Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dune Aerial View.jpg
Aerial view of Sleeping Bear Dunes
Map showing the location of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
LocationLeelanau County & Benzie County, Michigan, USA
Nearest cityTraverse City, Michigan
Coordinates44°54′47″N 86°01′13″W / 44.91306°N 86.02028°W / 44.91306; -86.02028Coordinates: 44°54′47″N 86°01′13″W / 44.91306°N 86.02028°W / 44.91306; -86.02028
Area71,187 acres (288.08 km2)
EstablishedOctober 21, 1970
Visitors1,280,932 (in 2010[1])
Governing bodyNational Park Service
 
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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dune Aerial View.jpg
Aerial view of Sleeping Bear Dunes
Map showing the location of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
LocationLeelanau County & Benzie County, Michigan, USA
Nearest cityTraverse City, Michigan
Coordinates44°54′47″N 86°01′13″W / 44.91306°N 86.02028°W / 44.91306; -86.02028Coordinates: 44°54′47″N 86°01′13″W / 44.91306°N 86.02028°W / 44.91306; -86.02028
Area71,187 acres (288.08 km2)
EstablishedOctober 21, 1970
Visitors1,280,932 (in 2010[1])
Governing bodyNational Park Service

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a United States National Lakeshore located along the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan in Leelanau County and Benzie County. The park covers a 35-mile (60-km) stretch of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. This northern Michigan park was established primarily because of its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena. The Lakeshore also contains many cultural features including the 1871 South Manitou Island Lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations and an extensive rural historic farm district.

Contents

History

Sleeping Bear Dune August 2011.jpg

The park was authorized on October 21, 1970. The park's creation was highly controversial because it involved the transfer of private property to public. The Federal government's stance at the time was that the Great Lakes were the "third coast" and had to be preserved much like Cape Hatteras or Big Sur, which are National Seashores. The residents living in what is now Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore believed they were stewards of the land and did not want it to be overrun by tourists. The Government eventually won out in part by supporting the local schools to offset the lost property tax revenue and by adding North Manitou Island to be included in the park.[2]

The park is named after a Chippewa legend of the sleeping bear. According to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother bear stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. Impressed by the mother bear's determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands (North and South Manitou Island) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day. The "bear" was a small tree-covered knoll at the top edge of the bluff that, from the water, had the appearance of a sleeping bear. Wind and erosion have caused the "bear" to be greatly reduced in size over the years. Today only a small remnant remains.

In 2011, the park was named by ABC's Good Morning America as the "Most Beautiful Place in America".[3]

Historic sites

Looking south from Sleeping Bear Dunes toward Empire Bluffs and the southern portion of the National Lakeshore in Benzie County

Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum

Glen Haven Village

Glen Haven existed as a company town from 1865-1931. Originally, a dock for Glen Arbor (1855-date), the site soon became a fuel supply point for ships traveling up and down the lake. Here Charles McCarty decided to open his own business and built a dock to supply the ships with wood. In 1863, McCarty built the Sleeping Bear House. It was expanded a few years later to accommodate travelers. In 1928, it was remodeled into the Inn for summer vacationers. The General Store was established to supply the workers. Like most company towns, the workers were paid in company coupons, redeemable only at the company store. The Blacksmith Shop is where tools were repaired. In 1878, David Henry Day arrived in the community. By this time, coal from the Appalachian coal fields was replacing wood on the steamships. Day was looking for another future to this small community.[4]

Historic D.H. Day Farm

Port Oneida Historic Farm District

In 1860, Port Oneida had a population of 87 people. Thomas Kelderhouse had built a dock to sell wood to the passing steamships. He was also able to sell fresh produce and maple sugar in season. A local story says that the name comes from the first ship to stop, the S.S. Oneida of New York State. The area covers 3,000 acres (12 km2) and includes 16 historic farms. The farming community was gradually abandoned due to hard farming conditions and declining timber sales. [5]

Climate

Climate data for Traverse City, Michigan
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °F29293852647581787160443355
Average low °F15132132415259585141312136
Rainfall inches1.91.51.82.32.82.52.82.732.82.71.828.6
Snowfall inches19.916.212.130.30.00.00.00.00.78.816.577.5
Average high °C−2−231118242726221671{{{year high C}}}
Average low °C−9−11−605111514115−1−6{{{year low C}}}
Rainfall mm483846587164716976716946726
Snowfall cm50.541.130.780.800001.822.441.9196.9
Source: [6]
The lakeshore during winter

Flora and fauna

Cougars or Eastern cougars have been observed in the Lakeshore, and the National Park Service advises respect, caution and notification to rangers if one is encountered.[7]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Butch Street (March 2011). "Statistical Abstract 2010". Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NRPC/SSD/NRDS—2011/147. National Park Service. p. 15. http://nature.nps.gov/socialscience/docs/PUSO_Abstract_2010.pdf. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Brian kalt, Sixties Sandstorm: The Fight Over Establishment of a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 1961-1970 (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2001)
  3. ^ Good Morning America
  4. ^ Glen Haven Village Tour, The Cordwood Era pamphlet, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  5. ^ Port Oneida Historic Farm District pamphlet, Sleeping Dear Dunes National Lakeshore
  6. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Traverse City, Michigan". http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=90637&refer==. Retrieved June 5, 2009. 
  7. ^ Cougar Safety, Sleeping Bear, National Park Service

External links