Benishek advances Sleeping Bear Dunes legislation

From Dr. Dan Benishek’s Office:

WASHINGTON, DC: Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) and witnesses from Northern Michigan spoke in support of his legislation to protect the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at a key Congressional hearing held by the House Committee on Natural Resources on Tuesday.  Witnesses at the hearing included Jeannette Feeheley of Benzie County.

“Jeannette’s comments provided local input to the committee on the importance of this effort.  This plan was developed by local stakeholders up here in Northern Michigan, not by guys in Washington.  That’s key to getting this done.  Sleeping Bear Dunes is really one of Northern Michigan’s natural treasures and I want to see it protected for future generations.  Today’s hearing moved the process one step closer to getting done,” said Dr. Benishek, a lifelong resident of Northern Michigan and Michigan’s only member of the Natural Resources Committee.

Dr. Benishek’s legislation would 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.

“The bill is a win-win for those who like wilderness and those who want public access and varied recreation.  The local economy needs this bill.  The business community joins our citizens’ group in urging your support,” said Jeannette Feeheley, urging the committee to support the legislation during the hearing.

In 2011, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was named by ABC’s Good Morning America as the most beautiful place in America.  Last year, over 1.3 million people visited Sleeping Bear Dunes, accounting for about $120 million in local spending and supporting 2,000 jobs.