News Release

Sleeping Bear Dunes Celebrates 50th Anniversary in 2020

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Date: December 17, 2019

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) is commemorating its first 50 years by sharing a year-long celebration in 2020. During this year, the National Lakeshore hopes to thank those who have played a pivotal role in making the park what it is today, invite new connections and support to shape its future, and showcase the magnificence of what makes the park so special. 

As the new year approaches, there is a lot in store from the release of the National Lakeshore’s first mobile app to monthly special events, incredible social media content, and a 50th anniversary park pass, just to name a few. The National Lakeshore is planning a year of honoring the past, celebrating today, and planning for the future. “The story of Sleeping Bear Dunes is not finished. We are excited to engage with the community as we look forward to the next 50 years,” said Superintendent Scott Tucker. 

Kick-off Event
There's a park party and you are invited. The National Lakeshore’s 50th anniversary activities start with a kick-off celebration on Saturday, January 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Dune Climb. Join park rangers and volunteers from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Historic Sleeping Bear for a “Hibernation Celebration” full of fun winter activities. Build a snow sculpture, sled down the dunes (remember to BYOS (Bring Your Own Sled)), try snowball target practice, borrow snowshoes to enjoy the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, sip hot chocolate by a fire, and MORE. There will be a warming station with craft activities in the Dune Center. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes will be offered at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Stop by anytime from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to join in the celebration. The event is free with a park pass.

Mobile App
Planning a trip to the National Lakeshore and need some help? The National Lakeshore has released its first mobile app. Go to and download it for free today. The app is currently available for download to Apple devices, with an Android version coming soon. Discover new information about popular sites, find park services, see new photos while learning more about favorite historic places, and explore little known natural features. This app has all you need to visit the National Lakeshore and discover all of its hidden treasures right from your phone.

Park Pass
Purchase a commemorative 50th anniversary park pass for only $45.00. Starting on Friday, December 20, stop by the park’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire to get your very own 50th anniversary pass. They also make great gifts. Every year, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore sells over 11,000 annual park entrance passes. With a regular seven-day entrance pass ringing up for $25.00, the annual pass pays for itself in only two visits! Passes are valid for 12 months and provide free entry for the holder and occupants in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle. If entry is by foot, bicycle, or organized group not part of a commercial tour, the pass admits the pass holder and three adults (16 years of age or older). Children under 16 have free admission to the National Lakeshore. 

Last updated: December 17, 2019

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