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The Life of the Sleeping Bear

Our new book, The Life of the Sleeping Bear, celebrates the world-famous Sleeping Bear Dunes area in Northwest Lower Michigan — its land and people — from prehistoric to modern times. This life is reconstructed through the views from, and the history of, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, one of the most popular attractions in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, drawing more than a million visits each year.

Both instructive and entertaining, the book contains vivid pictures, fascinating facts, and helpful graphics and maps to provide a rich and colorful virtual tour of one of the world’s most precious geological and environmental areas.

Full color with over 125 photographs

  • The Original Scenic Drive

  • Learn the story of Pierce Stocking and his "Great Lakes Gardens."
  • The Sleeping Bear Dunes Area

  • Understand how glacial activity formed the lakes and dunes.
  • History and Economic Development

  • See how the area progressed from the time of the First People, the Anishinaabek, through shipping and logging to agriculture and tourism.
  • The Making of the Dunes

  • Understand the processes of dune formation and ecological succession.
  • Lake Michigan

  • Appreciate the awesome beauty and daunting challenges of Lake Michigan.

The Original Scenic Drive

Learn the story of Pierce Stocking and his "Great Lakes Gardens."

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Area

Understand how glacial activity formed the lakes and dunes.

History and Economic Development

See how the area progressed from the time of the First People, the Anishinaabek, through shipping and logging to agriculture and tourism.

The Making of the Dunes

Understand the processes of dune formation and ecological succession.

Lake Michigan

Appreciate the awesome beauty and daunting challenges of Lake Michigan.

What People Are Saying about this Book

I've been living in the grasp of the sleeping bear dunes all my life, and I didn't know half the information packed in this guidebook. 

Did I find this book valuable? Yes. 

Engrossing? Yes. 

Beautiful? Yes. 

Full of history and fact? Yes!  

Congratulations to all involved in creating this book, so aptly called, The Life of the Sleeping Bear.  You've covered miles and miles and hundreds of years in one excellent book.

Bob Sutherland, President, Cherry Republic, Glen Arbor, MI

This beautiful book will inform and entertain the reader about the history, ecology and development of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. 

From the history of the First People to Maritime History. From the making of the dunes to the geology of the Glen Lakes area and the history and development of the crown jewel of the Park, Pierce Stocking Drive. 

It’s a gem of a book sure to answer all of the questions about the area, as well as delight anyone interested in this magical place.

Sue Boucher, Owner, Cottage Book Shop, Glen Arbor, MI

A history and celebration of the Dunes and surrounding area, loaded with photos and effective graphics.   Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, First Peoples, the impact of D.H. Day on the modern day tourism industry, the flora and fauna, the lakes and islands…it’s all here presented in an easy-to-read format, sure to leave even the most knowledgeable Sleeping Bear Dunes fans a little smarter, and more appreciative of this American treasure.

Ron Jolly, morning host WTCM AM 580, Traverse City, MI, author of the Northern Michigan Almanac (University of Michigan Press, 2005)

I love this book.  It has something for everyone, the historian, the environmentalist, the traveler, the photographer and perhaps most of all, the person who has lived or visited here almost forever and never realized the true stories of “The Life of the Sleeping Bear.”  How fortunate we are for all that this book brings to us.

Barbara Reed, Owner, The Bookstore, Frankfort, MI

In nearly seven decades of visiting the Sleeping Bear dunes, I have read every text written about this natural wonder.  They are all excellent works.  This book, though, offers something different.

It tells the story of this magnificent work of nature from the beginnings of the dunes 10,000 years ago and leads the viewer on a historic and enjoyable journey to today.  The book explains the formation of the dunes and tells of the First People, the creation of the first scenic drive, the authorization of the National Lakeshore, and the state of the dunes today. 

The Life of the Sleeping Bear is a sweep of time that is well told and visually engaging.  This book needs to be in the library of anyone who loves the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Patrick J Barry, Jr. Adjunct Professor School of Communication, Media and Theatre Arts, Eastern Michigan University

Oh, such a treasure this book is! Whether you are a lifelong lover of the National Lakeshore, or are just learning to appreciate the many wonders that she holds, you will cherish this collection of historical perspectives, stories, anecdotes and photos.  (Many of them never before seen by the public)

This is a book to enjoy reading by the fireplace, leaving out on the coffee table for guests, or using as a source for unforgettable bedtime stories. 

If the rating system is one to five stars, I give it a six.   It is a true keepsake.

Colleen Wares, Newstalk 580, WTCM, Traverse City, MI

The latest book, The Life on the Sleeping Bear, is by far the most complete on this subject.  It locates and explains the unique features of the dunes and places them in the context of their rich social, cultural, environmental, ecological, geologic and recreational history.  No book has attempted this broad range and synopses of information, and it stands on the shoulders of all that have proceeded it.  

All that the SBDNL offers is included to enrich visitors’ and residents’ appreciation and experience of the dunes.  The book is well conceived, organized, written, and produced with wonderful photographs.  As partners in the stewardship of the dunes, Friends of the Sleeping Bear Dunes are the perfect group to have undertaken this great contribution, and it will be appreciated for years to come.

Barbara Siepker, Leelanau County historian, author, and publisher

The Life of the Sleeping Bear tells the story of this unique park in a way that will resonate with those who know and love Sleeping Bear Dunes and those who have yet to make their first visit. 

The beautiful writing and photography come together to capture this dynamic landscape and why it means so much to people. It is the rare book that makes you want to not only visit, but explore our national parks.

Lynn McClure, Senior Director Regional Operations, National Parks Conservation Association

There is thoughtfulness in the organization of this book, demonstrated by the inclusion of ecology ‘watch’ sections in each chapter as well as maps, local history, cultural history and a deep appreciation for the natural wonders of water, winds, sky and sand that is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  

Filled with fascinating details that we love to read when we hungrily seek information about an area we love, this lovely book is nicely organized with headers at the top of the page, indicating the corresponding stop on the Scenic Drive. Reading this book made me fall in love with this part of our country all over again. We who live here are indeed, blessed.

Tina Greene-Bevington, Owner, Bay Books, Suttons Bay, MI