Kettles Trail Construction

The new Kettles Trail, located in the Bow Lakes region of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is under construction. This trail will be approximately 3.5 miles long with the first segment being universally accessible from the parking lot to an overlook. The trail then goes through a hilly meadow and into a forested glacial moraine with steep kettle moraine and some kettle bogs.

Trail-building is being done by hand, and the project is being led by National Park Service staff and supported by two youth corps (YouthWork and SEEDS) as well as by volunteers from Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Funding for this project is provided by Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and grants from the American Hiking Society and the Biederman Family Foundation.

As of September 1, 2018 the accessible segment of the trail is nearly complete, and the trail in the forest is approximately half done. Learn more.

Platte River Clean-up

A group of volunteers led by Ross Stephenson and Denny Becker paddled the lower Platte River on June 13 to clean up litter. The river is ready for the season! Paddlers, tubers, and drifters welcome! If you want to join our Adopt-A-River team for the Platte and Crystal Rivers, click our web site. It’s fun – “paddling with a purpose”!

A big thanks to our presenters and helpers: Matt Mohrman and Nicole Schafer of the Ranger Staff, Lois Goldstein from the Traverse Area Paddle Club,  Kyle Orr of the Riverside, and Doug Baker of the “Friends”.  Many items were collected and the sun appeared as the day continued. 

The next River clean-up is planned for July 10 at the Platte River. Click here for more information.

River Rangers

We want to really boost our River Ranger program in 2018 to keep the Platte and Crystal Rivers clean and safe. These two rivers get a lot of visitor use during the summer months with canoes, kayaks, and tubes floating the rivers. Unfortunately, with this level of use comes the associated litter, cans, and bottles. While this is usually, unintentional, it does happen, and our River Rangers are needed to keep the rivers looking pristine!

There will be several river clean-up events listed below. In addition, we would like to sign up as many people as possible to patrol the rivers on their own schedule for the Adopt-A-River program.

  • May 21 @ 10 AM – Crystal River Outfitters in Glen Arbor – Spring River Clean-up and Adopt-A-River on the Crystal River
  • June 13 @ 10 AM – Platte River Picnic Area – Spring River Clean-up and Adopt-A-River on the Platte River
  • July 10 @ 9:30 AM – Platte River Picnic Area – River Clean-up on the Platte River – sponsored by the Traverse Area Paddle Club

Click here for more information about these events.

The Traverse Area Paddle Club is also sponsoring an Introduction to Kayaking and Safety Training meeting at the US Coast Guard Station Tuesday, June 12 @ 6:00 PM. For more details and to register, click here.

Spring Training and Events

Saturday, May 19 @ 1:00 PM at the DH Day Log Cabin along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail in DH Day campground will host volunteer training for Adopt-A-Beach, Adopt-A-River, Adopt-A-Trail, and BARK Rangers. Volunteers will get general orientation to the Park and how to interact with Park visitors and then get specific training and equipment for the volunteer program they choose to participate in.

More information.

Volunteer Bookkeeper Needed

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is an all-volunteer organization. While most of us think about the Park in summer, our organization is active all year long. And while we may think of volunteer jobs involving biking, hiking, or walking beaches, there are a lot of administrative jobs that are really important to keep our organization running smoothly. 
One of those jobs is Bookkeeper. This job involves paying bills, keeping records online in QuickBooks, and creating reports for our Board of Directors. It requires about 8 hours per week, but this varies throughout the year. Our current Bookkeeper is planning to retire at the end of 2018, so we need someone to take over this job – and hopefully, someone to act as an Assistant Bookkeeper when the Bookkeeper is on vacation or busy with other duties. We are fortunate to have several months to allow for training and transition.
Click here to read the job description.

If you are interested, let us know by filling out the Volunteer Registration Form. Just check the Bookkeeping box. OR e-mail our volunteer coordinator.

SBHT Trail Closure

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail will be closed April 17-19 between Glen Haven and the Dune Climb while the Park’s Roads, Trails, and Grounds crew and a team of volunteers remove hazard trees near the trail. These are dead trees that are close to the trail and are likely to fall across the trail.

When you see a TRAIL CLOSED sign, please do not enter. These are placed there for your safety during hazardous work.

Archeology Survey Volunteers Needed

This spring, the National Park Service will conduct a prescribed burn near Bass Lake in Benzie County sometime between April 25th and May 25th, depending on weather. Prior to the burn, we will be conducting an archaeological survey in the burn site to locate any prehistoric or historic artifacts. This survey will be led by Dr. Ashley Barnett from the Midwest Archaeological Center (NPS). A small team will be working with Ashley, and they would like one volunteer to assist each of the following days: April 10 – 13 and April 16 – 20. The work will begin about 8:30 AM and go until 4:00 PM, so plan to bring a lunch and water.

This is a great opportunity to get out into the wilderness and participate in prep work prior to the park’s first-ever prescribed burn. 

Contact Jason Berg by e-mail

A Busy Year – 2017 Accomplishments

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes spent over $70,000 in support of a wide variety of projects at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The largest projects in 2017 were maintenance of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Beach and Trail Accessibility Projects, and the snowshoe program for 4th graders. Click here to see our annual newsletter that describes some of the projects and includes a list of projects we funded. For those of you who want more details about all of the projects we funded in 2016, click here.

What’s in the Plan for 2018?

We will definitely be busy in 2018 with our ongoing volunteer programs, but there will also be several big projects that we will need your help with. We will need volunteers AND donations to accomplish these big goals next year.

  • Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail – Annual Operations & Maintenance ($25,000)
  • Kettles Trail in the Bow Lakes Region of the Park – We will be building trail and parking lot in 2018 ($40,000). The first part of the trail from the parking lot to an overlook at the nearest kettle will be accessible (packed crushed stone).
  • A new accessible walkway and platform at the Maritime Museum beach ($15,000).
  • Replacement of the dock at Bass Lake (Benzie County) and accessible trail near the lake.
  • Supporting the Park’s Environmental Assessment for the Echo Valley Mt. Bike Trail.

Click here to make a donation for one of these projects or our General Fund.

Exploring Track Chairs

A major area of emphasis for Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is to make Park beaches and trails more accessible to people of varying abilities. We know that it is often difficult for someone to get from the parking lot to a beach or a scenic overlook. So we’ve been exploring a variety of approaches.

We have been working with the Park’s Roads and Trails crew to design a hard walkway from the handicap parking area at the Cannery in Glen Haven to the beach. This will allow families with small children, older visitors, and those in wheelchairs an easier way to get down to the beach. This walkway will be installed before Labor Day.

Track Chairs on Alligator Hill Trail

Track Chairs on Alligator Hill Trail

Trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes often have steep slopes or sandy soil, which makes it difficult for some visitors to experience the natural environment or get to some of the spectacular vistas that others can hike to. We’ve been exploring the possibility of purchasing a track chair to make available to visitors with limited mobility. We will be working with Park management to see if we can set up a system to make one of these chairs available in the Park by 2018.

Island View from Alligator Hill Trail with Track Chair

Island View: Alligator Hill Trail on Track Chair








Videos Describe Friends of Sleeping Bear

Tired of reading? Why not watch some short video clips that describe Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes? This video playlist was developed by Libby Graves, our summer intern for social media. In a couple of minutes, you get an overview of some of our major projects and learn ways you can become an active member.


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