Michigan hikers, rejoice: The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to designate about half of the state's Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as federally-protected wilderness. The bill, which has already passed the Senate, will now head to President Barack Obama's desk for signature and officially become the first new wilderness area created since 2009.
The Detroit Newsreports that federal protection will now apply to approximately 32,500 acres of Sleeping Bear's forests, dunes, and beachfront on the shore of Lake Michigan. The designation has been a long time coming; park officials first proposed wilderness status for the area way back in 1981. Recreational activities such as fishing and hunting will still be permitted.