Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore is located along the northwest coast of the lower peninsula of Michigan in Leelanau County and Benzie County. This United States national lakeshore is named after a Chippewa legend of the sleeping bear.

According to the legend, long ago a great famine spread over the land. A mother bear and two famished cubs in Wisconsin gazed wistfully across the great lake at Michigan, the land of plenty. Finally hunger drove them into the water and they launched out toward the opposite shore.


After miles of swimming, the two cubs grew weary. With only twelve miles to go to reach Michigan the mother's heart was broken when she saw one babe sink and drown. With the remaining cub she struggled toward the beach, but in two more miles the second of her beloved cubs perished.

The mother reached the beach alone and crept to a resting place where she lay facing her lost loved ones. As she gazed, two beautiful islands slowly rose to mark the graves of the cubs. Impressed by the mother's determination, the Great Spirit Manitou created two islands (North and South Manitou Islands) to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear. 
 


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