Rolling into summer

Come on Spring/Summer by Kevin Povenz

Come on Spring/Summer by Kevin Povenz

All right everyone, climb aboard. We’re rolling to summer with Kevin!!

Like many of us, he’s looking forward to a little change in the weather so he shared this photo from August 2019 on the Silver Lake Dunes in case the weather has forgotten the plan. See more in his Fun/Interesting gallery on Flickr.

More Michigan dunes on Michigan in Pictures!

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Welcome 2022!

Cloud Climb by John Allen

Cloud Climb by John Allen

While this year doesn’t seem to be opening with as much hopefulness as 2021, here’s hoping that 2022 has all of us feeling like we’re walking on clouds!

John took this photo yesterday at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. See more in his Michigan 2021 gallery on Flickr.

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Wandering the sands of time

Sleeping Bear Dunes 1940 by Fredrick W Dickinson

Sleeping Bear Dunes 1940 by Fredrick W Dickinson

“What has been lost may yet live in memories.”
-Christopher Paolini

This morning a reader commented on John McCormick’s photo of the Au Sable Point Lighthouse that I shared last week, saying “This was an incredible shot, and I think of it whenever I go out to the lighthouse. I doubt that shot can be duplicated now; there are lights all along the foundation of the building, and the beacon is no longer operating.” That got me remembering other Michigan scenes that are lost to us except in photographs & one that was right in my backyard!

While the  that “the Bear” was also an actual formation atop a dune about a mile north of the Pierce Stocking Overlook. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore says that the formation pictured above known as “the Bear”…

…hardly looks like a bear now, for it has been changing rapidly in recent years. At the turn of the century, it was a round knob completely covered with trees and shrubs. You can still see some of the thick vegetation that gave it a dark shaggy appearance.

…For a long time, the sleeping Bear Dune stood at about 234 feet high with a dense plant cover. However, trough most of the twentieth century, erosion has prevailed. By 1961, the dune was only 132 feet high, and by 1980, it was down to 103 feet. The process is a continuing one. The major cause of the dune’s erosion was wave action wearing away the base of the plateau on which the dune rests. As the west side of the dune loses its support, it cascades down the hill. The wind, too, is a major agent of erosion, removing sand and destroying the dune’s plant cover.

The photo above was taken by Leelanau photographer Fred Dickinson. On Michigan in Pictures there’s a photo of Fishtown in 1940 that explains Dickinson’s hand coloration technique and another shot by Fred of some folks taking a break from a Sleeping Bear Dune ride.

Definitely check out the Dickinson Photo Gallery to view & purchase great photography of the dunes & other Leelanau locations. The gallery is still run by his daughter Grace who also colorizes photos. 

You can see a couple more photos of the Bear from MSU & click over to Leelanau.com for the Legend of the Sleeping Bear

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Over the Edge

Feeling A Little On Edge Today by David Hoffman

I’m Feeling A Little On Edge Today by David Hoffman

David took this shot of the incredible edge at the Silver Lake Dunes overlooking Lake Michigan. See more in his Silver Lake Dunes gallery on Flickr! 

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore turns 51 today!

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Thomas DB

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Thomas DB

(via leelanau.com) On October 21st, 1970 the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore became the third US National Lakeshore. The online book A Nationalized Lakeshore: The Creation & Administration of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has a good overview of what was a remarkably contentious issue back in the day:

A Nationalized Lakeshore: The Creation & Administration of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Beginning in 1919 a small portion of what is now the national lakeshore was set aside as a state park. The idea of a national park in northwestern Michigan did not surface until the National Park Service’s Great Lakes Shoreline Survey visited the area in 1958. Between 1959 and 1970 there was a continuous and controversial effort in Congress to create a park unit around the Sleeping Bear Dune. The legislative leader of the Sleeping Bear park proposal was United States Senator Philip A. Hart. The senator’s persistence and patience in the end led to the creation of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on October 21, 1970.

Opposition to the creation of the lakeshore was very strong among local summer homeowners. More than 1,400 tracts of private land had to be acquired to create the lakeshore. A heavy-handed, poorly planned land acquisition program reinforced the bitterness that surfaced during the decade of struggle that preceded authorization. The legacy of those actions has been twofold. On one hand the National Park Service has been vilified by many local property owners and the park staff have had to work in an environment that is unnecessarily confrontational. On the other hand, the presence of an organized local populace wary of National Park Service policy has influenced for the better the development of the national lakeshore. Local sentiments played an important role toning-down the agency’s initial plans to intensively develop the area’s recreational assets. More recently local sentiment has influenced the agency’s approach to the lakeshore’s rural cultural landscapes. Unfortunately, resistance to the National Park Service in the region has also hindered opportunities to bring more land under protection and to develop scenic drives for park visitors.

