updated May 23, 2020
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Covid-19 Update (May 22, 2020)
NEWS RELEASE: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (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 servicewide 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; and
- vault toilets.
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
- the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire;
- all campgrounds and camping;
- Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive;
- all museums and indoor exhibits; and
- full service restrooms.
Superintendent Scott Tucker stated, “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 noted, “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 health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority. The NPS is working with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. The park will notify the public when it resumes full operations and provide updates on the park website https://www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/conditions.htm and social media channels.
As of March 23, 2020, the Platte River Campground, White Pine Campground and National Lakeshore restrooms are closed until further notice. The Philip A. Hart Visitor Center remains closed until further notice. For park information, visitors can follow these links below to download Sleeping Bear Dunes’ mobile app for both Apple and Android.
The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.