"You are an inspiration to me! . . . I hope your efforts to save the dunescape in Saugatuck from plutocratic rapine are successful. Bless you for fighting the good fight." –Stephanie Mills, author of Epicurean Simplicity and In Service of the Wild
Since 2001, I've been actively involved in local efforts (by hundreds of people) to preserve what's special about the Saugatuck Dunes—twenty-five hundred acres of lightly settled duneland that lies along Lake Michigan and the Kalamazoo River between Douglas and Holland, Michigan. These rare dunes hold the outskirts of two historical small towns, at least one ghost town, an internationally renowned art school and a host of ecological wonders. They do not look or feel quite like anywhere else—and they are a day trip away from several major cities. Their endurance in the 21st century is something of a miracle.
In 2002, I was co-winner of the Michigan Environmental Council’s Petoskey Prize for my work to preserve Saugatuck Dunes State Park. In 2006, I helped found the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. And in 2009, I was awarded a Mesa Refuge Fellowship which funded my environmental writer's retreat in Point Reyes Station, California.
Select Publications by Alison Swan on the Saugatuck Dunes
Enough, Michigan Quarterly Review
Dunes Decision Troubling for All, Bridge