In August 2014, a tremendous wind storm blew through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, hitting the area around Glen Arbor particularly hard, and leaving a massive swath of downed trees in its wake. One of the park’s most popular visitor areas, Alligator Hill and the Heritage Trail that runs along its base, saw acres and acres of beautiful, mature trees felled within minutes. Park staff cleared trails with remarkable swiftness, but then locals wondered if they face a new threat: the hazard of forest fire when all that timber dries on the forest floor. This video, produced in 2016 by Nature Change, explores that question with park staff and locals.

Nature Change is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to exploring and sharing information about the changes Northern Michigan faces in the age of global warming. The group was founded in March 2016 by six environmental organizations and three foundations. Learn more at

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Photo(s) by Nature Change