Posts Tagged ‘national park’
Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
By Jonathan Schetcher of Earth’s Almanac
Reprinted by permission
National Park Ranger Ryan Locke demonstrates the newly installed boot scraper at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (photo by Jonathan Schetcher)
National Park Ranger Ryan Locke is on the front lines of a war raging at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a quiet war being waged to combat the spread of invasive species. The first “boot brush station” was installed at the popular Empire Bluff Trail last month with additional scrapers going in at South and North Manitou Islands and Leland. The scrapers are aimed to raise the awarness of backpackers and casual hikers that they are vectors in invasive species seed dispersal. The simple act of scraping your boot or shoe against the brush before and after a trail hike removes hitchiking seeds while the well worded colorful interpretive sign explains the science behind the war plan.
Congratulations to Ranger Locke who thought about a way to educate the public on invasive species seed dispersal and provide a way for the public to take immediate action. Locke called around to other parks with islands and then pitched the idea of a boot brush station to the National Park Service’s Invasive Species Coordinator Marcus Key who works at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Key ran with the plan and saw to it that 55 of these stations were produced to be placed in ten National Parks around our Great Lakes.
Locke explained the highest priority is to educate the public about the risk of transporting invasive species (such as garlic mustard and spotted knapweed) in the treads of, or on the laces of their hiking boots or hidden in camping gear to the Manitou Islands.
Do your part on your next Sleeping Bear visit: Wipe your feet!
Visit Jonathan Schetcher’s blog, Earth’s Almanac at: http://earthsalmanac.blogspot.com. See his original blog article as it was posted on September 20, 2011.
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
Official Press Release from PRESERVE Historic Sleeping Bear
June 13, 2011
For Immediate Release
Susan Pocklington, Director,
Volunteers can help restore the cultural landscape at the Ole Oleson farm in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District on Friday, June 24th between 9 am and 4 pm. Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear seeks 10-15 volunteers for their annual field clearing project to remove invasive and non-native plant species, as well as spreading tree saplings.
This project is suitable for high school youth and over, and volunteers may sign up for part or all day. Manual tools only, such as loppers and handsaws, will be used. Participants should wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, hat, and bring a sack lunch, sunscreen.
Olsen Farm on M-22
The Oleson Farm is located off of M-22 west between Maple City and Glen Arbor. Turn right onto Basch Rd, then a second right onto Kelderhouse Rd. Head straight back into the winding drive at the back of the property.
For more information on this and upcoming historical preservation projects, visit their website at www.phsb.org or call (231)334-6103. Photograph: Volunteers help PHSB with field clearing annually. Shown here are Cherry Republic employees volunteering in 2007.
Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Official press release of the National Park Service
May 27, 2011
Contact: Sue Jennings, 231-326-5134
Empire, MI - Volunteers are being sought to assist with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s avian botulism beach monitoring program. An informational training program for prospective volunteers will be held from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 2 at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) Visitor Center, 9922 Front Street, in Empire. If you are interested in volunteering and attending this meeting, please contact Park Ranger Sue Jennings or Amie Lipscomb at 231-326-5134. The following week, on Thursday, June 9, an informational program on bird mortality related to botulism poisoning will be held in the Munneke Room of the Leland Township Library, 203. E. Cedar Street, Leland from 7:00-8:30 p.m. The June 9 presentation will include updates on how botulism poisoning is affecting waterfowl along coastal areas of Lake Michigan, and how volunteers can assist. The June 9 program will include speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Michigan Sea Grant, National Park Service, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Avian botulism is a paralytic, often fatal disease of birds that results when they ingest toxin produced by the native Clostridium botulinum type E; an anaerobic bacterium found in nutrient rich substrates. The bacterium spores (resting stage of the bacteria) are abundant in many North American lakes. The spores are found in the gills and digestive tracts of fish living in these lakes and can remain viable for years; they are harmless until the correct environmental conditions prompt them to germinate. Type E botulism occurs only under conditions when these spores germinate and the bacteria multiply and the vegetative cells produce toxin. Changes in Great Lakes ecosystems have increased the growth of the botulism bacterium. Birds are often poisoned by eating fish or invertebrates that contain the toxin.
