Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is beginning to increase recreational access to park facilities.

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities, the Lakeshore is increasing recreational access and services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning Friday, May 22, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will reopen access to:

  • Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
  • all park hiking trails and trailheads
  • picnic areas
  • parking areas
  • boat launches
  • Dune Climb
  • vault toilets

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:

  • Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire
  • all campgrounds and camping
  • Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
  • all museums and indoor exhibits
  • full-service restrooms

Superintendent Scott Tucker says, “The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers and partners continues to be paramount. At Sleeping Bear Dunes, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations continue to comply with current public health guidance. We are working closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public areas and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners and volunteers.”

Tucker also notes, “While these areas are again accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. In the meantime, visitors should follow state and local health orders, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities. It is very important for everyone to follow CDC guidance for physical distancing and face coverings in order to continue the progress that has been made so we can keep these facilities open.”

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and mitigate risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19. Read it here.

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the Lakeshore website and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on

Photo(s) by Taylor Brown