EMPIRE, Mich. (AP)
- President Barack Obama has signed a bill designating 32,557 acres of
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as protected federal wilderness, the
final step for a proposal that has been debated locally for more than a
The measure cleared
the U.S. House in March and the Senate last June. The White House says Obama
signed it Thursday.
The Sleeping Bear
Dunes federal park is headquartered at Empire along Lake Michigan in the
northern Lower Peninsula. It's famed for towering sand dunes, some of which
rise hundreds of feet above the shoreline.
The area is the
first land to receive wilderness status from Congress in five years. About
1.4 million people visited the lakeshore in 2011, pumping about $120 million
into the local economy.