Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) encourages all fourth graders to visit the park for free this year as part of the Every Kid in a Park program. The program gives fourth-grade students, and those accompanying them, free access to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters. (Click here to download the pass and get more information.)

The National Lakeshore will be offering personalized snowshoe field trips for fourth grade classes in the months of January, February and March. Learn about winter ecology and snow science in a hands-on, experiential format while hiking on snowshoes through the National Lakeshore.

The pre and post-visit activities developed for teachers to use with students help build background knowledge and create excitement for the hike. The lesson during the hike will allow students to explore concepts in winter ecology and snow science. The post-visit activities are designed to extend learning and to give students the opportunity to be creative and to connect learning to the real world. Lessons are designed to work together, yet can be used in a mix and match way based on student interest and needs.

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore received two grants in support of this program for 2017. One was a 2016–2017 field trip grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, and the other grant was from The North Face Explore Fund to support the Every Kid in a Park program. The NPF grant is part of the NPF’s Open OutDoors for Kids Program.

The snowshoe program is currently open to fourth grade classes. Reservations are being scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. The funding covers transportation costs only. By applying for a field trip, you agree to do pre-visit activities in your classroom, attend the onsite ranger-led snowshoe hike, complete a post-visit wrap-up activity, and provide feedback about your experience.

For additional information on how to apply, program objectives, and to access the pre and post-hike activities, click here. For questions about transportation payment/reimbursement, trip detail, or activities, please call park rangers at (231) 326-4736, or send an email to

—Press release provided by Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes

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Photo(s) by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore