EDITOR'S NOTE: The Park IS open. You can enjoy trails and other amenities.
While the sequestration - the automatic, across-the-board permanent spending cuts that was triggered by the Federal Government's inability to come to a budget deal - is a largely ephemeral concept for most so far, it has some very real consequences for Leelanau's #1 tourist attraction.
On March 1, 2013, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was required to reduce its annual budget by 5%. That's a $234,000 reduction from a budget of $4,676,000, and as the fiscal year ends September 30, they have just 7 months to make the required reductions. Superintendent Dusty Shultz explains that, “The park remains open, welcoming visitors and continuing to protect the resources entrusted to our care.”
Here are the major actions being taken to implement the cut:
- Staffing and fixed costs like utilities make up about 98% of the park’s budget, and they shortened 22 seasonal positions and cut 5 seasonal jobs.
- Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive will not open until Memorial Day Weekend and will close after Labor Day.
- Ranger programs, including environmental education programs for school groups, will not be available until Memorial Day Weekend and will cease after Labor Day.
- Other than those at the Visitor Center and campgrounds, restrooms and trash cans will not be available until Memorial Day Weekend and will close after Labor Day. This includes the Manitou Islands.
- Mowing of picnic areas and historic farmsteads will be sharply reduced.
- Protection and monitoring of the endangered Piping Plover will be sharply reduced.
- Follow-up control of invasive plants such as black locust will be sharply reduced.
Photo credit: Manitou Island Park Ranger by lee.ekstrom
Thanks to John McCormick of Michigan Nut Photography for this post!
"Graveyard Shoals" Wreck of the SS Francisco Morazan by Michigan Nut
Wikipedia says that the Francisco Morazan was a 1,442 GRT cargo ship that was built in 1922 as Arcadia by Deutsche Werft, Hamburg, for German owners. She was sold in 1924 and renamed Elbing She was seized by the Allies in the River Elbe, Germany in May 1945, passed to the United Kingdom's Ministry of War Transport and renamed Empire Congress. In 1946, she was allocated to the Norwegian Government and renamed Brunes.
Brunes was sold into merchant service in 1947 and renamed Skuld In 1948, another sale saw her renamed Ringas. In 1958, she was sold to Liberia and renamed Los Mayas and then Francisco Morazan (for Francisco Morazán) the following year. She served until 29 November 1960 when she ran aground in Lake Michigan and was declared a total loss.
Hat tip to the Fishtown Preservation Facebook for a very cool find!
In April 2012 FEMA took photos of the entire Great Lakes region. To browse them, just go to http://greatlakes.usace.army.mil and click Lake Michigan, zoom in to Leelanau County or your other favorite places, check the box and enjoy!
The photo above shows the South Manitou Island Lighthouse and the park buildings. You can see it bigger by clicking the photo or really big right here!
Volunteers for Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear will make their fourth trek to North Manitou Island this Friday, August 17th to spend 10 days working on the Katie Shepard Hotel on “Cottage Row”. The goal is to restore the hotel for use once again as a boarding house for overnight- rustic accommodations.
Volunteers must sign up for a minimum of two nights, three days work. Space is limited and registration is required. Click here for all the details!
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore page on North Manitou Island Village explains that the Katie Shepard Hotel aka “The Beeches” was built in 1895 for Mrs. William Shepard for their daughter Katherine, who was popularly known on the island as “Miss Katie.” She opened the house as a hotel known as The Beeches around the time the Newhalls began logging around 1908 when they discontinued meal service at the dining hall at the northern end of Cottage Row.
Miss Katie operated the hotel and dining room until poor health forced her to discontinue the business in the early 1930s.
John McCormick's gorgeous photo of the South Manitou light is one of several shots in John's Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore slideshow. It inspired me to share a little more about this structure courtesy Michigan lighthouse expert Terry Pepper. His South Manitou Island Lighthouse entry begins:
Located just off the mainland coast of Lake Michigan’s east coast, a group of islands known as the Beaver Archipelago form a chain which marked the western edge of a tight passage along the coast. Known as the "Manitou Passage," vessel masters taking this narrow passage were able to reduce the travel distance between the ports of Lake Michigan’s southern shore and the Straits of Mackinac by sixty miles, as opposed to taking the more circuitous route through open water to the west of the islands. As the most southerly of this chain of islands, South Manitou also featured one of the areas safest natural harbors, and with 5,260-acres of fine timber growth covering the island, it is not surprising that a few enterprising settlers arrived during the mid 1830’s to sell firewood to steamers taking shelter in the harbor when things turned sour out in the lake. By the late 1830’s it was commonplace to find upward of fifty vessels crowded into the harbor seeking refuge and taking-on supplies when things turned sour out in the lake.
