• Protecting Michigan's Sand Dunes Michigan sand dunes are a resource of global significance; they are the largest assemblage of fresh water dunes in the world. There are about 250,000 acres of sand dunes in Michigan of which about 70,000 acres are classified as critical sand dune formations. The Michigan Legislature has found that the critical dune areas of this state "are a unique, irreplaceable, and fragile resource that provide significant recreational, economic, scientific, geological, scenic, botanical, educational, agricultural, and ecological benefits to the people of this state and to people from other states and countries who visit this resource".
Mining of sand is recognized as an important economic benefit to the foundry and construction industries of Michigan. Other contour changes and developmental activities in critical dunes require review at the local or state level to ensure the integrity of critical dunes are protected.
This page can be accessed as www.michigan.gov/deqsanddunes
• Amendments to the Critical Dune Area Statute
• Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection and Management, of the NREPA, as amended
The mining of Michigan Dune Sand can be traced back to at least the mid 1850’s. Coastal sands of the Muskegon area were used for the gray iron foundries that sprang up there to support the Michigan timber industry. Some of these foundries evolved into supporting the heavy equipment and national defense industries.
Michigan's most unique and fragile sand dunes are protected by minimizing the impacts of development within designated critical dune areas along the Great Lakes shoreline.