Sunday, March 09, 2014

Levin, Stabenow hail final passage of bill to preserve Sleeping Bear wilderness land

Sleeping Bear Dunes. (File photo courtesy Sen. Carl Levin's office)

WASHINGTON, DC --  On March 4, 2014, Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow welcomed final House passage of a bill they introduced to protect more than 30,000 acres of wilderness at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, located along the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan in Leelanau County and Benzie County.

The Dunes rise more than 400 feet above Lake Michigan. This National Lakeshore includes 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and numerous inland lakes and streams.

House passage of S.23, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act, which Levin and Stabenow introduced in 2013, sends the bill to President Obama for his signature. The Senate passed the bill in June 2013.

"Final passage of this legislation is good news for all of us who cherish the matchless beauty and the ecological importance of Sleeping Bear Dunes," Levin said. "The local community has worked long and hard to preserve this valuable wilderness while ensuring that visitors can access and appreciate it, and I am pleased that the House has followed the Senate to preserve this important part of Michigan’s heritage."

The legislation culminates 13 years of efforts by the local community, the National Park Service and Congress to update the lakeshore’s general management plan and protect the park’s unique natural habitat from harmful development while enabling public access to its beaches, trails and streams.

"I’m glad the House has joined us in recognizing the importance of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This designation will protect their breathtaking beauty for generations to come," Stabenow said. "The Dunes bring 1.2 million visitors a year to Michigan from across the country. By designating this wilderness land, we are helping promote one of our state's top Pure Michigan tourist attractions and protecting an integral part of our Great Lakes."

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