Lying a scant few miles west of Sleeping Bear Point, mariners were hard pressed to locate the southern entrance to the busy passage at night or in times of thick weather, and a cry arose throughout the maritime community to light the southern entrance to the passage. Taking up their call on February 19, 1838, Michigan State Representative Isaac Crary entered a motion before the House of Representatives to erect a lighthouse on South Manitou, and fully cognizant of the vital role played by maritime commerce in the area, Congress responded quickly with an appropriation of $5,000 for the station’s construction on July 7 of that same year.
Read on for much more from the lackadaisical first keeper, William Burton to the 1857 reconstruction of the light with Cream City brick. Much more on South Manitou Light from the National Lakeshore.
This photo by m•cole•m is so awesome (see larger in her slideshow) that I had to post it with the Legend of the Sleeping Bear. The tale is kind of the Leelanau creation story, and I rewrote it because I couldn't find a version online that I liked. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know or post a comment.
Years and years ago, in the great forest that covered the place that is now named Wisconsin, lived Mishe Mokwa (Mother Bear) and her two cubs. One day, a roaring fire swept through the woods, burning everything from horizon to horizon and driving Mishe Mokwa, her cubs and all the animals before it. Soon they came to a place where they could go no further, the great Lake Michigan.
Like all bears, Mishe Mokwa and her cubs were powerful swimmers, and at her urging they plunged into the lake. Mishe Mokwa knew there would be no food after the fire was spent, so she kept the light and smoke of the fire behind them and swam east. Now bears are powerful swimmers, and Mishe Mokwa and her cubs were fat from the bounty of the forest so they were able to swim through that day and through the night. Somewhere in the dark she lost them.
Late in the next day, she sighted the tall white dunes of Michigan. When she reached the shore and looked back, her cubs were nowhere to be seen. She called to them with no answer, finally climbing the dunes to look back. As the sky turned red with sunset, she saw her cubs struggling far offshore through the cold waters. Her heart broke as first one and then the other slipped beneath the waves.
Heartbroken and exhausted, she lay upon the dune for days and days, watching the places where her cubs had perished. Gitche Manitou was moved by her sorrow and faithfulness and raised two islands, North Manitou and South Manitou to celebrate the bravery of the cubs. Knowing that her heart would never mend, Gitche Manitou laid a slumber upon Mishe Mokwa and drew the sand over her like a blanket.
The Great Lakes Echo has been asking photographers to send them their toughest Great Lakes shots for their Flash Point series. They recently featured Ken Scott of Ken Scott Photography...
South Manitou Lighthouse
Lit by a full moon, this is a stack of 350, 30-second exposures.
The hard part was getting the timing to work out so I could travel out to the island when there would be a full enough moon to light the landscape and no clouds to interfere with the shoot. It was a crap shoot and took a few trips out to get the timing the way I wanted it.
The easy part was hanging out on the beach under a full moon!
The interesting part (for me) is how technology has changed and with it, so have techniques. I used to do long exposures on film to get star trails, but if there was any man-made lighting, like street lamps, it would over-expose that part of the image and many times make the whole image unusable. Now with digital, you can take shorter exposures keeping lights better exposed and stack many photos to get the star trail effect without blowing out highlights. The time lapse of all the images to make this photo are here.
"I like to take trips like this, to get out of the rut of ordinary life and test myself. I don't have a lot of kayaking experience, but I like getting out and seeing how far I can go."
Hello boys and girls, today we have the story of The Very Lucky Kayaker.
Once upon a time there was a man named Steve Snyder, who paddled from Glen Haven nine miles to South Manitou Island in a brand new kayak to camp. He ran into trouble two miles into his return trip when the spray skirt came off. With no wetsuit and taking on water, he was, as Jim Stamm pointed out when he emailed it over, incredibly lucky to survive.
He was lifted off the island by a Coast Guard Helicopter, hopefully wiser. mLive closes their article:
Michigan paddlers are fortunate. There are two excellent multiday sea kayaking symposiums every year. A symposium is slated May 25-28 in Muskegon County by the West Michigan Coastal Kayakers Association. See wmcka.org for details. The other is the Great Lakes Sea Kayaking Symposium, July 18-22, in Grand Marais. See downwindsports.com/glsks for more details.
If you are new to kayaking, consider attending. You won’t be sorry — and it could save your life.
We'll close ours by sharing the words of northern Michigan's own Song of the Lakes:
These are not lakes, these are the world's eighth seas, and her bottoms are littered with the wreckage of over 8,000 ships.
Try not to join them, OK? Don't treat Lake Michigan like a lake, she's a whole lot bigger than almost any lake in the world and demands your respect.
Photo credit: Winter Swirls on Sleeping Bear Point by Mark Lindsay
Here's a great video by Andrea Maio with naturalist Susan Fawcett about the work of SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps this summer on South Manitou Island. The Youth Conservation Corps is modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s New Deal and works to help them build "green collar" job skills.
You an also see a video of their work on barn preservation on the Island.
SEEDS Youth Corps/South Manitou Island from andrea claire maio on Vimeo.