Superintendent's Compendium

text: Approved Scott Tucker, Digitally signed by Scott Tucker, Date: 2023.04.03 08:35:29-04'00' Scott Tucker, Superintendent"

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Superintendent’s Compendium Of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630

231.326.4700 phone 231.326.4719 fax

Approved 04/03/2023
Scott Tucker, Superintendent



Superintendent’s Compendium Described

The Superintendent’s Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR). It serves as public notice, identifies areas closed for public use, provides a list of activities requiring either a Special Use Permit or reservation, and elaborates on public use and resource protection regulations pertaining specifically to the administration of the park. The Superintendent’s Compendium does not repeat regulations found in 36 CFR and other United States Code and CFR Titles, which are enforced without further elaboration at the park level.

The regulations contained in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, are the basic mechanism used by the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the park and to protect visitors and property within the park. Parts 1 through 6 are general regulations applicable to all areas of the National Park System, and Part 7 contains special regulations specific to individual parks. Each of these Parts has many sections and subsections articulating specific provisions. Within some of these Part 1-7 sections and subsections, the Superintendent is granted discretionary authority to develop local rules to be responsive to the needs of a specific park resource or activity, park plan, program, and/or special needs of the general public.

As an example, 36 CFR 1.5(a) Closures and Public Use Limits provides the Superintendent certain discretion in allowing or disallowing certain activities. The authority granted by the Section, however, requires the Superintendent to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (6 USC Section 551), which requires public notice on actions with major impact on visitor use patterns, park resources or those that are highly controversial in nature.

Another example is 36 CFR 1.6 Permits, which allows the Superintendent to require a permit for certain uses and activities in the park. This Section, however, requires that a list of activities needing a permit (and a fee schedule for the various types of permits) be maintained by the park.

A final example is 36 CFR 2.1(c) (1) Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archeological Resources, which provides the Superintendent the authority to designate certain fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption. This activity can occur, however, only if a written determination shows that the allowed activity does not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

This Compendium should be used in conjunction with Title 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, to more fully understand the regulations governing the use and enjoyment of all the areas of the National Park System.

A copy of Title 36 CFR can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office at

Superintendent of Documents
P.O. Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954

The CFR is also available on the Internet at


Laws and Policies Allowing the Superintendent to Develop this Compendium

In 2014, Congress enacted Title 54- National Park Service and Related Programs to clarify its intentions as to the overall mission of the NPS. Title 54 conforms to the understood policy, intent, and purpose of the Congress in the original enactments or the laws governing the National Park Service.

By signing Title 54 into law, several previous laws that existed under Title 16 were repealed, including the National Park Service Organic Act, the National Park System General Authorities Act, the Historic Preservation Act, etc.

The National Park Service (NPS) is granted broad statutory authority under 54 United States Code (U.S.C.) to:

promote and regulate the use of the National Park System by means and measures that conform to the fundamental purpose of the System units, which purpose is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in the System units and to provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. ((54 U.S.C. 100101(a)).

In addition 54 U.S.C. 100751(a) allows the NPS, through the Secretary of the Interior, to prescribe such regulations as the Secretary considers necessary or proper for the use and management of System units.

54 U.S.C. 100101(b) reaffirms the original intent of Congress in the establishment of the National Park Service by recognizing “…these areas, though distinct in character, are united through their interrelated purposes and resources into one National Park System as cumulative expressions of a single national heritage...

54 U.S.C. 100101(2) reaffirms the high standard of protection defined in the original Organic Act by stating “Congress reaffirms, declares, and directs that the promotion and regulation of the various System units shall be consistent with and founded in the purpose established by subsection (a), to the common benefit of all the people of the United States.

54 U.S.C. 100501 defines the National Park System as “… any area of land and water administered by the Secretary, acting through the Director, for park, monument, historic, parkway, recreational, or other purposes.

In addition to the above statutory authority, the Superintendent is guided by established NPS policy as found in the NPS Management Policies (2006). The Superintendent is also guided by more specific policies promulgated by the Director, National Park Service, in the form of Director Orders. As stated in the Management Policies, the primary responsibility of the NPS is to protect and preserve our national natural and cultural resources while providing for the enjoyment of these resources by visitor and other users, as long as use does not impair specific park resources or overall visitor experience.

The appropriateness of any particular visitor use or recreational experience is resource-based and will vary from park to park; therefore, a use or activity that is appropriate in one park area may not be appropriate in another.

The Superintendent is directed to analyze overall park use and determine if any particular use is appropriate. Where conflict arises between use and resource protection, where the Superintendent has a reasonable basis to believe a resource is or would become impaired, then that Superintendent is obliged to place limitations on public use.


