A recent series on Good Morning America invited viewers to choose the "most beautiful place in America." After producers narrowed the field to 10 finalists, nearly 100,000 votes were cast on the program's website. The winner, announced on August 17, was… Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis responded to the news by saying, "It's great that a park like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which is a little off the beaten track in northern Michigan, is being recognized for its exceptional beauty."
The Director went on to note, "Six of the ten areas nominated are associated with national parks, and they represent some of the variety of special places saved by the American people in our National Park System."
National Lakeshore Superintendent Dusty Shultz was thrilled by Sleeping Bear's selection. "I am honored and feel privileged to have served at this wonderful place for ten years, and still every day reveals a new aspect of its beauty and the remarkable natural and cultural resources entrusted to our care. We thank the viewers and staff at Good Morning America for this national recognition of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore."
An ABC News spokesperson noted, "The competition was fierce, as you might imagine, but in the end, it appears those who cherish the towering dunes, sparkling waters, and deep forests of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore mobilized to best the other praiseworthy candidates."
"I think because the beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes is so accessible to people, it makes it more real to them somehow," said National Lakeshore Deputy Superintendent Tom Ulrich. "Those who visit this place develop a very personal connection to it, and those deep feelings lead people to demonstrate how much they care."