If it’s a beauty pageant, then Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes is certainly the crowd favorite. Good Morning America voters recently named it one of the most beautiful places in the country. And its 35 miles of sandy beaches and crystal waters earned it a top spot on a beach expert’s best Great Lakes beaches in July. Host Josh Elliott visited Lake Michigan’s best-kept secret and called the dunes “stunning monuments to the passage of time.” They formed when ice sheets melted and formed glacial lakes, pushing rock debris to the shoreline. Now covered in sand, the dunes have captured national attention for their beauty; they are even celebrity chef Mario Batali’s favorite vacation spot.
What do cologne and Indiana’s great blue herons have in common? They both contain chemicals that are increasingly worrisome to Great Lakes officials. A list of contaminants of emerging concern includes synthetic musks and perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs. Musks are a key ingredient of perfume. PFCs have had a bevy of industrial uses including fire-fighting foams and stain-resistant Scotchgard.
Click each park to see its threats. View Great Lakes Parks in Peril in a larger map
By Haley Walker and Yang Zhang
Nov. 4, 2009
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is among U.S. national parks most vulnerable to climate change, according to a recent report. The park on the southern end of Lake Michigan faces an increase in flooding, overcrowding and air pollution and a loss of wildlife, plants and fish. Other parks in the Great Lakes region are also at risk of these effects.
(MI) Kalamazoo Gazette – Helen Taylor couldn’t have said it any better. Taylor, The Nature Conservancy’s state director, described the recent agreement to acquire 171 acres of dunes at Saugatuck as “a huge step forward in the marathon effort to protect this property in perpetuity for the people of Michigan.”
The area includes the south portion of the McClendon property (formerly the Denison property) adjacent to Saugatuck’s Oval Beach City Park. Announcement of the deal was made by the city of Saugatuck, the Land Conservancy of West Michigan and The Nature Conservancy. More
(NY) Treehugger – The sprawling campus of Michigan State University takes in 5,200 acres. There are trees that shade the landscape and a Red Cedar River that runs through it. Researchers have just found a 16,000- to 20,000-year-old sand dune on the campus, too, beneath a grove of pine trees. The dune, between buildings called Demonstration Hall and Munn Ice Arena, is one of the most southerly located that researchers have ever seen in Michigan. More
(WI) Sheboygan Press – In the southeast corner of Sheboygan County sits 323 acres of rolling sand dunes, forest and wetlands representing one of the last major expanses of undeveloped — and unprotected — wilderness on the western shores of Lake Michigan. For years, developers have been eyeing the privately-owned site — known as Amsterdam Dunes — for homes, a convention center, marina and even a casino. But if county planners have their way, all but a fraction of the property will remain untouched. More