Consistency of This Compendium with Applicable Federal Law and Requirements

The Superintendent’s Compendium is not considered a significant rule requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. In addition, this Compendium will not have a significant economic effect on a number of small entities nor impose a significant cost on any local, state or tribal government or private organization, and therefore does not fall under the requirements of either the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

The actions and requirements described in this Compendium are found to be categorically excluded from further compliance with the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in Department of the Interior (DOI) Guidelines 516 DM 6 and as such, an Environmental Assessment will not be prepared.


Development of the Requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium

As outlined above, the NPS has broad authority and responsibility to determine what types of uses and activities are appropriate in any particular National Park System area. The requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium are developed through an analysis and determination process. The decision criteria used during this process are:

Is the use or activity consistent with Title 54 and NPS policy?

Is the use or activity consistent and compatible with the park’s enabling legislation, management objectives, and corresponding management plans?

Will the use or activity damage the park’s protected natural and cultural resources and other protected values?

Will the use or activity disturb or be in conflict with wildlife, vegetation, and environmental protection actions and values?

Will the use or activity conflict with or be incompatible with traditional park uses and activities?

Will the use or activity compromise employee or public safety?

Applicability of the Compendium

The rules contained in this Compendium apply to all persons entering, using, visiting or otherwise present on Federally owned lands, including submerged lands and waters administered by the NPS within the legislative boundaries of the park. This includes all waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all navigable waters.

Enforcement of Compendium Requirements

NPS Law Enforcement Park Rangers enforce the requirements of the United State Code, 36 CFR, and this Superintendent’s Compendium.

Penalties for Not Adhering to the Compendium Requirements

A person who violates any provision of the regulations found in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, or provisions of this Compendium, is subject to a fine as provided by law (18 U.S.C. 3571) up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months (18 U.S.C. 3559), or both, and shall be adjudged to pay all court costs associated with any court proceedings. You may receive a list of fines associated with any particular provision by contacting the Chief Ranger at the park address found below.

Comments on the Compendium

The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its program and activities at any time.

Written comments on the Compendium may be submitted to:

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630

Effective Date of the Superintendent Compendium

The Superintendent’s Compendium is effective on the approval date listed on the first page of this document, and remains in effect until revised.

Additional Information

Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4 Definitions.


Copies of the Compendium are available at the park Visitor Center, located in Empire, Michigan. It may also be found at the park’s website at

CCTV Policy Statement

In accordance with National Park Service (NPS) Law Enforcement Reference Manual 9 (RM-9), notice is hereby given that Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore uses Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security camera monitoring.
The NPS’s use of CCTV is for law enforcement and security purposes and will only be used to visually monitor public park areas and public activities where no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy exists. Such CCTV use – which will have adequate privacy and First Amendment safeguards – will be to help ensure public safety and security; facilitate the detection, investigation, prevention, and deterrence of terrorist activity; help ensure the safety of citizens and officers; help assist in the proper allocation and deployment of law enforcement and public safety resources; and help facilitate the protection of the innocent and the apprehension and prosecution of criminals.
This policy does not restrict the official use of CCTV in government administrative areas, including administrative buildings, jail holding facilities, revenue collection sites, etc., where the government may record/monitor its facilities. For example, the government may perform unrestricted video/audio recording at revenue collection points (entrance stations, visitor center counters, etc.). This policy does not restrict the use of an Audio/Visual Recording Device (AVRD) in patrol vehicles or officer-worn recording devices used by commissioned rangers.
Operation of CCTV cameras will be in accordance with NPS and Department policy. No person will be targeted or monitored merely because of race, religion, gender, sex, disability, national origin, or political affiliation or views.
Nothing in this policy statement is intended to create any rights, privileges, or benefits not otherwise recognized by law.



In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 54 U.S.C. 100751, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.

Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent’s use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 1.5(c), appear in this document identified by italicized print.

Nothing in this Compendium or its implementation is intended to modify, abrogate or otherwise adversely affect tribal reserved or treaty-guaranteed rights applicable within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. These rights include hunting and fishing. Accordingly, exceptions to the following regulatory provisions may involve the tribal exercise of treaty rights, including the use of weapons and nets as authorized by the treaty, the Inland Consent Decree of 2007, and the applicable Tribal Conservation Code.



