Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Lakeshore) has increased recreational access to park facilities. Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, the Lakeshore is increasing recreational access and services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has reopened:
the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, lobby and restrooms open 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily;
all campgrounds and camping, (see hours below);
park trails and trailheads
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
beaches, lakes, rivers
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (see below)
Glen Haven museums
Maritime Museum boathouse
Maritime Museum keeper's quarters
South Manitou Island museums &
Please recreate responsibly so you can protect yourself, us, and our resources. www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/recreate-responsibly.htm
Is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore closed?
No, but some park facilities are closed. Park lands and waters, including all beaches, trails, and campgrounds are open for use. Be aware that high lake levels have caused erosion along much of the shoreline, so beaches may be obstructed or non-existent. As of June 23rd, the visitor center is open. Outhouses are open as well as full-service restrooms at the Dune Climb, Glen Haven, and the visitor center in Empire, MI.
Is the visitor center in Empire open?
The visitor center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. with CDC guidelines in place including social distancing (at least 6 feet) and face coverings. The number of visitors allowed in the building will be limited. Services will be limited to visitor information, restroom use, and purchasing sales items through America’s National Parks, our cooperating association. We are requesting payment via credit or debit card.
Is the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive open?
The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive will open for the weekends of September 25-27 and October 3-4. It will open at 9:00 a.m. and remain open until 1/2 hour after sunset on Sunday. It will be closed from Monday, September 28 - Friday, October 2. The drive will then be closed until further notice beginning on Monday, October 5. Check out our twitter page for daily updates on the drive: SleepingBearNPS twitter.
Visitors should also be aware that in order to provide for social distancing the narrow boardwalk to the Lake Michigan Overlook platform has not yet been installed. Visitors with limited mobility are encouraged to enjoy the spectacular views (and shorter paths) at the Dune and North Bar Lake Overlooks for now. Park rangers will be at the drive entrance from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each weekend to answer visitor questions.
Are park beaches closed?
Park beaches remain open for use. Be aware that high lake levels have caused erosion along much of the shoreline so beaches may be obstructed or non-existent. We ask the public to please recreate safely and responsibly. Avoid high-risk outdoor activities, stay in your local area, and follow Leave No Trace principles. In seeking outdoor recreation, follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and comply with state and local guidance.
I heard Good Harbor Beach is closed. Can I get to this beach?
Beginning July 6, the Leelanau County Road Commission will oversee placement of a new, larger culvert at Shalda Creek under County Road 669 (S Bohemian Rd.) just north of M-22 at the north end of the Lakeshore. The road has to be completely closed for the duration of the project, which may take up to seven weeks and extend into early August. County Road 669 normally provides access to Good Harbor Beach, Shalda Creek outlet, and the Good Harbor Bay Trail.
The Lakeshore partnered with the Road Commission and Cleveland Township to secure a Federal Lands Access Program grant for this much needed project. Cleveland Township, the Road Commission, and MDOT all worked together for a partial grant match and professional services to execute the project. Unfortunately, the contract award for the planned spring project was delayed until recently by COVID restrictions. Because of fishery concerns, State of Michigan permitting precludes a fall project.
Nearby Lake Michigan beach access remains available to the north via County Road 651 (Good Harbor Trail Road) and to the south in the Port Oneida area. We regret the inconvenience, but we are very happy to see this long-awaited work being done. A big thank you to the Leelanau County Road Commission, Cleveland Township, and MDOT!
I had purchased the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass annual pass. Will I get reimbursed or an extension to my pass?
The $80 Interagency Annual Pass provides access to more than 2,000 recreation areas managed by five Federal agencies and is valid for 12 months from the month of purchase, expiring the last day of that month. Over the course of the past couple of months many federal lands have remained accessible and many of those that limited access are now in the process of increasing access. Due to privacy and logistical considerations, passes are non-refundable, non-transferable, cannot be extended, and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.
