Protect Sleeping Bear at all costs

Back in 2011, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore won the title of Most Beautiful Place in America from ABC-TV's “Good Morning America."
Feb 11, 2014

The visuals the popular morning show aired of the gorgeous sweeping dunes and sparkling blue Lake Michigan water captivated viewers, both locally and across the nation.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, located west of Traverse City in Benzie and Leelanau counties, is a truly magnificent place, and the effect the dunes have on the state’s tourism industry is stunning. The dunes — part of the National Parks system — generates about $132 million annually and helps sustain about 2,300 jobs in the region.

Nearly 1.4 million people visited the park in 2012.

Recently, long-awaited legislation that would help protect Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has made a significant leap forward in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Iron River, noted that the House Committee on Natural Resources recently approved a draft of legislation that would designate about 32,500 acres of the 111-square-mile park as wilderness area.

The bill would ensure recreational access for the area in question, while also taking steps to protect the natural features of the area, such as county roads and historical structures. The right to hunt and fish in designated wilderness areas is specifically protected in the legislation.

“Northern Michigan is very fortunate to be home to this extraordinary stretch of shoreline,” Benishek said. “This bill strikes a common sense, balanced approach between conservation and recreation that nearly all Michiganders will support.  I am hopeful that we can get this bill passed and delivered to the president’s desk so that future generations will also be able to enjoy the natural wonder that is Sleeping Bear Dunes.”

We agree 100 percent.

Sleeping Bear Dunes is the jewel of Michigan’s sweeping tourism industry, and every step possible should be taken to protect this stunning natural landscape for future generations to enjoy.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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