Monday, August 27, 2012

SLEEPING BEAR HERITAGE TRAIL: A trail for generations

Cyclists explore the newest section of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.
Note the shelf fungus on the back side of the beech tree.
photo by Jonathan Schechter

Work continues on the the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, a 27 mile long paved trail that will run from the southern edge of  Leelanau County (Michigan) through the magical world of forests and sand dunes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to Good Harbor Bay when complete. In addition to the obvious pleasure of peddling in a wonderland of woods, lakes, streams and historic farms the trail offers improved connectivity to natural features and local businesses.   A few days ago I peddled from the famed Dune Climb northward and then east to Glen Haven Historic Village and then further east on the newest section that takes  walkers, hikers, cyclists and even wheel chair users through the D.H. Day Campground and a few miles beyond into a mature forest.
I took great pleasure in dismounting and walking quietly among the giants in a land carved by the glaciers and reshaped by shifting sand dunes.
 Moments after I snapped this photo a pileated woodpecker blasted away on an old snag  high above on the edge of a forested dune. Come winter I will return with cross country skis and explore this trail once more in search of tracks of more cryptic creatures. All outdoor recreationists and nature lovers should be thrilled about this new trail that gives a safe and exciting car free route to explore sections of the National Lakeshore and small neighboring towns.

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