For many, the name D.H. Day may not ring a bell, but his impact on conservation and community building in the Northern Michigan area cannot be overstated. Day, born in 1886, moved to the Leelanau Peninsula in the 1920s and became a significant figure in the establishment and growth of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Day’s interest in nature and preservation led him to purchase a large tract of land on the peninsula and eventually donate it to the National Park Service in the 1970s. His generosity allowed for the expansion of Sleeping Bear Dunes, which now encompasses over 71,000 acres of protected land and attracts millions of visitors each year.
In addition to his conservation efforts, Day was a champion for building community in the area. He owned and operated a general store in Glen Haven, which served as a hub for locals and visitors alike. The store sold provisions and also offered a post office, gas station, and a place for community gatherings and events.
Day’s legacy continues to live on in the Sleeping Bear Dunes community. Visitors can hike the D.H. Day Campground Trail, which winds through a forest that he helped protect. Additionally, the D.H. Day Farm, which was originally owned by Day, now hosts community events and has become a hub for local agriculture and education.
While D.H. Day may not have achieved nationwide recognition during his lifetime, his contributions to conservation and community building have left a lasting impact on Northern Michigan. We can all learn from his dedication to preserving the environment and nurturing community relationships.