Government shutdown averted, Lakeshore celebrates National Park Week


Celebrate your National Park by attending a park ranger-led program

From staff reports

Join in the celebration of our country’s 394 national park sites right in your own backyard at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The theme for National Park Week 2011 is “Healthy Parks, Healthy People.” Get moving and attend a FREE Park Ranger-led program or just get to the park and enjoy some of the healthy activities the National Lakeshore has to offer during National Park Week, April 16-24.

America’s 394 national parks offer many close-to-home opportunities for outdoor recreation. A growing number of doctors even write, “Park Prescriptions” to get patients outside and active. The growing connection between public lands and public health is the focus of National Park Week. Entrance to all national parks is free throughout the week.

“National parks have always been great places to go on vacation, have fun, and learn something, but for millions of Americans, national parks are also a daily part of a healthy lifestyle,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “If you’ve never thought of your national parks that way, we’d like to invite you to come out to see how parks can help you meet your fitness goals. Getting outside and moving is the first step.”

April 16 – Healthy Parks, Healthy People: That’s the Point!
Join a Park Ranger for a healthy hike through the Sleeping Bear Point Trail. This leisurely paced walk through the 2.8-mile loop of hilly sand dunes and woods will get your leg muscles warm, your heart pumping, and your senses savoring the views. Meet the Park Ranger at the Visitor Center in Empire at 1 p.m. for a brief introduction and then car caravan to the trailhead.

April 22 – Empire Bluffs Sunset Hike
Join a Park Ranger for a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike to enjoy the sunset on the Empire Bluffs. Improve your outdoor photography skills while improving your waistline. Bring your camera if you have one, and we’ll have some old fashioned film cameras on hand if you don’t. Meet the Park Ranger at the Empire Bluffs trailhead at 7 p.m. From the Visitor Center, go south 1.7 miles on M-22. Turn right on Wilco Road. The trailhead is just up the road on your left.

April 23 – National Junior Ranger Day
This year’s National Junior Ranger Day will not only be focusing on exploring and learning about the park, but also why the park is a great place to help you be healthy and active. Kids of all ages are invited to attend any or all of the events.

• 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.: Junior Ranger Exploration Programs
• 2:30 p.m. Pre-Ceremony Activities at the Visitor Center in Empire.
• 3 p.m. Junior Ranger Ceremony at the Visitor Center in Empire.

All activities are free. In honor of National Park Week from April 16-24, entrance fees at the National Lakeshore and all national park sites will be waived. Reservations are not required, but are suggested if you wish to bring a group. Please call (231) 326-5134, extension 328, for details, or visit Also, check out our Facebook page at