Levin, Hoekstra, Stabenow and Camp Introduce Bill to Preserve, Maintain Access to Sleeping Bear Dunes
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D- Mich., and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, have introduced legislation that would preserve and maintain access to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is cosponsor of the Senate bill and U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, is cosponsor of the House bill.
"Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of our nation's precious natural resources and a part of our Michigan way of life," said Stabenow. "By preserving areas of the lakeshore, we are protecting one of our state's top tourist attractions and ensuring its beauty for all Americans for generations to come."
"I am proud to introduce this bill which will protect the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for future generations and preserve access to valuable recreational opportunities. The beauty of the lakeshore, dunes and islands at Sleeping Bear make up one of our state's great treasures for residents and visitors to enjoy," Levin said. "This wilderness effort, which has strong support from the public and the National Park Service, will preserve recreational uses of the area, from boating to hang-gliding, for generations to come," he added.
"We have worked with local stakeholders and the National Park Service in developing a balanced plan for Sleeping Bear Dunes that allows for recreation and conservation to ensure that this national treasure can be enjoyed by future generations," said Hoekstra.
"Anyone who has visited Sleeping Bear Dunes instantly recognizes the area is not just a state but a national treasure," said Camp. "We must protect this vital resource while also allowing people to enjoy its beauty, and have worked a long time to strike the correct balance between wilderness preservation and recreational purposes. This act provides a solid plan to achieve both goals, and I am happy to support the final phase of this initiative."
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is currently managed under a 1981 Wilderness Study. The bill would designate as wilderness 32,557 acres of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as outlined in the final General Management Plan and Wilderness Study. The designation would preserve the natural features of the area while enabling access for recreation and the enjoyment of the lakeshore.
The "Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act" will preserve areas in a way that reflects a balanced approach to conservation of natural areas, while maintaining access. The bills incorporate language that ensures the beaches of Lake Michigan would not be considered wilderness; that the existing roads would be outside the area and could be improved and maintained; hunting and fishing rights would be preserved; and watercraft would still be allowed in Lake Michigan, along with their beaching adjacent to the wilderness.