing weather these past few weeks! Lake Michigan is a pleasant 72-73 degrees and things are starting to slow down just a little bit as folks head back to school, work, and their regular routines. The Lakeshore is on track for another record-breaking year! Visitation numbers are about 7% ahead of last year’s numbers. The National Lakeshore attracted 996,650 visitors through July in 2021, compared to 931,827 in 2020. Hope you all made it to our virtual Annual Meeting. If you were not able to attend, you can watch the replay on the Annual Meeting Page or our Youtube Chanel.

Emmy Strickland (Age 5) heard that the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes had a booth promoting their new book, Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear, at the Glen Arbor Farmers’ Market on August 3rd. With her dad, Bill, Emmy rushed over to the Market to surprise the Friends with a donation earned at her lemonade stand. Emmy offered free lemonade, squeezing the lemons herself, for a donation to the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Emmy’s hard work paid off, and she raised over $163 for the Friends. When we asked Emmy how she raised so much money she said, “I wanted to give free lemonade to people and help the pPrk.” According to her Dad, Emmy’s favorite spot in the park is Sleeping Bear Point. The Lakeshore impacts young and old visitors alike, and we are so honored that Emmy chose the Friends organization as the recipient of her philanthropic efforts.
Thank you Emmy! Read her full story here: Lemonade Stand Benefit for the Friends.

Beach Fires and Camping 
With the increase in visitors comes the increase of illegal camping on the Lakeshore and around Leelanau County. With illegal camping comes inappropriate fire placement and human impact. There are a couple of contributing factors to this problem, one being the lack of awareness from Lakeshore visitors. Many campers don’t realize campsites are booked online, months in advance, and assume once they arrive at the Lakeshore they will be able to find a campsite. In this digital age, many visitors attempt to use online apps to locate alternate campsites when they find the park campgrounds full. Unfortunately, many of these apps contain inaccurate information! Read more in the
Leelanau Ticker article here and find out about all of the Lakeshore’s camping sites as well as leave no trace guidelines for appropriate and safe campfire building.

Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) As A Model for Other Parks

The power of prevention…since the PSAR program launched in 2017, 911 calls from the Lakeshore are down from 60 in 2017 to eight in 2019. PSAR provides a trained volunteer to educate visitors about the safety issues they may face at popular spots in the park (the Dune Climb and the Lake Michigan Overlook stop on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive). Volunteers and NPS staff are available to give advice on appropriate planning, protective clothing, and more helpful information to visitors. This year alone program volunteers have logged more than 11,800 interactions with visitors. This article posted on talks more about the uptick in park incidents around the state and how parks could be using the PSAR program as a model. 

Removal of Invasive Mussels Making an Impact

Our beautiful lakeshore and the problem it has with zebra and quagga mussels were the topic of a recent Chicago Tribune article. Research is being done about how to eradicate this problem which is impacting the whole ecosystem of the Lakeshore from fish to birds, even damaging boats, docks, and clogging water intakes. 
You can help prevent the transfer of these mussels by washing your boat off with warm, soapy water if possible. Do not transport water from live wells and bait buckets from one water body to another. Empty them onto land when possible and dispose of leftover bait in the trash

For more information on invasive species in the Lakeshore click here to view FSBD Environmental Threats pamphlet. The National Lakeshore has been supporting this research in hopes of finding an answer. You can read more about research in the Lakeshore in our “Picture-Perfect” book.

For several years, Jerry Pearson has led informal hikes and bikes on the Heritage Trail. There is no charge, and it’s a nice way to socialize and enjoy the trail with others. Jerry Pearson invites you to the fourth annual “Bike the Heritage” on Saturday, September 25th. For more information, visit our event page: Bike the Heritage Trail

There will be two races in and around the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in September that will impact visitors and residents with Street Closures and additional traffic to the area: 

The race takes place on M-22 and will have a significant impact on local traffic. M-22 will be closed between Esch road and Frankfort until 2 PM. Please visit the northern section of the park until the race is over.

For more information, visit the event website:

 The M-22 Challenge race takes place on M109 near the Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The Race will have a significant impact on local traffic until early afternoon.

For more information, visit the event website:

COVID Guidelines in the Park

A friendly reminder about the National Lakeshore COVID guidelines for visitors. 

Individuals over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking, in the following locations:  

  1. All common areas and shared workspaces in buildings owned, rented, or leased by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, Lakeshore visitor centers administrative offices, lodges, gift shops, and restaurants.  
  2.  All outdoor areas, when others are present and physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained.  

Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.  

Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals must comply with all orders regarding masks issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The best thing you can do is simply to carry a mask with you and put it on indoors or anywhere it gets crowded outdoors!

For Volunteers – The National Park is still outlining Vaccination guidelines for partners. The Friends will continue to hold meetings Digitally and keep in-person activities to small groups when necessary. 

For any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the Friends Leadership: or your program leader. For updated information and resources for Friends Volunteers, please see the Staff Page

For more information visit the NPS Public Health Update Page:

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