Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a United States National Lakeshore located along the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan in Leelanau County and Benzie County. The park covers a 35-mile (60-km) stretch of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. This northern Michigan park was established primarily because of its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena. The Lakeshore also contains many cultural features including the 1871 South Manitou Island Lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations and an extensive rural historic farm district.
The park was authorized on October 21, 1973. The park's creation was highly controversial because it involved the transfer of private property to public. The Federal government's stance at the time was that the Great Lakes were the "third coast" and had to be preserved much like Cape Hatteras or Big Sur, which are National Seashores. The residents living in what is now Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore believed they were stewards of the land and did not want it to be overrun by tourists. The Government eventually won out in part by supporting the local schools to offset the lost property tax revenue and by adding North Manitou Island to be included in the park.
The park is named after a Chippewa legend of the sleeping bear. According to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother bear stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. Impressed by the mother bear's determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands (North and South Manitou Island) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day. The "bear" was a small tree-covered knoll at the top edge of the bluff that, from the water, had the appearance of a sleeping bear. Wind and erosion have caused the "bear" to be greatly reduced in size over the years.
Historic sites 
Looking south from Sleeping Bear Dunes toward Empire Bluffs and the southern portion of the National Lakeshore in Benzie County
Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum 
Glen Haven Village 
Glen Haven existed as a company town from 1865 to 1931. Originally, a dock for Glen Arbor (1855-date), the site soon became a fuel supply point for ships traveling up and down the lake. Here Charles McCarty decided to open his own business and built a dock to supply the ships with wood. In 1863, McCarty built the Sleeping Bear House. It was expanded a few years later to accommodate travelers. In 1928, it was remodeled into the Inn for summer vacationers. The General Store was established to supply the workers. Like most company towns, the workers were paid in company coupons, redeemable only at the company store. The Blacksmith Shop is where tools were repaired. In 1878, David Henry Day arrived in the community. By this time, coal from the Appalachian coal fields was replacing wood on the steamships. Day was looking for another future to this small community.
Port Oneida Historic Farm District 
In 1860, Port Oneida had a population of 87 people. Thomas Kelderhouse had built a dock to sell wood to the passing steamships. He was also able to sell fresh produce and maple sugar in season. A local story says that the name comes from the first ship to stop, the S.S. Oneida of New York State. The area covers 3,000 acres (12 km2) and includes 16 historic farms. The farming community was gradually abandoned due to hard farming conditions and declining timber sales. 
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The lakeshore during winter
Flora and fauna 
Cougars or Eastern cougars have been observed in the Lakeshore, and the National Park Service advises respect and caution, as well as notification to rangers if one is encountered.
See also 
- ^ Butch Street (March 2011). "Statistical Abstract 2010". Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NRPC/SSD/NRDS—2011/147. National Park Service. p. 15. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- ^ Brian kalt, Sixties Sandstorm: The Fight Over Establishment of a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 1961-1970 (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2001)
- ^ Glen Haven Village Tour, The Cordwood Era pamphlet, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
- ^ Port Oneida Historic Farm District pamphlet, Sleeping Dear Dunes National Lakeshore
- ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Traverse City, Michigan". Retrieved June 5, 2009.
- ^ Cougar Safety, Sleeping Bear, National Park Service
External links