Traverse City Record-Eagle writer Bill O’Brien asks the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to Shed the 60s mindset. He notes that although the region’s tourism industry is bearing up well under tough times, Lakeshore visitor numbers have dropped two years in a row and are at the lowest level in 20 years.
Those who’ve been around long enough remember that locals were sold on the idea of a national park in northwest Michigan because it would be an economic engine for businesses in and around the lakeshore. It also would be a world-class attraction right in our backyard that would be around for our children’s children to enjoy.
But on both counts, the feds haven’t lived up to their end of the deal. Instead of a primary attraction, the lakeshore evolved into almost an afterthought in the region’s tourism scene — something to do when you’ve done everything else. A national park established in the 1960s is still operated like it’s the ’60s, with little if any local and regional promotion of the lakeshore, or northwest Michigan in general.
Read the rest at the Record-Eagle and share your thoughts in the comments below.
The photo is Sleeping Bear Dunes by SNiedzwiecki. You can check out many more in the slideshow of Sleeping Bear Dunes photos from the Leelanau.com group on Flickr – as you can see, it’s pretty darned marketable!