Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive will not open until Memorial Day Weekend
Changes to visitor service due to Sequestration. Due to mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts, some visitor services in this park have changed. Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive will not open until Memorial Day Weekend and will close after Labor Day. More »
Some restrooms and trash cans not available until Memorial Day
Changes to visitor service due to Sequestration. Other than those at the visitor center and campgrounds, restrooms and trash cans will not be available until Memorial Day Weekend and will close after Labor Day. This includes the Manitou Islands. More »
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Detects New Bird Die-Off
Contact: Chris Otto, 231-334-7685
Biologists at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are closely monitoring what appears to be a new botulism-related bird die-off along the park shoreline. Although the cause of the die-off has yet to be confirmed, all indications point toward a botulism Type E outbreak as the likely culprit. Through Wednesday afternoon, park biologists had located about 40 dead seagulls; however, the extent of the die-off is still being determined. Hundreds of carcasses of the non-native round goby fish, which are believed to carry the botulism toxin and transmit it to birds when eaten, are being found as well.
Lake Michigan beaches within the National Lakeshore remain safe for swimming and recreation, but park visitors should exercise caution upon encountering bird or fish carcasses. 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 the park should keep them away from dead animals on the beach. Pets may be poisoned if they eat dead birds or fish containing botulism toxin.
The National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes is currently undertaking a study of botulism Type E to determine whether there are any steps that can be taken to control outbreaks. Dead birds and fish are identified, counted, and buried when possible. Very freshly dead animals are collected for study and analysis. With limited staff and 65 miles of shoreline, not all carcasses will be removed immediately. If you are interested in volunteering to help monitor beaches during botulism outbreaks, please contact Chris Otto at 334-7685. It is important for the study that numbers, species, dates and locations are recorded. Please do not bury or remove carcasses without prior authorization from Resource Management staff at the park.
Did You Know?
There are 21 inland lakes within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Explore one of these small lakes for a close-up view of some of the birds, mammals, and wildflowers protected there. By the way, the fishing is usually great! More...