The State of Michigan is defined by its natural resources that are some of the most scenic and rare on the planet. One glimpse at a map establishes that Michigan is like no other state in our nation. With over 3,200 miles of shoreline along the Great Lakes, it is this thin strip of land that truly magnifies the depth of Michigan’s unrivaled outdoor attributes. Within this zone a rare combination of glacial history, wind, water, and vegetation came together to create the largest accumulation of freshwater coastal dunes in the world. These extraordinary dune features set the stage for a distinctive mix of ecological communities that support rare and endangered species, irreplaceable habitats and dynamic biological interactions.
With over 70,000 acres of critical dunes along the lakeshore, the idea that an individual action could determine the future and quality of the landscape is almost unimaginable. Yet it is the individual lot and single management activity that will truly determine protection of these rare and fragile ecological systems.
Building in Michigan’s Critical Dunes is regulated by the Sand Dune Protection Management Act.
Critical Dunes Permit Process
In order to support local communities and individual landowners in creating sustainable development, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality utilizes a permit process to regulate activities in critical dune areas and assure the protection of these irreplaceable natural resources for present and future generations. As part of this permit process, the Department identified three measures to increase observance of the Sand Dune Protection and Management Act. These measures may require associated fees, and include: