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May is a great time to go on a Park Ranger-led hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore). Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the new leaves are appearing, making the forests vibrant once again. While spring is in the air, a hike along one of the National Lakeshore's magnificent trails can be a great experience. Join park rangers as they share some of their favorite places during "Saturdays at the Lakeshore" this spring.
Every Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. a park ranger awaits you at the visitor center in Empire to introduce a topic and then lead a car caravan a short distance to where the walk will begin. Each week features a different topic and location. Hikes last 1 to 1½ hours and are no longer than 1½ miles. Please dress for the weather.
May 5 - Wondering About Wetlands: Celebrate Plant Heritage Week in Leelanau County with a parkranger, discovering the wonder of wetlands and trying to spot some of the critters that call them home!
May 12 - Spring Blooms: Celebrate Plant Heritage Week in Benzie County by hiking with a park ranger who will share the living legacy of the plant world and the natural history of the National Lakeshore.
May 19 - Birding 101: Sharpen your observation skills and learn to identify your spring birds. Perhaps we will encounter the endangered piping plover. Bring binoculars if you have them. The National Lakeshore will have some to loan as well.
May 26 - Frogs and Toads: Explore the natural history of these fascinating amphibians and enjoy an "up-close encounter" (no kissing them, though).
The Saturdays at the Lakeshore program happens every Saturday from now until mid-June when summer programs begin. Hikes are free. Participants need only purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun. Please call 231-326-5135, extension 328, to make reservations and/or answer any questions, or visit their website at www.nps.gov/slbe. Also, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sbdnl and Twitter.