“The national parks are the best idea we ever had,” novelist and environmentalist Wallace Stegner proclaimed in 1983. “Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Many nations around the world agree. Last month, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore superintendent Scott Tucker and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore superintendent Lynne Dominy spent two weeks in Saudi Arabia working with their peers in Riyadh and coaching them on community engagement, resource management, interpretation and education programs, park policy, and collaboration. “Our National Parks are the gold standard,” said Tucker. “We’ve been doing this for more than 100 years.”
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.
Just outside of Glen Arbor, a well-traveled section of County Road 675 is imperiled as it crosses three sets of undersized culverts slowly crumbling into the Crystal River. That’s a multi-million-dollar problem for the Leelanau County Road Commission. The engineering plans call for the construction of a concrete and steel structure to replace the culverts under CR 675 closest to M-22. That will keep the two road surfaces closely matched in elevation. The two sets of culverts further east, including the “shoot-the-tube” culverts, are to be replaced with classic wood bridges providing a lot of headroom for paddlers, ending the need for portages across the road. Plans call for the replacement of the Tucker Lake overflow culvert with a wide and substantial concrete box culvert.
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.
The Sleeping Bear Gateways Council will host its annual meeting as a virtual event on Zoom at 5 p.m., Monday, August 21. The session will feature updates on the group’s projects as well as comments from leadership of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. All individuals with interest in the Sleeping Bear area are invited to join. Click here for a link.
Thanks to grant funding from the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids initiative, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is expanding night sky educational programming with a teacher workshop and a series of night sky themed daytime events open to both local schools and the public. On Saturday, Aug. 19, a ranger-led “Night Sky Navigator” teacher workshop will be held at the Dune Climb from 4-6 p.m.
The 11th annual Port Oneida Run— an event held by the Park’s nonprofit partner Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear—will take place on Saturday, August 5. The run starts and ends at the big red barn and lawn area at the Olsen Farm/Port Oneida Farms Heritage Center, just four miles north of Glen Arbor. It is the only race that winds through the beautiful scenery of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s Port Oneida Rural Historic District. With its historic farms and barns, Port Oneida is hailed as one of the most prized historic landscapes in the country and should be on every runner’s bucket list.
Six days in July, three emergencies on lakes near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, two cases of people not wearing life vests, and one death. These stories yield cautionary tales about enjoying but respecting these waters which are beautiful but can prove perilous, too. Read about the young men rescued in Lake Michigan floating in inner tubes one mile off Platte Point, a death on South Bar Lake in Empire, and a family that survived a boat fire on Big Glen Lake.
Detroit native Pam Baad—pictured here jogging up the Lake Michigan Overlook at Pierce Stocking Drive—was named women’s “champignon” of the 2021 Bordulac Attack. The informal race is organized by the Bordulac family, includes six segments in and around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and must be completed between June 15 and Halloween. Anyone can form a team or compete solo on any given day by using the Strava mobile app.