George Weeks is author of Sleeping Bear: Yesterday and Today. He writes:
A national Web site survey by ABC-TV’s Good Morning America show recently declared Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore the “Most Beautiful Place in America.” Its nearly 100,000 votes edged out Cape Cod in Massachusetts and other places in California, Colorado, Arizona and elsewhere.
The story was later picked up by the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said, “It’s great that a park… a little off the beaten track in northern Michigan, is being recognized for its exceptional beauty.”
Beyond the sweeping views of the dunes and Lake Michigan, much of the exceptional beauty of today stems from cultural attractions of yesterday. They include towering lighthouses, the Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum, designated shipwreck sites of Sleeping Bear and the Manitou Passage from the early Great Lakes maritime era, and the Glen Haven Historic Village that is on the National Register of Historic Places as a turn-of-the century company lumbering town by being perhaps the best preserved example of a frontier wooding station and steamboat stop on the Great Lakes—certainly on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
In his preface to my book Sleeping Bear: Yesterday and Today, 1989-93 National Park Service Director James Ridenour said, “Sleeping Bear Dunes is truly one of the jewels of the National Park System.”
It’s a jewel for the natural beauty of today and for the attractions of yesterday.