What is the status of campgrounds?
All park campgrounds and at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are open.
New camping reservations and modifications to existing reservations can be made beginning June 23 by calling Recreation.gov at 1-877-444-6777 or online at www.recreation.gov
The Platte River Campground office is open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. The D.H. Day Campground office is open from 10:15 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and open 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Both campground offices operate with the same safety practices as the visitor center.
In DH Day Campground the first loop (sites 1-31) and site 85 are currently closed through July 21 due to flooding. Extensions to these closures are possible as staff continues to monitor the water level.
What safety measures are being taken in the campgrounds?
The park is following all CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces found at: https://www.cdc.gov/.../pdf/Reopening_America_Guidance.pdf. This includes routine cleaning of outside surfaces, showers and restrooms, plus twice a day deep cleaning/disinfecting of showers and restrooms using EPA approved disinfectants against Covid-19. Our campground offices have implemented once a day disinfecting at opening, then all touched surfaces will be disinfected after each group uses the office, barriers have been installed on the desks, our staff wear masks, and only one group will be allowed into the office at a time. Please call the visitor center at 231-326-4700, ext. 5010 if you have a specific question about one of the park's safety measures at the campgrounds.
Boating, fishing, & hunting questions
Can I still hunt and fish in the park?
The ability to hunt and fish in the park has not changed. Hunters and anglers need to follow all Michigan state hunting regulations. We ask the public to please recreate safely and responsibly. Avoid high-risk outdoor activities, stay in your local area, and follow Leave No Trace. In seeking outdoor recreation, follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and comply with state and local guidance.
I had planned a trip to one of the islands, when will they be open?
The National Lakeshore received notice that the Manitou Island Transit ferry will not run service to the Manitou Islands this year. High water in Lake Michigan has damaged the dock at South Manitou Island, making it unsafe for disembarking passengers until it can be repaired. At North Manitou Island, sand movement over the winter has made dock access nearly impossible until a previously planned dredging contract can be carried out in late July. Facing the prospect of such a late start to their season, the ferry service made the very difficult business decision to cancel operations for the year.
In the interim, both islands will be open for visitors who are able to access them via private boat or charter services. Camping on the islands will be permitted when camping resumes throughout the National Lakeshore on June 23. Water and restrooms will be available on the islands, but there will be no lighthouse or other tours this year.
Is South Manitou Island flooded?
Currently, several areas of the island are impacted by high water. Most of the island dock is underwater and unusable. The island's historic village is flooded, rendering some of the buildings inaccessible and putting at least one drain field out of commission. Several roads are flooded and impassable, including the roads to the old-growth cedars and island cemetery, and several campsites are flooded and unusable in Bay Campground. We will try to update this information as conditions change but be aware this is a dynamic situation.
Are National Park Service staff present within the Lakeshore?
Yes. Staff are present in the field to maintain public safety, prepare for staged opening, and to protect park resources. NPS employees continue the work to support the NPS mission. In addition, park rangers across the country are creating or expanding virtual educational activities and ranger programs. Some National Lakeshore employees are teleworking, continuing to carry out the mission of the NPS while slowing the spread of COVID-19.
How can I learn about the Lakeshore?
For National Lakeshore information, download the free Sleeping Bear Dunes mobile app for both iphones at Apple itunes and Android phones at Google Play. E-mail us and park rangers will answer any questions about the National Lakeshore. You can also call 231-326-4700 ext 5010 to get your questions answered.
How can I stay connected to the Lakeshore?
Check out our social media sites www.facebook.com/sbdnl, www.twitter.com/sleepingbearnps, and www.instagram.com/sleepingbearnps.
And don't forget to Find your Virtual Park! NPS parks and programs are sharing virtual content on their websites and social media. Check out our wildlife webcams, virtual tours, Junior Ranger programs, citizen science videos, even coloring pages. There are countless ways to #FindYourPark from home.
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