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SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE
71,000 acres. This National Lakeshore is located on the northwest shore of the Lower Peninsula, facing Lake Michigan. It includes 5,260-acre South Manitou Island and 15,000-acre North Ma-nitou Island, which are several miles offshore and may be reached by ferry from May through mid-November.
There are huge sand dunes, along with bluffs over 400 feet high, some inland lakes and streams, and forests of beech and maple. North Manitou Island consists almost entirely of wilderness. White-tailed deer are among the area’s wildlife.
Activities: Hiking and backpacking are possible on more than 50 miles of trails in the main part of the Lakeshore, with additional trails found on the islands. Many trails are used for cross-country skiing in the winter.
Canoeing is available on the Platte and Crystal Rivers, and canoes may be rented nearby. Fishing is another option here. Hunting is permitted in season. ‘
Camping Regulations: A free permit is required in order to camp in the backcountry. There are several designated backcountry camping areas within the National Lakeshore.
On North Manitou Island camping is allowed elsewhere as well. It’s necessary to be out of sight or sound of trails, inland lakes, and buildings, and at least 300 feet from Lake Michigan. Campfires are generally restricted to designated sites, but also allowed on some beaches. Pets are generally prohibited.
For Further Information: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, P.O. Box 277, Empire, MI 49630; (616)326-5134.
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