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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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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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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The Great Silver Lake Pyramid

The Great Silver Lake Pyramid by Neil Weaver

The Great Silver Lake Pyramid by Neil Weaver

Here’s a simply stunning shot from Silver Lake Sand Dunes, which is located on the shore of Lake Michigan between Muskegon & Ludington.

Neil has several more stunning shots from the Silver Lake Dunes on his Facebook page and some great photography (including his 2021 calendar) for sale at neilweaverphotography.com!

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Last night at Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Last night at Silver Lake Sand Dunes by Neil Weaver

Last night at Silver Lake Sand Dunes by Neil Weaver

Neil captured this stunning shot of the galactic core of our Milky Way stretching across the night sky over Silver Lake Sand Dunes during a recent visit. Head over to neilweaverphotography.com or follow him on Facebook for more great pics!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Sleeping Bear Dunes

via leelanau.com…

The Big Sweep by Mark Smith

The Big Sweep by Mark Smith

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was officially authorized on October 21, 1970 making today the 50th birthday of Michigan’s most visited national park. Our Sleeping Bear Dunes History page says in part:

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was established by Act of Congress October 21, 1970. Public Law 91-479 states, “…the Congress finds that certain outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena, exist along the mainland shore of Lake Michigan and on certain nearby islands in Benzie and Leelanau Counties, Michigan, and that such features ought to be preserved in their natural setting and protected from developments and uses which would destroy the scenic beauty and natural character of the area.” The Congress also directed that “…the Secretary (of the Interior) shall administer and protect Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in a manner which provides for recreational opportunities consistent with the maximum protection of the natural environment within the area.”

…The Lakeshore mission is to preserve outstanding natural features including forests, beaches, dunes and ancient glacial phenomena along 100 km (64 miles) of Lake Michigan shoreline, in order to perpetuate the natural setting for the benefit and enjoyment of the public, and to protect it from developments and inappropriate uses that would destroy its scenic beauty, scientific and recreational value.

I know that there’s few people in Leelanau who would disagree that the park has helped to maximally protect our area’s incredible natural beauty with over 60 miles of shoreline open & accessible to all as well as miles of forest, dune & farmland. Head over to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Facebook page for all kinds of 50th Anniversary fun!

Mark took this photo back in 2018. See lots more in his Sleeping Bear/Glen Arbor gallery on Flickr!

More from the Sleeping Bear on Michigan in Pictures!

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Grand Sable Sunrise

Grand Sable Dunes Sunrise by Craig Sterken Photography

Grand Sable Dunes Sunrise by Craig Sterken Photography

Craig captured this spectacular sunrise in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore over Grand Sable Dunes on the shores of Lake Superior. Check it out at Craig Sterken Photography on Facebook & also have a look at Craig’s new vinyl stickers for your car windows!

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Beautiful Day at Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Saugatuck Dunes State Park by Terry Zweering

Saugatuck Dunes State Park by Terry Zweering

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says that Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers:

…2.5 miles of secluded Lake Michigan shoreline and 1,000 acres of steep slopes, rolling hills and fresh water coastal dunes more than 200 feet tall. The beach is a two-thirds mile hike from the picnic parking area.

The park’s major attraction are the long sandy beach and the 300-acre natural area, which contains a coastal dune system containing three endangered plant species. Nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers and hikers are the predominant day users.

The park, located in Allegan County, is relatively undeveloped. The land was acquired in 1971 from the Augustinian Order, who used the buildings as a seminary. When the state took ownership, the structures were used as a prison and state police offices.

More from the DNR & also check out the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance for more on the natural & human history as well as species found here.

Terry says that this is one of her favorite places to hike and hang out. See lots more pics in her Saugatuck Dunes album on Flickr.

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