In addition to actively monitoring the shoreline for sick and dead birds, the park is collaborating with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern Michigan College’s Water Studies Institute, to conduct studies in the Lake Michigan near-shore environment to better understand the mechanisms of toxin transmission. These studies and public presentations are funded through President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to assure that Great Lakes beaches, fish, and sources of public drinking water are safe, and that the ecosystems that fish and wildlife depend upon are healthy.
Lake Michigan beaches within the National Lakeshore remain safe for swimming and recreation, however, park visitors should exercise caution upon encountering bird or fish carcasses. Type E botulism is not an infectious disease. It is a poison. You must ingest the toxin, usually by eating an infected fish or animal, to become ill. You are not at risk for contracting botulism by swimming in Lake Michigan. Visitors bringing pets to areas that allow pets on beaches should keep their pet on a leash and avoid dead animals. Pets may be poisoned if they eat dead birds or fish containing botulism toxin.
For more information, please contact the National Lakeshore at 231-326-5134 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/slbe.
Friday, January 28th, 2011
The National Park Service provides some excellent resources for park visitors, including a map, brochures and bulletins. At the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau we wanted to help our visitors experience attractions both inside and outside of park boundaries, so we created an Area Guide and Map. It contains things to do in beautiful Leelanau County as well as five driving tours that will take you to the best Leelanau has to offer.
National Lakeshore Tour 1: The tour begins at the Philip A. Hart Visitors Center in Empire where you can pick up park literature or speak with park rangers. The driving tour winds through the Sleeping Bear Dunes and includes stops in some spectacular locations including the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, The Dune Climb, the historic town of Glen Haven, and finally to a Lake Michigan beach. The tour can be done in one day or spaced out over two or three days.
The Dune Climb
National Lakeshore Tour 2: The tour takes you north, up the coast on M22 through some charming small towns. The first stop is through the historic town of Port Oneida, a historic settlement with remnants of life as it was in the late 1800’s. The next stop is Pyramid Point with a hike to the top of a 260-foot bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. Over-heated hikers can stop for a swim in Good Harbor Bay or dip their toes in Shalda Creek. The tour continues to the small town of Leland, where historic Fishtown has been persevered as it was 100 years ago. From Leland, travel through rolling hills and orchards to the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Travelers have the option of stopping at the Leelanau State Park to hike short trails to Lake Michigan or to stop at Peterson Park for a picnic and spectacular views of the Fox Islands.
Fishtown in Leland
Winery Tour: No trip to Leelanau County would be complete without a tour of the vineyards and wineries that make up the Leelanau Peninsula. The tour includes up to 18 wineries, each with something unique to offer, including award-winning wines and postcard-perfect scenic views. Tasting room design and ambiance varies from grand to chicken-coup quaint, and many have scenic views worthy of a stop. A Wine Trail Map with winery GPS locations is available from the Leelanau Peninsula Vintner’s Association.
Shady Lane Winery (courtesy of Leelanu Peninsula Vintner's Assoc.)
Shopping Tour: Shopping may seem out of place with so many natural wonders to see, but that is far from true. Leelanau towns are not only quaint and charming, but are situated along the picturesque shoreline of Lake Michigan, Grand Traverse Bay and inland lakes. The shops sell everything from small-town sweatshirts to fine art, ice cream and home-made pottery. Be sure to stop at roadside fruit stands that supply locals and visitors with fresh, locally-grown produce and fresh baked goods.
Wayfaring Tour: The final tour takes the adventurous on four hikes to spectacular overlooks of Lake Michigan, the Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Hikes range from .75 miles to 2.7 miles and take the hiker through hilly terrain to Empire Bluffs, Bay View, Pyramid Point, and Whaleback. For those who have an extra day, we highly recommend taking the ferry to North or South Manitou Island to hike the island trails, camp over night, or relax on an untouched beach with the Sleeping Bear Dunes mainland as a backdrop. We guarantee it will take your breath away.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau Area Guide and Map also contains a list of art galleries, golf courses/schools, museums, ice cream stores, restaurants, a spa, wineries, fishing shops/schools, boating/canoeing vendors, lodging locations and wedding venues.
