Sleeping Bear Dunes: Celebrate National Park Service Week at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore April 21-29, 2012

Empire, MI – National Park Week will run from Saturday, April 21 through Sunday, April 29 across the country.  Visitors can enjoy the beauty and wonder of 84 million acres of the world’s most spectacular scenery, historic places, and cultural treasures for FREE!  Superintendent Dusty Shultz is inviting everyone to participate in National Park Week at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  Explore the National Lakeshore on your own or join Park Rangers for special events, including Park Ranger-led hikes, volunteer opportunities, National Junior Ranger Day, and a Star Party.

“America’s national parks have something for everyone,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.  “Take a break and experience something new, enjoy some fresh air, get some exercise, and see where history happened.  And, since admission is free to all 397 parks, all week long, National Park Week is a great time to get up, get out, and explore a park.”

April 21 – National Park Week Kick-off

9:00 a.m.  –  National Volunteer Day – Trail Cleanup Meet Park Rangers and Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes staff to help clean up the trails.  From 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., hike your favorite trail and clear out some of the debris from the winter storms.  Meet at the Visitor Center in Empire for details.

1:00 p.m. – Saturdays at the Lakeshore – Picture Yourself at Sleeping Bear Dunes For the official start of National Park Week, join a Park Ranger for a hike with some magnificent views.  Bring your camera to capture the scenery.  On Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., a Park Ranger awaits you at the Visitor Center in Empire to introduce the topic and then lead a car caravan a short distance to where the walk will begin.  Hikes last 1 to 1½ hours and are no longer than 1½ miles.  

2:00 p.m. – National Volunteer Day Beach Cleanup Meet Park Rangers and Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes staff to help clean up the beaches.  Spend the afternoon, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., along the shores of Lake Michigan to help beautify them.  Meet at the Visitor Center in Empire for details.

April 27 – Star Party

Join Park Rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society to enjoy Sleeping Bear Dunes under the stars.  Enjoy the sunset at 8:44 p.m. over Lake Michigan and view the night sky through telescopes.  The program begins at 8:30 p.m. and lasts until 11:00 p.m.  Meet at Platte Point Beach at the end of Lake Michigan Road.  Bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car.  

April 28 – National Junior Ranger Day

Children of all ages are invited to participate in any or all events of the day.  There is something for everyone.  Dress for outdoor weather:  rain or shine!  Come and explore, and learn about and protect Sleeping Bear Dunes while earning your Junior Ranger badge.  

10:00 a.m. – Junior Ranger Day Scavenger Hunt! Meet at the Dune Climb where Park Rangers will provide instructions for this challenging and fun-filled event.  Be prepared for some interesting clues to help you find what you need as you search high and low across the landscape.  

1:00 p.m. – Changes of Sleeping Bear
Meet the Park Rangers at Esch Beach to discover what changes have occurred at Sleeping Bear Dunes and what changes are yet to come!  EXPLORE how the landscape, creatures, and uses of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are constantly morphing.  LEARN what changes you can make to help PROTECT your National Parks and special places!
2:30 p.m. – Junior Ranger Games Meet in the Visitor Center for some pre-ceremony games and activities.

3:00 p.m. – Official Junior Ranger Ceremony Meet at the Visitor Center.  Raise your hand and repeat the Junior Ranger oath.  Receive your certificate, badge, and awards for participating in the day.  Light refreshments will be provided.  

All of the programs are free.  Please call 231-326-5135, extension 328, to make reservations (if you plan to bring a group) and for details, or visit  Also, “Like” our Facebook page at

Discover the Beauty of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in this spectacular DVD!