Tires slashed, tickets issued for trespassing: life in a shutdown Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Photo: Tires on three cars were slashed at the Treat Farm on Saturday.

From staff reports

Much of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is closed until July 1, to slow the spread of COVID-19, and Park Rangers are patrolling popular spots within the Lakeshore—particular on sunny days—both to provide education and guidance and, when necessary, to issue tickets for trespassing, Chief Ranger Phil Akers told the Glen Arbor Sun.

“Up until this past weekend, people were very respectful of the Park closures,” said Akers, who confirmed that several tickets were issued on Saturday and Sunday. Akers also noted several occurrences of people driving off roadways into natural areas that damaged natural resources.

“Rangers are out on patrol. Sometimes we’re parked (at popular spots in the Park), sometimes we’re not. Above all, we’re trying to educate people and tell them why the Park is closed.”

“We’re trying to provide as much education and guidance as possible, and provide voluntary compliance.”

Car tires slashed at Treat Farm

Tires on three separate vehicles were slashed on Saturday afternoon at the Treat Farm trailhead, south of Empire at the intersection of M-22 and Stormer Road. Leelanau County Dispatch received a call at 3:52 p.m. One of the cars in question was a light blue Honda Element with a Michigan license plate. According to a pedestrian who witnessed the scene, a pickup with an Indiana plate was also damaged.

Both the Michigan State Police and the Department of Natural Resources assisted with the call, but Akers said that the National Park Service is handling the ongoing investigation.

Akers said the tires appeared to be slashed with a knife or a sharp instrument. He wouldn’t speculate on the motive. The investigation is ongoing.

This story was sponsored by the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail