Leelanau County Unveils New Sand Dunes


NORTHPORT, MICHIGAN – Leelanau County announced the completion of a two month project to install sand dunes in villages across the county after workers wrapped up construction of the Northport dune.

Leland Sand Dunes overlooking Fishtown

Leland Sand Dunes overlooking Fishtown

“When the numbers came back from our latest tourism study, we realized what an incredible driver the Sleeping Bear Dunes are for County visitors,” explained Leelanau County Board Chair Carolyn (Peachy) Rentenbach. “We were able to leverage a little known Department of Interior grant and some money from Pure Michigan and the  and the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce to purchase 7,723 million tons of sand and create dunes in all our villages.”

Regarding the new dune in Northport, North Shore Outfitters owner Will Harper said, “I think it will take some getting used to, but I’m already getting calls to rent surfboards for sliding the dunes, so I think it will be a pretty big win for Northport and Leelanau as a whole.”


Suttons Bay’s New Sand Dunes

Others in the county were not so sure. “Frankly it’s a little surprising to me that the County would direct funds to this project when my proposal to re-seed Leelanau beaches with Petoskey stones is still on their desk,” said Michael Buhler of Leelanau Coffee Roasting. “We have so many people harvesting them from our beaches that it’s getting challenging to find them and Glen Arbor and Empire already have perfectly good dunes.”

Acting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Tom Ulrich commented, “While of course we’d prefer to be the only sand dunes in Leelanau County, they did rely heavily on our input and have done a great job creating these new dunes. We’re confident that the public will still hold a special place in their heart for Leelanau’s original dunes.”

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