A gathering of more than 130 returned to Camp Kohahna at Pyramid Point on Labor Day weekend to pay tribute to 100 extraordinary years of camping. Women came from across the country, and as far away as London to join this weeklong Centennial Celebration, Aug 29-Sept 4. It was an opportunity to be together with old friends, reminisce and experience the freedom of being kids again at Camp Kohahna.

With all the prodigious natural benefits the honey bee affords the world at large, it is not surprising that honey bees play such an integral role in the world of farming for Julius Kolarik. Click here to read Part 10 of Rebecca Carlson’s Leelanau Farming Family series.

October 9 is Indigenous Peoples’ Day—previously observed as Columbus Day—and we pondered which Native American books are authentic, and which ones should we read and teach our children to understand the history and current impact of First Nations peoples in northern Michigan and throughout North America. “I encourage people to ask themselves a few pointed and potentially uncomfortable questions when selecting books,” said Tricia Denton. “Who does the writing, publishing and sale of the book benefit? What perspectives does it portray?” This story also offers a list of Native American- themed books available at Bay Books in Suttons Bay (and other Leelanau County bookstores).

John Houdek arrived in the Leelanau area in the 1860s with wife Barbara and brother Wenzel, all from Bohemia, writes Rebecca Carlson in the latest installment in her series about the legacy of Leelanau farming families. The brothers settled and homesteaded in the area north of Leland and south of the Gills Pier Saw Mill, owning around 400 acres of land, according to the 1880 plat map. The farms and acreage of these two brothers got passed down through the next three generations. John and his wife Barbara were parents to nine children who became integral parts to the family farm and Gills Pier community.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore deputy superintendent Tom Ulrich, who will retire from the Park later this month, once heard a poignant analogy at a leadership conference that compared the old style of managing a National Park to the Star Wars jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, who deftly and constantly fends off outside threats with his light saber. By contrast, the new style of Park management is not to deflect or fight off criticism from the public, but to engage, listen and teach as Yoda does. Ulrich arrived at Sleeping Bear Dunes in late 2002 at a time when Lakeshore staff was reeling from widespread criticism after it promoted an unpopular new General Management Plan that would expand portions of the Park classified as “wilderness.” His tenure at Sleeping Bear Dunes dawned a collaborative relationship between the Park and local citizens.

Two Weeks in a Hammock is an education and outreach initiative by Cedar residents Vince and Stacie Longwell Sadowski to inspire regular folks to get out into nature. “As two middle-aged people with average fitness levels and more time than money,” they write on their blog, “we model an active lifestyle of adventure. The Sun recently interviewed them about their “Voices of North Manitou Island” project, a series of videos launched this year that explore the history of the North Manitou Island in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore through the people who have lived, worked, played, and been a part of island life over the years.

Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear seeks to raise $50,000 to move the Goffar Barn in the National Lakeshore out of Narada Lake. The lake, east of the Port Oneida Rural Historic District, is a quiet spot to view wildlife from the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail boardwalk. But the 150-year-old barn is in danger of being lost, as its timber posts sit precariously in water and mud from encroaching water levels due primarily to beaver activity. The preservation project for the 25-year-old nonprofit is to move the barn away from the lake about 80 feet toward the Goffar farmhouse, which was recently restored by the National Park.

Novelist Sarah Shoemaker of Northport has been an educator, university research librarian, world traveler, wife, mother, and grandmother. She recently spoke with the Sun about her most recent books, Children of the Catastrophe (2022) and Mr. Rochester (2017). Shoemaker will appear at the Glen Arbor Arts Center on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 11 a.m. for “Coffee With the Authors.” Other events this fall can be found on her website, SarahShoemaker.net.

Ghost towns—sometimes called “boomtowns”—were formerly bustling communities where a natural resource, such as gold, was exploited and subsequently depleted, then the town was quickly abandoned. Most people are aware of Wild West ghost towns, such as California’s famous Tombstone or Bodie, but they are generally unaware of northern Michigan’s host of ghost towns, built not upon gold but timber.  Aral is one such Michigan ghost town. If you ever put on your bathing suit to swim at Otter Creek/the dead end of Esch Road, just off M-22 in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you have driven past the old schoolhouse and continued down the main street of that ghost town to the beach, and you just did not know it. 

Martin Korson’s great-grandfather, Martin, was one of the Bohemian families who settled the Gill’s Pier area, writes Rebecca Gearing Carlson in installment seven of our Leelanau Farming Family Series. Korson, pronounced Keer-shan, first settled and worked in Leland at the charcoal foundry that fueled the steam ships running Lake Michigan. Then the work became about clearing the land for homes and farms. Thus, timbering and the saw mill at Gill’s Pier gained importance as the community grew.