Public Use Limits:

From May 1 through October 31 glass containers are prohibited at the Dune Climb.
From May 1 through October 31 glass containers are prohibited on the shoreline and surface waters of the following lakes, rivers and creeks.
Benzie County
Bass Lake
Loon Lake
Otter Lake
Otter Creek
Platte River
Round Lake
Lake Michigan Shoreline

Leelanau County
Bass Lake
Crystal River
School Lake
Shalda Creek
Shell Lake
Narada Lake
North Bar Lake
Tucker Lake
Lake Michigan Shoreline

Determination: The Superintendent has determined glass containers are prohibited on swimming beaches, lakes and other shorelines and at the Dune Climb in order to prevent the potential for injuries from barefoot visitors stepping on broken glass. The waterways of the park are used by swimmers and other water enthusiasts who are usually barefooted. Broken glass has caused serious injuries over the years. When glass is broken, the glass shards are difficult to clean up. It is almost always left buried in the sand or mud and presents a safety hazard. Glass containers are allowed in all developed campsites and picnic sites as well as in vehicles, on designated roads and parking areas. The Dune Climb has historically been closed to glass containers due to the high number of visitors who are barefoot in this large dune area.


All public use in any area closed by the Superintendent and identified with an official sign as closed is prohibited.

  • The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic each year when there is limited maintenance staff, visitation, and/or lack of funds. It will also be closed when weather conditions make travel hazardous for motor vehicles.
  • Park campgrounds, or sections of park campgrounds, may be closed when there is limited maintenance staff, low visitation, or lack of funds to allow for re-vegetation and recovery, or weather. In addition, areas may be temporarily closed for a variety of reasons, including site restoration, protection of at-risk endangered or threatened animal and plant species, and protection of fragile cultural and historic sites.
  • For the protection of fragile dune vegetation such as dune grass, activities other than walking, such as sports and games or sunbathing are prohibited on vegetated areas of sand dunes.
  • Entry into any posted closed or rehabilitation area located anywhere in the park is prohibited.
  • The possession of firewood not originating from North and South Manitou Island is prohibited to prevent the spread of invasive pests and diseases.
  • The following areas are closed to entry and visitor use for the protection and rehabilitation of fragile dune grasses and sand dune formations:
    • The area behind the posted closure signs between North Bar Lake and Lake Michigan.
    • Entry into the Empire Park Maintenance area is limited to NPS and FAA employees and their authorized agents, and delivery and service personnel for the above listed agencies.
    • Only authorized personnel are allowed to fire weapons on the park Firearms Range.
    • Climbing upon the shipwreck Francisco Morazan is prohibited.
    • The South Manitou Island dock is closed to all private vessels.
    • The following areas are closed to swimming:
      • From public docks on the Manitou Islands.
      • Between Lake Michigan Road launch ramp and the downstream limit of dredged area at the mouth of Platte River while boat channel dredge is on site.
      • Diving from the shipwreck Francisco Morazan is prohibited
  • Unmanned Aircraft
    • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service (NPS) within the boundaries of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
    • Definition: The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links.) This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, and drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.
    • Determination: Pursuant to Policy Memorandum 14-05 issued on June 19, 2014, by NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, this interim policy is necessary to maintain public health and safety in units of the National Park System and to protect park resources and values until the NPS can determine whether specific uses of unmanned aircraft on land and waters administered by the NPS are appropriate and will not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources and values.
    • The use of unmanned aircraft within the boundaries of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has the potential to harm visitors, disturb wildlife, impact view sheds, cause excessive noise, and interfere with other visitors' enjoyment of the area. A less restrictive approach is not appropriate at this time due to the impacts the devices could potentially present to visitor safety, park values, and to park resources. The interim closure will safeguard these values while the NPS considers how to address this new use on a long-term basis.

(a)(2) The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity, under the conditions and/or restrictions as noted:


Hunting is allowed in accordance with Michigan State laws and regulations, and with certain restrictions listed below.

The following park facilities are closed to hunting, which includes a 450 foot (137 meter) safety zone.

The safety zone is defined as the area beginning at the edge or exterior boundary of any road, site or development and extending outward for 450 feet (137 meters).

Platte River Campground

D. H. Day Campground

White Pine Backcountry campsites

Group Campground near Dune Climb

Dune Climb

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (when open to traffic)

Glen Lake Picnic Area

Good Harbor Picnic Area

Village area on North Manitou Island

Village Campground on North Manitou Island

Campgrounds on South Manitou Island: Weather Station, Bay and Popple

Village area on South Manitou Island

Ground blinds may be built with natural dead and downed material, but must be dismantled within seven days of the close of the hunting season. When dismantling ground blinds, the area must be returned to its natural setting.

Determination: No hunting safety zones are established to protect areas where high concentrations of visitors are common, thereby improving public safety.


In accordance with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Act. (P.L. 91-479), The Wilderness Act of 1964, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act. (P.L. 113-87), and subject to existing state, county, township and private rights, the use of mechanized equipment, motor vehicles, motor boats, wheeled devices and the landing of aircraft in the Wilderness areas is prohibited (except as necessary to meet minimum National Park Service administrative requirements and/or emergency situations).

Maps showing the Wilderness areas of the park are available at park headquarters in Empire, Michigan.

