On Memorial Day, my wife persuaded me to accompany her to County Road 651 Beach on Good Harbor Bay for a few hours of rest and relaxation in the afternoon, writes Tim Mulherin in this opinion essay we published in our June 29 edition. There we were. Along with perhaps 150 other folks who wanted to recreate at one of the most publicized scenic destinations in the United States. While we dismantled our sun tent, I observed two large dogs running off their leashes, owned by two unassociated dog lovers. That’s not only breaking National Park Service rules, it’s also downright rude. Not everyone loves dogs, including some people and all wild animals protected by the park.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is restoring an 0.8-mile section of National Park Service-owned dirt track in the Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness in the vicinity of Good Harbor. The unnamed route traveled south from West Lake Michigan Road to Shell Lake.

Everyone here has a favorite Lake Michigan beach. But what about those smaller lakes that dot our woods and meadows, or the creeks and rivers meandering through our woodlands? Which inland waters are preferred by locals who have lived in the area for a long time?

A “Bay to Bay” hiking, paddling and camping trail proposed for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has generated excitement among local business owners and recreation enthusiasts but also attracted significant opposition from private property landowners who live near the trail’s potential route. Staff at the National Lakeshore have subsequently slowed planning for the Bay to Bay Trail initiative. They extended the public comment period by an extra month this fall, and have drawn out the project’s scoping phase until next summer.

The Ticker and other media outlets reported earlier this month that the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will receive the highest level of federal conservation protection for nearly 50 percent of our branch of the National Park Service.

This painting is an imaginary place, based on an adventure at Good Harbor Bay with my friend Marilyn. Years ago, we were having a hot, dry summer similar to our present conditions. We hiked for miles down the beach under sunny skies, while a dark cloud appeared in the northeast above the Whaleback. The storm moved in so rapidly we were engulfed long before we expected, far from our cars. Lightning and thunder crashed down all around as we ran for the relative shelter of the fore dune pine copes. We could just feel the great joy of all the plants as the heavy down pour washed off the dust and filtered down the root zone. Marilyn and I however had to run two miles through the violent storm, covering each lightning strike, and reaching our car, soaking wet. We laughed all the way home.

This summer, the National Park Service (NPS) unveiled its options for the Historic Landscape Management Plan of the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. Some four miles east of Glen Arbor, the shoreline settlement was founded as a logging community, with subsistence (family) farming and fishing, in the early 1860s by immigrant pioneers from Prussia and Hanover (now parts of modern Germany), and lived in continuously until the 1970s. It is defined as a “historic vernacular landscape … that has evolved through use by ordinary people” over a “period of significance of 1870-1945,” in the Plan’s Executive Summary, and it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In mid-June, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) staff identified an ash tree near Little Glen Lake infested with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). This was the first time EAB had been confirmed within the National Lakeshore. National Lakeshore staff is working with partners and visitors to assess and mitigate the damage caused by these invasive pests.

After half a decade of planning, some debate, and the solidification of enthusiastic support across a broad spectrum of the public, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail will officially launch with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Dune Climb on Friday, August 12 at 11 a.m. When completed, the 27-mile trail will run from the southern edge of Leelanau County, through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to Good Harbor Bay.