Ranger Bill Herd retired after 35 years of service to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Bill began his career with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as a seasonal interpreter in 1973 shortly after the park was established and became a permanent ranger in 1979. Over the years, he served simultaneously as interpreter, historian, paraprofessional archeologist, museum technician, and Lyle gun re-enactor. He took an active part in the park’s planning activities, always providing a thoughtful perspective. Throughout his career, he enjoyed sharing the park’s natural and cultural resources with our visitors and creating new ways to enrich their enjoyment and appreciation.
Bill helped secure protection for the many historic structures and landscapes in the lakeshore. Stories of Michigan’s maritime, logging, agricultural, and tourism-related histories are now interpreted thanks, in no small measure, to his passion for the park’s cultural resources. He identified and evaluated historic resources and authored every edition of the park’s cultural resource management plan. He recruited and led hundreds of volunteers (VIPs) over the years to the point that today they staff the Maritime Museum, the Cannery Boat Museum, and the working Blacksmith Shop in the historic village of Glen Haven each and every summer.
He also helped create two partner groups – the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear – and cofounded the largest special event in the park, the Port Oneida Fair, which is held every August at multiple farmsteads in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District and showcases historic preservation activities and the generosity and enthusiasm of park volunteers.
His interpretive programs demonstrating historic beach patrols as a U.S. Life Saving Service surfman were perhaps the most popular in the park, even when they came on cold and rainy October nights. Although the phrase may sometimes be overused, it is true in Bill’s case that the park won’t be the same without him. “
-Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Dusty Sholtz