LANSING, Mich. — Michigan motorists are one step closer to being able to purchase a special Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore license plate after legislation sponsored by state Sen. Darwin Booher was unanimously approved on Thursday.
“A Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore specialty license plate will allow motorists to both show their support for this treasured Pure Michigan park, but also contribute to its upkeep and preservation,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I thank my colleagues for their support and encourage the House of Representatives to do the same.”
Proceeds from the sale of the specialty plate will go to help support Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear (PHSB), a nonprofit that works to preserve and restore the park’s resources, as well as educate the public about all it has to offer.
Officially established by Congress in 1970, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore stretches across 70,000 acres of Leelanau and Benzie counties. The park includes the natural geography and forests of birch, pine, beech, and maple, along with 64 miles of Lake Michigan beaches, two islands, 26 inland lakes and the monumental sand dunes.
Beyond these natural features, the park also contains a treasure trove of Michigan history, including pioneer farmsteads, early cabins and cottages, and three U.S. life-saving service stations, including a lighthouse. In 1998, however, the park service found itself unable to care for these 200-plus historic structures and began to demolish them as they fell into disrepair.
A grass-roots effort led by local citizens resulted in the founding of PHSB. The group, an official park partner for more than 15 years, helps protect and preserve the historical resources and cultural landscapes embodied in the remnants of 19th century agriculture, logging, maritime and tourism activities in the area.
Booher said funds from the license plates sales, which will be transmitted quarterly, will go a long way to support the group and the park.
Senate Bill 91 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.