Snowshoe & Chili — Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Fundraiser

Thanks Cherry Public House and Cherry Republic! We can’t wait to snowshoe and enjoy some chili with you all.

Many of you have been asking how you can help, this is a great way. Hope you can join us.

** Don’t have snowshoes?
You can rent them at Coastal, 6324 W. Western Ave, Glen Arbor.

government shutdown fundraiser national parks

Government Shutdown Impacts Sleeping Bear Dunes

During the shutdown of the federal government due to the lapse of appropriations, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures.

The visitor center will be closed and there will be no NPS-provided visitor services at the National Lakeshore, including restrooms, trash collection, or facilities maintenance. Services at the Platte River Campground will be discontinued as well, including snow plowing, custodial, bathrooms, showers, electricity, check-in/check-out, and reservations. Trails will remain accessible to visitors, but trailhead parking lots will not be plowed and emergency and rescue services will be limited.

During the federal government shutdown, NPS social media and websites will not be monitored or updated and so may not reflect current conditions. All park programs will be canceled until operations resume, including the guided snowshoe hikes that had been scheduled during Christmas week and early January.

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes will continue to groom and maintain the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail through the shutdown. For information on the Heritage Trail, watch the Heritage Trail Winter Page on our web site.

For updates on the shutdown, please visit

Friends Annual Report – 2018

This year we provided about $114,000 in support of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Our 618 members also provided over 11,000 volunteer hours. As an all-volunteer organization, we have very low overhead (only 4%). Any donation we receive for a specific project goes 100% to supporting that project. If you are not already a member, consider joining. All you have to do is make a donation or sign up as a volunteer!

Fund Development Director Named

Jim Gribble has been named Fund Development Director for Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Jim will be responsible for the development and implementation of all fundraising efforts for the organization.

Gribble brings decades of marketing experience and business acumen to the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and this newly formed role. “We have long recognized the need for an individual to take a leadership role for our fundraising efforts,” explained Kerry Kelly, the Friends Chair. “We simply could not exist and achieve our ongoing mission without the financial support we receive through grants and donations from individuals and businesses, and I look forward to Jim establishing a cohesive and effective fundraising strategy across our many initiatives and programs.”

In his role as Fund Development Director, Gribble will work with the Board of Directors and Program Coordinators to develop and implement fundraising programs to assure sufficient financial support for operations and development programs.

During the first part of his professional career, Gribble gained a wealth of experience from running profit centers at large direct marketing organizations. He went on to run a marketing services agency for many years. In 2016, he decided to focus on contributing to the resurgence of manufacturing in the U. S. and now works exclusively for small manufacturers as a fractional Marketing Director through his company, Marketing 4 Manufacturers.

On the personal side, Jim Gribble is a new Michigander, having recently moved from Maryland to his home on the Platte River adjacent to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “After vacationing here a few years ago, I was amazed by the natural beauty of the area. My sister and her husband bought a place in Honor last year and with my daughter away at school, I decided to live out my dream of living in nature. After seeing and experiencing firsthand the amazing work the Friends do with the Heritage Trail and learning more about the many other projects, both in place and planned for the future, I was excited about the possibility of getting involved. I very much look forward to contributing to the Friends mission.”

We will be looking for people to join our Fund Development and Marketing team, so if you are interested in helping, please contact Jim at or call 231-227-1164.

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.

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