The following restrictions and/or conditions are in effect for the specific uses or activities noted:

Bus idling is prohibited except while loading or unloading passengers.

Determination: The idling of bus engines adds unnecessary exhaust fumes to the air and diminishes the enjoyment by visitors of the peace and tranquility of the park.


The following lakes are in Wilderness and/or are not accessible by road and are closed to the use of all power-driven vessels:

Leelanau County

Florence Lake (South Manitou Island)

Hidden Lake

Lake Manitou (North Manitou Island)

Shell Lake

Tamarack Lake (North Manitou Island)

The following lakes are closed to power-driven vessels from April 1 through October 31 and are limited to two-horsepower motors the rest of the year:
Benzie County

Bass Lake

Deer Lake

Mud Lake

Otter Lake (Electric motors are permitted year round)

Round Lake

Leelanau County

Bass Lake (Electric motors are permitted year round)

Narada Lake

North Bar Lake<

Tucker Lake (Electric motors are permitted year round)

Vessels may not create a wake or exceed 5 mph in the following areas:

Benzie County

Loon Lake

Platte River

Leelanau County

School Lake

Crystal River

Determination: The lakes where boats are limited to two-horsepower motors are to provide for natural quiet and reduce visitor impact as specified in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore General Management Plan Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement of 2009. These lakes are in the “Experience Nature Zone” where visitors can experience a more natural setting. No-wake zones are designated to provide for public safety and to help reduce shoreline erosion caused by boat wakes.

The temporary mooring of private boats to National Park Service docks located on the Manitou Islands is limited to thirty minutes from May 1st through November 20th.

The temporary mooring of private boats to National Park Service docks located on the Manitou Islands is limited to thirty minutes from May 1 through November 20. Mooring of private boats shall not interfere with Manitou Island Transit and National Park Service operations to ensure visitor and employee safety.

Determination: Temporary access to the docks located on the Manitou Islands is necessary to allow for unloading passengers and gear but must be restricted in time and priority due to limited space and overriding operational priorities of the National Park Service to ensure visitor and employee safety.

The temporary mooring of private boats to the Platte River Picnic Area boardwalk, and to the Loon Lake dock is limited to one hour.

Determination: Restrictions to the temporary mooring of private boats at the Platte River Picnic Area boardwalk and Loon Lake dock is due to the high volume of visitation and congestion that limits safe access to launch sites.

The mooring of vessels to the shipwreck Francisco Morazan is prohibited.

Determination: Due to the deteriorated condition of the Francisco Morazan and the distance to emergency care, the shipwreck is hazardous. The mooring of vessels to the wreck poses a risk to visitors who might be injured while trying to tie to or climb upon the rusting hull of the Francisco Morazan.

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

The use of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) will be subject to the same restrictions as tobacco smoking. ENDS use will not be allowed in any indoor and outdoor area where smoking is prohibited.

Definition: The term Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems or ENDS encompasses all forms of vaping, the process of inhaling vaporized nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals with a battery-powered device. Electronic or e-cigarettes are a type of ENDS.

Determination: Pursuant to Policy Memorandum 15-03 issued on September 10, 2015 by NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, this interim policy is necessary to maintain public health and safety in units of the National Park System.

Current research indicates that vaping aerosols have at least some level of risk for nearby people in areas with limited ventilation and people with compromised health conditions. Available published studies evaluating the potential hazardous effects of the natural and/or synthetic chemicals used in ENDS indicate that potential health effects exist for users and those exposed secondhand.

The Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently analyzed the ingredients in a sample of cartridges from two leading brands of ENDS, and found the devices emitted (1) tobacco-specific nitrosamines (a human carcinogen), and (2) diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans.

Skis, Snowboards, Sleds, or Similar Equipment

The use of skis, snowboards, sleds, toboggans, saucer sleds, inflatable tubes or similar equipment on sand dunes is prohibited except when snow covered.

At the Dune Climb, the use of skis, snowboards, sleds, toboggans, saucer sleds, inflatable tubes or similar equipment is restricted to use within the designated snow covered area.

Determination: It is recognized that the use of skis, snowboards, sleds, toboggans, saucer sleds, inflatable tubes or similar equipment on sand dunes has an effect on dune areas by impacting sensitive vegetation, causing soil compaction and erosion.

The uses of such devices poses a visitor use conflict when areas are not covered by snow and are hazardous to the public in high use areas.

During winter months when the dune areas are covered in snow the use of such devices are in line with the recreational activities of visitors and has a reduced impact on the resource.

Activity is restricted within a designated area at the Dune Climb because of the high volume of visitor use and to restrict visitor use outside of areas susceptible to snow avalanches.


