Sleeping Bear Dunes: Over 200 hand-constructed debris piles were produced after non-native Austrian pines were cut as part of an invasive tree removal and dune restoration project. The NPS will burn these piles this fall to remove the woody material from what used to be a more open dune and swale ecosystem, allowing native dune vegetation to again become established.

The project restores over 40 acres of habitat for the federal and state listed Pitcher’s thistle (threatened) and piping plover (endangered), as well as the state endangered prairie warbler. The restoration area is located in a remote section of dunes about two miles southwest of the mouth of the Platte River.

To ensure safe, but effective consumption of the piles, they will be burned only under a specific set of weather and fuel conditions, or “prescription.” In addition to safety, smoke dispersal is a primary concern, therefore, wind direction and speed will be monitored to minimize smoke drifting into developed areas and roadways from the remote fire location. The prescribed fire program at the National Lakeshore is conducted by trained and experienced NPS fire personnel.

For more information, please contact National Lakeshore Biologist Amanda Brushaber at 231-334-7452, ext. 221, or visit their website at

Visit for more on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.