Sleeping Bear Dunes to reopen despite government shutdown

Michigan

GLEN ARBOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore won’t remain closed because of the partial government shutdown after all.

The park had planned to close on Thursday. As with other national parks, lack of staff had led to problems with human waste, trash and environmental damage without staff supervision.

But on Saturday, the National Park Service said it has freed enough money from recreation fees to prevent the closure of outdoor areas, though visitor centers won’t operate. Authorities say the money will allow them to bring back maintenance staff to deal with problems.

For the past few weeks, a nonprofit group called “Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes” has been helping keep the park clean in the paid staff’s absence.

Other parks like Joshua Tree National Park in southern California were not so lucky and had planned to close entirely. In addition some campgrounds, a road, trail and a picnic area that already are closed will reopen. Those sections were shut after some of the park’s iconic Joshua trees were destroyed and off-roaders gauged new routes in the fragile desert.

Sleeping Bear Dunes has not scheduled a specific reopening date, keep an eye on their website if you plan on visiting for the latest information as certain programs and events will remain closed during the partial government shutdown.

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