In only a few short years, Huron County Michigan went from a sleepy rural county internationally known for its navy beans and sugar beets to the premier wind energy and animal product producer in Michigan. Hundreds of wind turbines dot the county primarily along the western edge facing Saginaw Bay. Wind and Factory Farms have changed the landscape and threatens to permanently change the culture of this agricultural and tourist area north of Detroit. Currently there are over 300 wind turbines in place. If plans continue at the current rate, Huron County will become dense industrial energy corridor consisting of over 1200 wind turbines over 300 foot tall converting wind for an energy hungry economy. In addition, industrial farming has taken over the community with at least 21 factory farms holding in estimated 800,000 animals in production with 24×7 operations. The most in Michigan.
Wind energy and CAFOs have radically changed the landscape of the Upper Thumb. Traveling up Pinnebog Road off of M-53 I always enjoyed my first glimpse of the sunset of a Friday night has we neared our cottage after a long week working in Detroit. Those memories are gone. Between the CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and the Wind Turbines the remote nature of the Upper Thumb’s interior is now under the consistent glare of lights and towers. The stench of holding ponds with tons of manure from 1000’s of penned up animals is more prevalent then ever. These are not your idealistic 4-H farms, but industrial operations. The publication Food & Water Watch classify s Huron County is one of the few extreme areas in the nation for factory farms.
Huron County is located at the northern tip of the Thumb and is surrounded on three sides by water – Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. With over 90 miles of shoreline tourism from nearby Detroit, Flint and Saginaw. Huron County’s most important industry is agriculture, as with most of the other Thumb counties. However this designation will undoubtedly change was this area becomes an industrial wind energy zone with over 1600 Mega Watts of electricity produced annually.
The park first opened as a county park in 1925. In 1927 the state acquired the property and called it Huron State Park. In 1944, the park was renamed in honor of Albert E. Sleeper, governor of Michigan (1917-1920) and resident of Huron County, who signed into law the statute that created the state park system.
Sleeper State Park is 723 acres of forest, wetlands, sandy beach and dunes located on the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. Visitors can watch both sunrises and sunsets on the bay, relax in the shade and seclusion of the campground or roam the trails of the ancient dune forests. Camping April through October.