Congress approves bill protecting Sleeping Bear Dunes

Photo courtesy Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Photo courtesy Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Congress has approved legislation designating part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as a wilderness area.

The designation protects 32,500 acres of land from future development, while still allowing existing uses of the land to continue.

“For visitors, they won’t see a dramatic difference,” said Tom Ulrich, deputy superintendent of Sleeping Bear Dunes. “We have been managing the proposed areas as wilderness for many years.”

“So really, what this does, it’s not a big change in what visitors experience. It really is future focused,” he said.

The legislation included provisions preserving hunting and fishing rights within the wilderness area.

According to Ulrich, the bill “guarantees that people who are enjoying those places now, with their favorite hunting spots or hiking trails, will always be able to do that.”

The bill is now awaiting the president’s signature.