When the phrase “wilderness area” is mentioned, you probably don't picture sharing that spot with, say, 1.7 million people. They weren't all there at once, of course, but that's how many people last year dropped by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where correspondent Kim Schneider visits with National Park Ranger, Merrith Baughman, amid dozens excited school kids on a field trip. The “dunes”, as locals call them, have recently received a lot of nationwide attention. A few years ago, Good Morning America named Sleeping Dunes the most beautiful place in America. That was probably music to the ears of those in Congress who made the controversial decision back in 1970 to designate Sleeping Bear Dunes as a national lakeshore. Until then, that protection had been reserved for ocean beauty spots like Cape Hatteras and Big Sur. This was the first on what some call America's Third Coast, in this case a 35-mile stretch of sugar sand beach. The sand reaches upward too. These dunes just south of Traverse City, Michigan are the highest mountains of sand in the eastern United States. The dunes make a great perch for photos toward the park's two island--the sleeping bears of the Chippewa legend that inspired the park’s name. The dunes are also fun to climb—for kids of all ages. Listen for the puffs, and maybe a couple of giggles, in Kim's report.
Associate producer and correspondent, Kim Schneider is based in Traverse City, Michigan where she writes for several newspapers and magazines, specializing in food, wine and nature travel adventures. Schneider is the recipient of numerous awards, including “Mark Twain Travel Writer of the Year”.