NPS regulations define e-bikes at 36 CFR 1.4 as: a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of not more than 750 watts that meets the requirements of one of the following three classes:

  1. “Class 1 electric bicycle” shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
  2. “Class 2 electric bicycle” shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
  3. “Class 3 electric bicycle” shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.

This definition is similar to the definition of “low-speed electric bicycle” in the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2085) and the definition of “electric bicycle” in the laws governing the Federal Aid Highway Program (23 U.S.C. 217(j)(2)), except that the NPS’s definition:

  • Does not identify a maximum e-bike weight;
  • Includes e-bikes with motors no more than 750 watts; and
  • Describes three classes based upon the type of electric assistance and the top assisted speed.
    Class 1 E-bike: pedal bike; top assisted speed, 20mph
    Class 2 E-bike: throttle bike; top assisted speed, 20 mph
    Class 3 Ebike: pedal bike; top assisted speed, 28 mph

E-bikes are allowed in Sleeping Bear Dunes NL where traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.

A person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4 that apply to the use of traditional bicycles: sections 4.12, 4.13, 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23, and 4.30(i).

Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within Sleeping Bear Dunes NL is governed by State law, which is adopted and made a part of this Compendium. Any violation of State law adopted by this paragraph is prohibited.

Determination: Pursuant to Policy Memorandum “Electric Bicycle Literature Review”issued on August 13, 2021 by Deputy Director, Operations Shawn Benge, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, the decision to allow e-bikes in Sleeping Bear Dunes NL has been re-reviewed and deemed appropriate.

E-bikes advance Healthy Parks Healthy People goals to promote parks as a health resource by supporting a healthy park experience that is accessible, desirable, and relatable to people of all abilities, and by minimizing human impact through the expansion of active transportation options in parks.

COVID-19 Mask Requirement

Mask Wearing When the COVID-19 Community Level is LOW or MEDIUM in Benzie or Leelanau Counties based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals are not required to wear masks. When the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH in Benzie or Leelanau Counties based on data provided by the CDC, all individuals over the age of two must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, in all common areas and shared workspaces in buildings owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants. When the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH in Benzie or Leelanau Counties, but not all, based on data provided by the CDC, the Superintendent will determine whether individuals are required to wear masks.

The requirement, if any, will apply to all facilities within the park. Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement. Regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level, individuals may wear masks if they choose to do so.

Where a state, local, tribal, or territorial government where the park is located imposes more protective mask-wearing requirements than those indicated by the COVID-19 Community Level, individuals must follow those more protective requirements within the park. More protective state, local, tribal, or territorial mask-wearing requirements are hereby adopted as federal requirements in all units of the National Park System located within that state, locality, area subject to a federally recognized Indian tribe’s regulatory jurisdiction, or territory, regardless of a particular park’s jurisdictional status.

Additionally, all individuals must wear masks in or on public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs/facilities, to the extent required by current orders or directives issued by the CDC, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or other federal agencies with jurisdiction over those conveyances or areas.



(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the Superintendent is required. Engaging in any of the listed activities without a permit is prohibited.

§1.5(d) The following activities originating and/or terminating within the park boundary require a written Special Use Permit:

Special Use Permits 36 CFR Section
Deer hunt - North Manitou Island; 36 CFR Section 2.2
Research specimen collection; 36 CFR Section 2.5
Camping/Backcountry use; 36 CFR Section 2.10
Ice auger or power engine; 36 CFR Section 2.12(a)(3)
Recreation User Fee; 36 CFR Section 2.23
Soliciting; 36 CFR Section 2.37
Special events*; 36 CFR Section 2.50 (*includes flying of radio-controlled gliders)
Public assembly; 36 CFR Section 2.51
Sale of printed material; 36 CFR Section 2.52
Scattering of human ashes; 36 CFR Section 2.62(b)
Powerless Flight; 36 CFR Section7.80(a)

Commercial Permits 36 CFR Section
Load, weight, and size limits*; 36 CFR Section 4.11 (*house movers)
Commercial activities; 36 CFR Section 5.1- 5.14
Business operations; 36 CFR Section 5.3
Commercial vehicles; 36 CFR Section 5.6
Construction of buildings/facilities; 36 CFR Section 5.7




(a)(4) Dead wood on the ground, including driftwood, may be collected for use as fuel for campfires within the park.

Wood found in all dune ghost forest areas is to be left undisturbed.

Dead and down scrap wood that is a result of official right-of-way cutting activities or of authorized park tree removal projects may be removed from within road rights-of-way for use outside the park.

