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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) will resume the collection of entrance fees beginning Saturday, July 25, 2020. The $25.00 park entrance pass allows everyone riding in a private vehicle to recreate in the National Lakeshore for seven days. Passes may be obtained at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, MI, daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at the Platte River and D. H. Day Campground offices, daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The park is also working to reopen self-pay stations located at many of the beach road-ends. Over the next week, several local area businesses will also resume selling National Lakeshore passes, including Manitou Island Transit (at their Fishtown gift shop), Crystal River Outfitters, Honor Trading Post, and Riverside Canoe Trips. The Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive entrance stations remain under construction and will not be able to sell passes until later in August.
Entrance fees at the National Lakeshore and other national parks were suspended in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent closure of park facilities. National Lakeshore trails, boat launches, and picnic areas re-opened in May, and the visitor center, campgrounds, and museums in June. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive still has periodic closures for the construction project, but has been open on most weekends. With access restored to all facilities closed due to the pandemic, the decision was made to resume charging the $25.00 entrance fee. Annual passes to the National Lakeshore, and the interagency annual and lifetime passes, are available as well.
During the period when park facilities and trails were closed, visitors were unable to benefit from annual passes they had already purchased. For this reason, Superintendent Scott Tucker is pleased to announce that annual passes for the National Lakeshore that were purchased before April will have their expiration dates extended for an additional three months. Unfortunately, the park can only make this extension for the National Lakeshore annual pass, not any of the interagency passes.
As an example; if you purchased an annual pass for the National Lakeshore in May 2019, the ass was originally punched to be valid through the end of May 2020. With the extension, this pass will now be valid through August 2020.
Superintendent Tucker was pleased that this step toward normal operations could be resumed, noting that “The National Lakeshore relies heavily on entrance fees to maintain the facilities and services that visitors expect, and their entrance fees go directly toward projects that benefit them. Resuming our fee collection will help ensure that projects such as repairing the flooded dock at South Manitou Island, rehabilitating the maritime museum boathouse, and replacing the Empire Bluff Trail boardwalks will all stay on track.”
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the National Lakeshore website (https://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm) and social media channels. Updates about National Park Service operations during the pandemic will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.
Last updated: July 23, 2020