To get a Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau Map, call 231-334-8499, fill out an online request or email us at email@example.com. Be sure to sign up for our monthlyeNewsletter for the latest news or subscribe to our blog via RSS feed. We also have an active social community on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
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Blog by Ileana Habsburg-Snyder
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
By guest blogger and photographer, Cindy Ratowski.
Whenever the light is right, it is a tug on my soul. Get out there. Whatever you have on the schedule for the day can wait. It is almost…almost…who am I kidding? It is an addiction.
Photography…I love to live it.
Being able to do what I love where I live is something I do not take for granted. I am blessed to live in Northern Michigan, to photograph and to share what is here with anyone that cares to look. Nature, quaint towns, unique architecture, wildlife and interesting people make it a wonderful back drop for any photographer or artist.
On December 14th I knew I needed to get paperwork and other tedious details taken care of. But the pull to get out there is so very difficult for me…it’s in my soul and brain. My excuse for avoiding the mundane duties came in the form of a phone call.
A student, Brook Shank, from the TBA Tech Center was to arrive around lunch time to be my shadow for the day. As we talked and shared, we came to the conclusion that Port Oneida would be the place to go. Although Brook was a native to the area she had never been to the historic town. We just had to go.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, the lake shore and the surrounding area are the back drop for many of my portraits and nature shots…I dare to say, I call it “my office.” So for technical purposes we were going to be in the “office” all day.
The first stop was one of my favorites, Thoreson Farm. I just love this farm. The setting of the barns, the house, and the very picturesque outhouse surrounded by hollyhocks in the summer and snow drifts in the winter was the place to start. The sky was an amazing mottled gray and blue with the sun peeking out periodically. It was another perfect day in Northern Michigan.
We wandered the grounds and handed my camera back and forth. Brook was amazed that she had never been there before. We talked about the history of the farms in this area. We both agreed that it is fascinating to imagine what life was like during the time when all of the farms were occupied in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I think about how difficult life must have been, but also how wonderful to be surrounded by all the beauty when the work was finished.
We moved from the Thoreson Farm to the Olsen Farm in a natural progression. The Olsen Farm barn is amazing…such character and in such a wonderful setting. I think most photographs of the barn are taken from the road in the fall. I like to be different, so we pulled into the plowed driveway to have a closer look at some different angles. I brought four lenses with me that we changed periodically to get a new perspective on each subject.
We continued on to the farm across from the Kelderhouse Cemetery to take a few carefully-selected shots. The Kelderhouse Cemetery was next. There is something about a historical cemetery that intrigues me. These were those people that lived here. What were they like?
Both Brook and I were getting a bit cold, so we took a ride up by the Leelanau-Kohana Camp at the tip of Pyramid Point. I told her about the farm homestead that sits on the ridge overlooking Lake Michigan. It is a place I take my kids to swim. It has a fabulous view from the beach of North and South Manitou Islands.
The day sadly came to an end; it was time to head back to reality. Brook had to go to her job and I had to meet my kids at the bus stop. What a wonderful day of travelling back in time with a student who was headed for a promising future. Life is excellent in Northern Michigan and so was being shadowed for a day.
Cindy A. Ratowski lives in Leelanau County. She is the owner of Unique Eye Artworks Photography and frequently posts her photographs on the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau Facebook page as well as her own Facebook page.
- Cindy Ratowski
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
By guest blogger Jim DuFresne of MichiganTrailMaps.com
With a stiff wind and a few snow flakes in our faces, a chill running down our backs and heavy surf that was lapping at our boots, we thanked our lucky stars for the perfect conditions. You may want sun and calm conditions when going skiing or day hiking, but the only way to search for shipwrecks is with a storm on the horizon.
We had one. The dark clouds of a late November blow were sweeping across Lake Michigan, putting white caps on the water and throwing a spattering of wet snow that made us snap the top button of our jackets.
