Sleeping Bear Dunes Celebrates 50th Anniversary [Video]
One of Michigan's natural wonders, the dunes became a National Lakeshore on this day in 1970.
The dunes have been there for thousands of years, but it was officially made a National Lakeshore on October 21, 1970.
The beautiful, sloping sand dunes and the sweeping vistas along the northwestern shore of Michigan have beguiled humans back even before the Chippewas.
I still love stopping at the Pierce Stocking Dune and seeing how long it takes me to get back up. Although my time keeps dropping, it's still one of the most wonderful views looking up from the bottom and realizing that nature is WAY bigger than all of us.
The dunes are named after an Ojibwe legend about a bear and her cubs:
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 islands) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day.
There is a bevy of beautiful hikes, kayak trips and scenic outlooks to enjoy in the National Lakeshore, so get up there and enjoy it, and remember to leave it as you found it.
Happy 50th, Sleeping Bear!