WASHINGTON, DC: Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today announced the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to protect access to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The legislation will now be sent to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
“Today’s vote is a big win for Sleeping Bear Dunes and all of Northern Michigan. After 12 years of hard work and input by local residents in Leelanau and Benzie Counties, this bill is now on its way to the president’s desk. The dunes are an amazing part of our state and they are also critical to so many jobs up here. It has been an honor to shepherd this bill through Congress and I couldn’t be happier with getting it across the finish line,” said Dr. Benishek, a lifelong resident of Upper Michigan and member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
The newly passed legislation will designate approximately 32,500 acres of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as “wilderness” areas. This bill ensures that natural features of the area will be preserved, while protecting county roads, historical structures, and access to recreation and enjoyment of the lake. The right to hunt and fish in designated wilderness areas is specifically protected in this legislation.
“This legislation was done the right way-not by guys in Washington, but by concerned citizens in Leelanau and Benzie Counties who worked together to make this possible. Once President Obama signs this important legislation into law, we will ensure that future generations will always be able to enjoy the splendor of Sleeping Bear Dunes,” added Dr. Benishek.
The same legislation passed the U.S. Senate on June 19, 2013. With the legislation now passed in both chambers of Congress, it will move to the White House for President Obama’s signature to become law.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been named by ABC’s “Good Morning America” as the most beautiful place in America. Over 1 million people visit Sleeping Bear Dunes annually, accounting for about $120 million in local spending and supporting 2,000 jobs.