(c)(1), (c)(2) The following fruits, nuts, and berries may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:

Apples: one bu./35 liters
Apricots: one gal./4 liters
Asparagus: one gal./4 liters
Blackberries: one gal./4 liters
Black walnuts: one gal./4 liters
Blueberries: one gal./4 liters
Chokecherries: one gal./4 liters
Elderberries: one gal./4 liters
Serviceberries: one gal./4 liters
Edible Mushrooms (Fruiting bodies only): one gal./4 liters
Pears: one bu./35 liters
Plums: one gal./4 liters
Raspberries: one gal./4 liters
Rhubarb: one gal./4 liters
Rose hips: one gal./4 liters
Sand cherries: one gal./4 liters
Peaches: one gal./4 liters
Strawberries: one gal./4 liters
Grapes: one gal./4 liters

The collection of wildflowers is prohibited.

Determination: Collection of small amounts of these items will not adversely affect the park wildlife, the reproduction potential of these species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

A mushroom is specifically defined as "the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus." The intent of allowing mushroom collection is that the collection of these fruiting bodies is akin to the collection of fruit from a tree or shrub.

The collection of the vegetative body (mycelium) or dead sterile portions that form from a fruiting body of a mushroom is prohibited.



(b)(3) Trapping is prohibited.

(d) The transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is permitted under the following conditions and procedures:

The harvested animal must be tagged and transported in accordance with state law.

36 CFR §2.3 - FISHING

(a) Fishing in the park is allowed in accordance with applicable Federal and state laws and regulations as authorized by §7.80(b), with the following special condition:

(d)(8) Fishing is permitted from the public docks on the Manitou Islands, Loon Lake, and Bass Lake (Benzie County) providing it does not interfere with the safe and orderly landing of vessels or the safe and orderly management of other authorized activities.

36 CFR §2.10 - CAMPING

(a) Permits are required for all camping; special conditions for camping as follows:

Camping is allowed only at designated locations on the mainland and on South Manitou Island.

On North Manitou Island, camping is allowed island-wide using Wilderness camping techniques which include: using a compact gas/alcohol cooking stove, pack out of all trash, no tent trenching, and other minimum impact methods.

There is a camping limit of 14 total calendar days per designated campground for all individuals camping within the National Lakeshore from Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Camping equipment may not remain in place on a site beyond the 14 day stay limit, even if used by a different person or group.

Benches and picnic tables are not to be moved out of the campsite or to/from community fire ring areas.

No Hazardous waste, flammable or combustible materials, or propane tanks may be disposed of in refuse receptacles.

Generator use is prohibited in the Platte River Campground.

Generator use is prohibited in all D. H. Day Campground sites, EXCEPT sites 1 through 31 and is only allowed between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at those sites.

D. H. Day and Platte River Campground campers must register upon arrival. Checkout time is 12:00 p.m. (noon) and Check-in time is 2:00 p.m.

South Manitou Island campers must vacate their campsite on the day of their departure by 11:30 a.m. to allow incoming campers optimum campsite selection.

Campground size/use limits are as follows:

D. H. Day
No more than six persons may occupy a site. Only one truck camper or one camper trailer, or one motor home is allowed on each site. Tents must stay inside pads.

No more than two passenger vehicles, OR four motorcycles are allowed per site.

Platte River
No more than six persons may occupy a site. Only one truck camper or one camper trailer or one motor home are allowed on each site and must stay on paved surfaces. Tents must stay inside pads.

Mainland Group Sites
Limited to 7-25 people per site. Tent camping only.

White Pine
2 tents/site. No more than 4 people per site.

South Manitou Island
Bay, Weather, Station & Popple Campgrounds
2 tents/site. No more than 4 people per site.
Group Sites at Bay & Weather
Limited to 9-20 persons/site and a maximum of 10 tents/site.

North Manitou Island
Village Campground
2 tents/site. No more than 4 people per site.

Backcountry Camping
2 tents/permit. No more than 4 people per permit.

Group backcountry camping on North Manitou Island is limited to 10 persons per permit.

On North Manitou Island, camping is prohibited at the following locations:

In the 27 acre (11 hectare) village. Within 300 feet (90 meters) of water resources such as lakes, ponds and streams.

Within 300 feet (90 meters) of the Lake Michigan high water mark, Lake Manitou and Tamarack, other campsites, and buildings, including historic farm structures.

Camping is prohibited on any trail.

(d) Food Storage:

To ensure the safety of people, bears, and other wildlife, food, drinks, ice chest/coolers, toiletries, trash/recyclables, scented items and other items as identified in food storage information provided at registration must be kept sealed in a vehicle, RV, food storage locker, animal proof trash can, or dumpster.

This restriction does not apply to food that is being transported, consumed, or prepared for consumption or other listed items when in use.

Campers visiting North or South Manitou Islands must properly store food, garbage, and scented items in a manner that prevents access by animals.