As we trudged through the sand looking for the remains of sailor’s mishaps from the century before, we could almost feel the fear the seamen must have felt upon entering the Manitou Passage, a graveyard for ships in the 19th century. Between 1835 and 1960 more than 50 ships sunk in the passage between the Manitou Islands to the north and the mainland shoreline around Sleeping Bear Point.
Today the area and its artifacts are protected as the Manitou Passage State Underwater Preserve, but you don’t need scuba gear to enjoy the wrecks.
The staff at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has put together a brochure entitled “Beachcombing for Shipwrecks” and says this is a great time to search. Their reasoning? Storms, and the strong surf they produce, increase the chances bits of shipwrecks will wash ashore.
We like starting at Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station. Though closed for the season, the old Lifesaving Station and boat house provides an added maritime touch to our treasure hunt. From there we head northwest, following the beach to Sleeping Bear Point.
Occasionally referred to as the Shipwreck Trail, the beach is an easy round-trip hike of only two miles where it’s impossible to get lost. Just keep one eye on the water and the other for bits of water-logged wood in the sand.
Most of the wrecks were driven by November gales into shallow water and then subsequently torn to pieces by waves and then ice. Search the sandy shore for pieces of white oak which are black when wet but white on the outside when they have a chance to dry out.
You can also identify shipwreck remnants by the cast iron hardware; spikes, rods, bolts and even rings, that are often still attached to the timber.
Once you find a piece, in the park brochure there is a drawing to help you identify what part of the ship you stumbled across and even has some tips of how to age it. Ships of the early 19th century had wooden pegs as well as iron pins while bolts and nuts usually indicate a later vessel.
If the water level is low enough, you don’t have to wander too far up the point to find a wreck. Within a quarter mile of the station is a large piece of the James McBride, a brig that sank in 1857, of which almost 60 feet of it has been exposed on and off for the past few years.
Standing on the shore, looking at the wreck just below the water while a cold wind batters the surf is enough to send shivers down the spine of any sailor or even landlubbers searching of shipwrecks.
Don’t miss the latest Sleeping Bear Dune shipwreck find that washed up on the beach just after the October 2010 super storm; experts speculate it is the remains of a wooden ship from the 1800′s. See spectacular photos of the October 2010 storm and the story behind the photos, by guest blogger Mark Lindsay.
For a complete description of the trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes go to MichiganTrailMaps.com.
Jim is the author of the popular book, “Backpacking in Michigan.”
Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
The cake is designed by Pink Cake Box.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore begins a year of celebration in honor of its 40th anniversary as a national park. On the morning of October 21, 2010 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore received a congratulatory tweet on Twitter from its sister national park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes are two of only four national parks that are designated as a “National Lakeshore.” Both parks are located in northern Michigan; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located in the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior while Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore lies on the western coast of the Lake Michigan in the northern Lower Peninsula.
That same morning, United States Senator, Carl Levin issued a press release congratulating everyone for four decades of park success. “For forty years, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has offered residents and visitors alike access to some of the finest sand dunes in the world next to the world’s premier fresh water.”
President Richard Nixon signed the bill that made Sleeping Bear Dunes a national lakeshore on October 21, 1970. The congressional bill stated, “That 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…, 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 US Congress not only wanted to preserve the natural landscape but to preserve historical towns, farmsteads, and orchards in a rural historic district.
The park was named Sleeping Bear after an Ojibwe Indian legend. The legend tells the story of a mother bear and her two cubs that escaped a forest fire in Wisconsin by swimming the waters of Lake Michigan. The mother bear made it to the Michigan shore, but the two cubs were overcome with exhaustion and drowned. The Manitou Islands mark the place where the two cubs died. The high sand dune on the mainland represents the mother bear that, to this day, overlooks the lake as she waits for her cubs to return. It is called “Sleeping Bear” because the mother, totally exhausted from her long swim, fell asleep waiting for her cubs to arrive.
The National Park Service has planned several 40th anniversary events throughout the year. Park employees, area residents and visitors gathered during the anniversary evening on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at the Picnic Mountain Overlook (overlook #3). They shared refreshments and viewed the natural beauty of the dunes, lakes and forests. It was a perfect night with clear skies and an almost full moon.
Blog by Ileana Habsburg-Snyder