Sleeping Bear Dunes Works to Keep Visitors Safe in Heat

Hot weather means a popular Northern Michigan summertime destination is trying to keep people safe in the heat.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore says they usually get more calls for help in the heat.

 The park in Benzie and Leelanau Counties is still full of visitors looking for adventure.

The park says so far this week they haven’t seen a major increase in calls for help, but they’re ready just in case.

Visitors continue making the dune climb at the Sleeping Bear. When temperatures get this hot, The National Park Service says they make sure visitors know how challenging some parts of the park can be.

“People don’t understand that it’s 1.8 miles to get to Lake Michigan from the parking lot, so they just keep going and they necessarily don’t have water or food, and then they get into trouble at that point,: said Andy Blake, Leelanau District Ranger.  

The Park Service also has special steps they take to make sure they’re ready in case anyone gets in trouble.

“We try what we call preventative search and rescue, or PSAR, and we put Rangers and other personnel out on the dunes to warn people, and to prepare them for the height that they are going on, to have plenty of fluids, extra snacks, wear loose fitting, light colored clothing,” said Blake.  

Despite temperatures reaching 90 degrees here on the dunes, that’s not stopping people from coming out to take on the parks popular dune climb.

“I think it’s just deceiving because you park right in front of it so you think it’s going to be easy, but it’s such a vast area, and you start to climb it and you realize how hard it really is. It was challenging today, a little warm, but a nice breeze off the lake here, but we had a good time with it,” said Rich Scholz who made the climb today.  

The park says if you make the dune climb to make sure you have the proper footwear since the sand is getting extremely warm and can burn bare feet.