Natural Features & Ecosystems
Congress recognized the importance of the natural features of the Sleeping Bear Dunes area of Michigan in establishing the National Lakeshore in 1970. “Be it enacted…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 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.”
And so they are, recognized and preserved, and protected from development, forests and dunes, glacial features, lakes and streams, wetlands, Lake Michigan shoreline and islands. This is an effort because of constant threats, disturbances, past land use practices, increasing use and special interests, and pressures of outside growth and development.
Did You Know?
The lighthouse on South Manitou Island (Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore) was commissioned in 1872 and served Lake Michigan Shipping for over 100 years. You can take a tour of the lighthouse and climb its 117 step circular stairway to a great view of the Manitou Passage. More...