(a)(3) Pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit, operation of an ice auger or power engine is authorized on the frozen surface of designated lakes for the specific purpose of cutting through the ice surface to provide access for legal ice fishing activity.

Ice auger means a portable gasoline, propane or electric powered engine connected to a rotating helical shaft for boring through the frozen surface of a lake.

Power engine means a mobile gasoline, propane or electric powered engine or device connected to a rotating saw blade or teeth linked in an endless chain for cutting through the frozen surface of a lake.

The following lakes are designated for use of an ice auger or power engine as defined with a free permit obtained at the visitor center in Empire.

Benzie County
Lake Michigan
Loon Lake

Leelanau County
Lake Michigan
School Lake
Bass Lake
Tucker Lake

36 CFR §2.13 - FIRES

(a) Open fires, including charcoal fires, may be lit and maintained only at the following locations:

Campground grills - individual and community type grills installed expressly for open fires.

Any mainland public Lake Michigan beach area between the edge of the water and the toe of the first dune.

All open fires on the Manitou Islands must be contained in a fire ring or grill installed by the National Park Service for this purpose. On South Manitou Island, these are located in the campgrounds and in the Bay area, on the beach. On North Manitou Island, these are located in the Village Campground.

Picnic sites - fire ring or grill.

Wood burning stoves are prohibited, except inside tents or shelters during the North Manitou Island deer hunt.

Hanging lanterns on or against trees is prohibited.

The use of kerosene, gas-fueled or alcohol-fueled lanterns or stoves, candles or other such devices are prohibited on the porch of, and within the D. H. Day Campground Log Cabin.

(b) All fires must be extinguished with water -- NOT BURIED.


(b Where toilet facilities are not provided, human waste will be disposed of in a shallow hole at least six inches (15 centimeters) deep, and covered with earth.

36 CFR §2.15 - PETS

Visit the Pets in the Park page for the most up-to-date details on visiting with your pet.
(a) Pets are generally permitted within the National Lakeshore EXCEPT in the following areas where they are prohibited:

Dune section of the Dune Climb and within the designated winter activities area when posted.

Sleeping Bear Point Trail during the periods of April 15 through August 15 unless otherwise designated by the Superintendent.

White Pine backcountry campsites.

All Group campsites. North and South Manitou Island. All pets, including hunting dogs.

Beach from County Road 669 access east to County Road 651 access.

Beach just south of the North Bar Lake outlet to the Maritime Museum, including the Maritime Museum grounds.

Beach from Peterson beach access north to Esch beach access.

Beach from the southern-most park boundary north to Old Railroad Grade Trail/Platte Campground Trail.

Any other areas where “NO PETS” signs are posted after a determination by the Superintendent that a specific conflict exists requiring such a closure.

Pets are prohibited at the following designated cross-country ski trails during the periods of December 1 through March 31:

Alligator Hill
Bay View
Good Harbor Bay
Old Indian
Platte Plains Trail System (Including Bass Lake, Otter Creek, and Lasso Loop Trails)
Scenic Drive Ski Trail (Seasonal Trail System)
Shauger Hill
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
Windy Moraine
Kettles Trail

(5) Pet excrement will be cleaned up and disposed of in trash receptacles by pet owner.

(b) Hunting dogs are not considered pets when used in conjunction with authorized hunting activities during the mainland firearms seasons set by the State of Michigan. Training of hunting dogs in the park is prohibited.

Provisions of this section do not apply to service animals. Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals.


(a) At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Alligator Hill Trail system is the only area designated for use by horses. Horses may be used on the Alligator Hill Trail System from April 1 to November 30.

Horses may be used on the county road rights-of-way, but may not be used outside of the county road rights-of-way.


The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a designated area for the use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles and/or similar devices.

Determination: The use of skates, skateboards and similar devices on the hard-surfaced Heritage Trail will not adversely affect park resources. These devices are not allowed to be ridden outside of the multi-use Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, to prevent safety issues that might occur with motor vehicle traffic.

36 CFR §2.21 - SMOKING

(a) Smoking is prohibited as follows:

In all National Park Service buildings open to the public, including offices, workspace, storage areas, and other facilities, and all historic structures, including those used as quarters.

Within 25 feet of public buildings, pavilions and restrooms.

Within 25 feet of any entrance or exit not generally accessed by the public, where smoking would result in smoke traveling through doorways, windows, air ducts or other openings.

At locations posted as no smoking areas.

This prohibition also applies to the use of electronic cigarettes (See 36 CFR § 1.5, Closures).

Determination: The health and wellbeing of its employees and visitors is of utmost importance to the National Park Service, as is the protection of its cultural and natural resources. Tobacco smoking has long been recognized as a major cause of death and disease. The health risks affect not only those who smoke, but also those who are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), commonly known as "secondhand" smoke. ETS has been designated a Class A carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Even when insufficient to cause cancer, ETS exposure can pose other health hazards for non-smokers, such as allergic reactions. It can also be a source of discomfort and annoyance.


