On the shores of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes is already heralded as America's most beautiful scenic overlook.
A $100,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation will help extend that beauty.
Departing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday that the Sleeping Bear Dunes Heritage Trail will be extended by five miles, connecting the town of Glen Arbor north to the Port Oneida Rural Historic District.
The awards gave $12.5 million dollars to 29 projects in 20 states that seek to improve access to national parks, forests and wildlife refuges.
According to the National Parks Service, the ultimate vision for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT) is a "hard-surfaced, multi-use trail paralleling M-22 and M-109 for 27 miles through the Lakeshore" -- heaven for bikers, runners and other visitors who want to experience the park outside of their automobiles. The total project is expected to cost $10 million, with the final bill split between philanthropic grants and state and federal funding.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses 65 total miles in the northwestern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, an expanse chosen as the "Most Beautiful Place in America" by ABC's Good Morning America. Chef and author Mario Batali is one of the area's biggest boosters -- he penned a Huffington Post blog celebrating the "Sahara Desert dunes" and their "Caribbean-blue water."