The Nationalization Of Leelanau

Pyramid  Point - Sleeping  Bear  Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was born 50 years ago, ...

After a very difficult and protracted labor and delivery.

Indeed, the tranquility of this now mature park - belies the tumult of its birth.

Though conceived in 1960, it would be another decade before Michigan's Senator Philip Hart could muster enough support from the various stakeholders to make the national park a reality.

Most Leelanau seasonal and permanent residents were fiercely opposed to this "land grab" by the feds.

They feared the development of a Gatlinburg type park overrun by hoards of downstate "fudgies."

 Mostly though - they feared losing their cherished land.

"Let Sleeping Bears Sleep" was their rallying cry - as Senator Hart and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall  were hung in effigy in Traverse City.

Finally, in 1970, the worst of it came to pass when the actual land appropriation began.

Over 20,000 acres were liberated from private owners - fully one third of the total park area.

Majestic dunes, pristine beaches and lush woodlands - all taken for the greater public good.

urchased by the government at a fraction of today's values.

To the thousand families who sacrificed their sacred lands, ...

So that we might experience this stunning beauty:

Many Thanks To You.

See You In Leelanau Up North,

                    Visit A Leelanau Landmark:  The Sleeping Bear Dunes National
                    Lakeshore 50th Anniversary Celebration - now somewhat subdued
                    because of corona.  All park facilities are scheduled to re-open by
                    July 1st.  Contact the Visitor's Center for complete details on all 
                    park programs and the latest updates.  (231) 326-4700



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