TRAVERSE CITY — Legislation designating 32,500 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as a wilderness area is expected to jump its final hurdle on Monday before heading to the president’s desk.
“People in Benzie and Leelanau Counties developed this legislation to be sure we’ll have access to the beaches and to the roads within the park and make sure it’s available for generations to come, and to be sure that many of the lands continue to be open to hunters and fishermen,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-1st District. “We’re excited to be able to shepherd a bill that was developed locally. This is the ideal way federal land management should occur, with input from the local communities.”
Benishek introduced the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act on Jan. 4, 2013. He heard no opposition to the legislation and expects it to be passed with a voice vote.
Jeannette Feeheley, president of Citizens for Access to the Lakeshore, worked on the wilderness effort since 2002. She became involved because her neighbors in Benzie and Leelanau counties beleived National Parks Service officials weren’t listening to them.
She’s happy to see the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act make progress in Congress.
“I think it takes care of the problems we had tried to resolve back in 2002,” Feeheley said.