National Lakeshore Improves Beach Access
Contact: Lee Jameson or Bruce Huffman, 231-326-5134
In cooperation with the Leelanau County Road Commission, the National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will begin to make improvements to beach access and parking at the ends of Leelanau County Roads 651 and 669 later this fall. The improvements include the installation of accessible parking spaces, pathways and picnic tables, additional paved parking, extended parking spaces for larger vehicles or trailers and easy unloading at each road ending. These improvements have been designed to improve vehicular circulation, reduce traffic congestion and provide better parking, emergency access and enhanced facilities at these popular Lake Michigan beaches.
After a comprehensive study analyzing traffic patterns and user impacts in these areas, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Leelanau County Road Commission have worked together to develop plans to improve the ends of County Roads 651 and 669. “This is a wonderful collaboration between federal and county governments that will benefit park visitors to these two great beaches. It will be especially helpful to those with disabilities,” said Park Superintendent Dusty Shultz.
At County Road 651, the project will include two handicapped accessible parking spaces near the beach with paths leading to a small picnic area. There will also be an accessible path leading to the existing vault toilet and water lines will be installed for a drinking fountain and a foot washing station. Parking spaces will be defined for 26 vehicles angled along both sides of the road, with two additional spots for oversized vehicles. A turning traffic circle at the end of the roadway will enhance access for emergency service vehicles and allow visitors to easily drop off and pick up passengers with beach gear. According to Shultz, similar improvements are planned for the County Road 669 road ending. “Recreation and preservation are fundamental elements of the National Lakeshore,” said Shultz. “These new amenities will allow people, especially those with disabilities, to recreate more easily at these popular National Lakeshore beaches, while still preserving and protecting the surrounding natural resources.”
For more information, contact the Lakeshore staff at (231) 326-5134.