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Celebrate the newly designated wilderness at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore during the Lakeshore’s first Wilderness Weekend event on September 13 and 14, 2014. Activities are planned for both days and include hikes, Leave No Trace games, guided canoe/kayak trips and a Star Party. There will be something for everyone to enjoy; especially children.
All Wilderness Weekend activities are free. Participants need only purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun. Be sure to dress for the outdoors. In inclement weather, some outdoor activities will be moved to the D. H. Day Log Cabin. Please call 231-326-4700, ext. 5010, for information on location changes. Everyone is invited to participate in any or all of the following events:
Saturday, September 13
8:30 a.m., Wilderness Weekend Begins! Earn your Wilderness Explorer badge after you pick up your free “Wilderness Explorer” booklet, available throughout the day, at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire.
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Leave No Trace in the Wilderness: Join in fun Leave No Trace games and activities at the end of Trails End Road at Bass Lake, five miles south of Empire.
2:00-4:00 p.m., What about Wilderness? Participate in wilderness activities, which include maps, art, stories and more at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire.
4:00-5:00 p.m., Wilderness Explorer Ceremony: Celebrate what you have done and experienced throughout the day at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Park rangers will award Wilderness Explorer badges at the Philip A. Visitor Center in Empire. There will be snacks!
6:00 p.m., Where the Wild Things Are: Take a walk on the wild side with a Park Ranger to learn about wilderness and why it matters at Sleeping Bear Point Trail, 0.5 miles west of the Maritime Museum. This hike will be approximately 1.5 hours and be 1.5 miles in length.
8:00 p.m., Wild about Wilderness: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the nation’s newest designated wilderness area. Discover just what wilderness is and what it means for us during this 45-minute program at the Platte River Campground Amphitheater.
9:00-11:00 p.m., The Wilderness Frontier is in the Stars: Gaze Up, there it is, the Milky Way. Discover the treasures of the park’s night skies with Park Rangers and astronomers from the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at the Dune Climb parking lot off of M-109. The Star Party will be cancelled if the sky is not visible due to weather conditions. The decision to cancel is usually made three hours in advance. Please call 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for a voicemail message with the decision. Bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car and bug spray, if needed.
Sunday, September 14
8:30 a.m., Wilderness Weekend: Be sure to pick up your free Wilderness Explorer booklet to earn your badge on your own! Books will be available throughout the day at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire.
9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m., and 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Crystal Clear about Wilderness: With a Park Ranger as your guide, paddle the Crystal River to explore our newly designated wilderness. Reservations are required; please call 231-326-4700, ext. 5010. Bring your own canoe/kayak or rent one from a local vendor.
2:00 p.m., What Does Wilderness Mean to You? On March 13, 2014, Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness was designated by Congress. What does this designation mean? This hike will take approximately 1.5 hours and be 1.5 miles in length at the Cottonwood Trailhead (#4) on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., What about Wilderness? Participate in wilderness activities, which include maps, art, stories and more at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire.
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Wilderness Explorer Ceremony: Celebrate what you have done and experienced throughout the day at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Park rangers will award Wilderness Explorer badges at the Philip A. Visitor Center in Empire. There will be snacks!
So, if you are looking for something exciting to do with family and friends, head out to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and celebrate Wilderness in your national park!