Blog by Jonathan Schechter of Earth’s Almanac
Article “Spirit Song of a Michigan Ghost Forest” (8/31/11). Reprinted by permission from Earth’s Almanac. All photos are by Jonathan Schechter.
Walk silently through the haunting landscape of the ghost forest of Sleeping Bear Point Trail and wind spirits whisper to you and chatter among the skeletons of long dead cedars.
If you do not hear them you are not listening. I am sure the Anishinaabek knew the song in their day on Sleeping Bear.
The ghost forest is stark evidence of shifting sand dunes and endless winds that writes new pages daily in the story of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an ever-changing masterpiece created by the last glacial retreat and now protected by our National Park Service.
Sand and wind in concert is powerful.
Although each grain of sand is just the tiniest of specks, in 1931 the U.S. Coast Guard buildings now in the town of Glen Haven had to be moved from Sleeping Bear Point before the migrating dunes buried them.
The story of sand dunes and ghost forests is without end, but to feel the earth moving forces of ice, wind and water that sing nature’s song you must walk the sands.
And I will walk there again in a land that is full of mystery and wonder, and home to black bears, bobcats and perhaps a few cougars.
NOTE: Final photo by Shaina O’Dwyer, Environmental Management System Management Representative of the Grand Traverse Resort And Spa.
During this most recent exploration of Sleeping Bear I was a participant in an environmental writers ecology tour sponsored by the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa www.grandtraverseresort.com with assistance and logistical support from the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Traverse City www.visittraversecity.com and the staff of the National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore www.nps.gov/slbe.
You can find Jonathan Schechter on his blog at Earth’s Almanac, a blog of The Oakland Press.