The National Park Service conceived the Sleeping Bear Dunes lakeshore at a time when the shores of Lake Michigan were rapidly undergoing privatization. Subdivisions of vacation and year round homes threatened to keep ordinary citizens from enjoying Michigan’s broad, sandy shoreline. A nationalized lakeshore along the beaches and bluffs of the Sleeping Bear made available for all what might have been enjoyed only by a select few. The cost was millions of dollars of federal funds and the hopes and dreams of hundreds of small property owners. Sleeping Bear Dunes was a tragedy for the latter and a wise investment of the former.

Indeed. You can read lots more in A Nationalized Lakeshore.

It was hard to pick a photo for this post, but I ended up going with Thomas’s beautiful shot from June of 2016 of my favorite view in the Lakeshore atop the Empire Bluffs where you can see South Bar Lake, the southern end of the main dune complex, and the Manitou Islands in the distance. See more in Thomas’s 6/1-6/3/16 Grand Traverse & Leelanau gallery on Flickr.

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Good to the last drop

Good to the Last drop by Rudy Malmquist

Good to the Last Drop by Rudy Malmquist

Rudy got a stunning shot of the view from the Pierce Stocking Overlook in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Head over to his Flickr for more!

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Beautiful Grand Mere Dunes

Beautiful Grand Mere Dunes by Mark Swanson

Beautiful Grand Mere Dunes by Mark Swanson

Michigan Trail Maps says that Grand Mere State Park:

…is a 985-acre unit in Berrien County that lacks the amenities found in most other state parks along Lake Michigan, including a campground and even direct access to its mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. It attracts only a fraction of the visitors that flock to parks such as Warren Dunes or Hoffmaster. Yet from a naturalist’s point of view Grand Mere is one of the most inquiring set of dunes in the state, an area so ecologically diverse that it 1976 it was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Congress.

The glaciers that scooped out the Great Lakes 10,000 years ago also carved out a number of smaller depressions along the western edge of the state, which evolved into interdunal lakes, ponds, and wetlands. At one time, this area contained a chain of five such lakes that were protected ecologically by a line of windblown sand dunes between them and Lake Michigan. Now there are only three, a result of aquatic succession. Today Grand Mere is a textbook example of the various stages of succession from aquatic communities to terrestrial. Beginning at North Lake, you can see how each lake is progressively disappearing, with open water first turning into marsh and then woodland swamps and closed bog forests, the fate of the former two lakes that lie south of the park.

Almost 4 miles of trails form a loop through open dunes and the wooded areas of the park, but the only designated trail is a half-mile Nature Trail. The paved, handicapped accessible trail extends from the picnic shelter around South Lake, passing 10 interpretive posts that correspond to back of the park map. The rest of the trails are neither posted nor maintained. The most distinguishable trail extends almost a mile from a small parking area off Wishart Road to the west end of the Nature Trail.

Mark took this photo a couple months ago & you can see more in his Spring gallery on Flickr.

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Grand Sable Dunes Sunrise

Grand Sable Dunes Sunrise by Michigan Nut Photography

Grand Sable Dunes Sunrise by Michigan Nut Photography

Sunrise overlooking Grand Sable Dunes in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore seems like a glorious way to start the day. See more from John at michigannutphotography.com or on the Michigan Nut Facebook page & have a wonderful week!!

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Michigan looks like this: Silver Lake Dunes

Silver Lake Dunes by Michael Koole

Silver Lake Dunes by Michael Koole

For me, one of the coolest things about Michigan is the incredible range of scenery our state offers including positively otherworldly vistas like Michael captured yesterday at Silver Lake Dunes in Silver Lake State Park. See more great shots from Michael in his Parks gallery on Flickr & follow him on Instagram!

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Waves at Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Waves by Charles Bonham

Silver Dunes Sand Waves by Charles Bonham

In case any of you are feeling like me & longing for a little warmth, here’s a shot from a couple years ago at Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Head over to Charles’ Flickr for his latest!

More dunes on Michigan in Pictures!

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