National Park Service COVID-19 Operations and Access FAQ
The safety and health of National Park Service (NPS) employees, visitors, partners, volunteers and resources remains our top priority, which is why we have been making significant operational changes in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Lakeshore) is beginning to increase 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.
Beginning Friday, May 22, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will reopen access to:
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail;
all park hiking trails and trailheads;
Dune Climb; and
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire;
all campgrounds and camping;
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive;
all museums and indoor exhibits; and
full service restrooms.
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?
When will you reopen all of your facilities?
We are still operating with minimal crew, and our seasonal hiring was delayed by travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. It will take a few weeks to get some of our facilities ready for the public.
At this time, we are hopeful we will be able to open everything by July 1, but there are so many unknowns we don't want to set false expectations.
We are eager to welcome you back! Sleeping Bear Dunes will be following guidance from state and local health authorities, the National Park Service, and the President’s three phased approach for reopening.
Are park beaches closed?
I had purchased an annual pass. Will I get reimbursed or an extension to my pass?
With over 150 national parks completely closed, and nearly all the others closing some facilities (like Sleeping Bear) the National Park Service is evaluating whether and how to issue an extension of annual passes (national and park specific), but we are awaiting further guidance.
What is the status of campgrounds?
At present all camping reservations from May 1 - June 21 have been cancelled and full refunds processed. No new reservations or modifications to existing reservations can be made at this time.
It was our hope to announce the opening date of our campgrounds by May 29. However, at present, a schedule of reopening is still pending. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Once an opening schedule is announced, any existing reservations that fall between June 22 and the day before opening will be cancelled and full refunds processed.
Additional information on opening dates will be posted here as decisions are made.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during these uncertain times.
Why can't the campgrounds open before June 22?
In addition, the Governor’s Safe Start Plan indicates the state will need to be in “Phase 5” before recreational travel and associated overnight stays can be resumed.
Boating, fishing, & hunting questions
Can I still hunt and fish in the park?
I had planned a trip to one of the islands, when will they be open?
Are National Park Service staff present within the Lakeshore?
How can I learn about the Lakeshore?
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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Last updated: May 22, 2020