(b) Recreation fees, and/or a permit, in accordance with 36 CFR, Part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:

A Park Pass is required for using any park lands or facilities withinSleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. For additional information on applicable fees visit

Camping Fees apply throughout the Lakeshore. For information onfees visit


The following areas are designated for First Amendment and printed material distribution areas. These areas may be occupied by groups of 25 or fewer persons without a permit consistent with 36 CFR 2.51 and 2.52. However, there are exceptions, and even when not required, a permit is recommended in order to ensure space will be available at a particular site:

Dune Climb: Permittee(s) may circulate between the curb of the parking lot and the toe of the dune. All visitor contacts are to be at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) from any building and the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. (Leelanau County)

Glen Lake Picnic Area: Permittee(s) may circulate between the curb of the parking lot and the water's edge. All visitor contacts are to be at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) from any building. (Leelanau County

NPS South Parking Lot at the end of Lake Michigan Road

Permittee(s) may circulate within the edge of the curb of the parking lot. All visitor contacts are to be at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) from any building. (Benzie County)



The following areas are closed to swimming and wading.

  • From public docks on the Manitou Islands.
  • Diving from the shipwreck Francisco Morazan is prohibited.


The following areas are designated launch sites by the superintendent.

Benzie County
Bass Lake- Hand Launch Only
Loon Lake
Otter Lake
Platte River - Platte Picnic Area Launch- Hand Launch Only
Platte River - Fish Weir
Platte River - El Dorado Park Launch
Platte River - Platte Point
Round Lake

Leelanau County
Bass Lake
Crystal River
School Lake
Shalda Creek
North Bar Lake
Tucker Lake
Florence Lake- Hand Launch Only
Lake Manitou- Hand Launch Only

County Roads
Esch Road 610
County Road 669
County Road 651

Unless specified above the Lake Michigan Shoreline and other unspecified water sites accessible to the publicn - hand launch only

Additional restrictions on launching or recovery of a vessel apply at specific locations and signs are posted.



Self-balancing electric personal transportation devices, and electric scooters, are allowed to operate on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail for the purpose of providing disability access, as long as they have a noise making device attached to allow for an audible warning to pedestrians and others using the trail.

Track-laying motor vehicles may be used to remove excess buildings from park land only after a plan has been submitted and approved by the superintendent.


(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:

The speed limit on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is 20 mph (32 kph) and is posted.

The speed limit in Platte River and D.H. Day Campground is 10 mph (16 kph) and is posted.

36 CFR §4.30 - BICYCLES

Bicycle use is permitted on park roads, parking areas, and on the following designated routes:

The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive bicycle route will follow the right edge of the roadway surface delineated by white stripping, between ½ hour before Sunrise and ½ hour after Sunset.

Bicycles are prohibited on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive during the period of December 1 through March 31 when designated as a cross-country ski trail.

Completed sections of the multi-use Heritage Trail, between ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset.

Electric personal assistive mobility devices and electric-assist bicycles may be used on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive bicycle route, the completed sections of the multi-use Heritage Trail, park roads and parking lots.

Bicycle riders on the multi-use Heritage Trail shall yield to other riders and users on the trail to allow easy passage.

Bicycles must be operated at speeds reasonable for existing conditions.

Motor vehicles, ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles and other motorized transportation vehicles are prohibited on the multi-use Heritage Trail.

Determination: The use of bicycles on park roads, parking lots and on the hard-surfaced Heritage Trail will not adversely affect park resources. Bicycles are not allowed to be ridden


Powerless flight activity requires a permit (reference §1.6), and it will be allowed from the following designated and signed areas:

Empire Bluff
Pyramid Point
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (Lake Michigan Overlook)
Dune Climb (Between November 1 and March 31 only)

Powerless flight activity is only approved for hang gliding and paragliding. Hot air ballooning is prohibited.

A map of the Dune Climb Area. A section on the west side of the Dune Climb parking lot is marked in grey. A section south of the Glen Lake Picnic Area is marked in grey. These area are the first amendment areas. There is a smaller inset map of the park.
The areas shaded in grey are the Designated First Amendment Areas.

NPS Graphic/Emily Sunblade

A map of the terminus of Lake Michigan Road including parking lots and boat launch. A section south of the road in the south parking lot is marked in grey. This is the first amendment area. There is a smaller inset map of the park.
The area shaded in grey is the Designated First Amendment Area.

NPS Graphic/Emily Sunblade

Last updated: July 28, 2023

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9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630


231 326-4700

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