Ice Caves No Longer Safe
The ice formations in Leelanau Township, north of the park, are no longer safe to visit. High winds have fractured the ice, moving it to the west. Huge cracks have formed in the cave arches, making them very unsafe and open water is now visible.
The 26 inland lakes within the Lakeshore play host to a number of freshwater plants. Both pond-lily and water-lily are commonly seen floating on the water surface in the shallow bays around the lakes. Fifteen different species of pondweeds can be found around the lakes and in the wetland areas. Cattails and bulrushes grow in the shallow waters and provide important nesting habitat for wetland birds and habitat areas for pond turtles and muskrats. Various manna and eel grasses, sedges, and rushes grow along the waters edge and help stabilize the beaches and toe slopes of steep banks. The endangered Michigan monkeyflower, a tiny aquatic plant with a beautiful yellow flower, is found at only a few remote sites along small seeps and springs and is carefully watched and protected. Efforts are underway to control invasive species such as purple loosestrife, non-native common reed (phragmites), Eurasian water-milfoil, and reed canarygrass before they can develop populations which replace the native freshwater plants.
Did You Know?
During the winter of 1870-71, 214 people lost their lives in shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, and congress established the US Life-Saving Service to conduct rescues from shore. This became the US Coast Guard in 1915. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes to see how these men lived and worked. More...