Each year thousands of people use the over 100 miles of trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to experience the variety of natural ecosystems that exist in the Park and to see beautiful vistas that are inaccessible from a vehicle. Downed trees or branches due to high wind, snow or ice sometimes block the trail, or erosion can cut gullies into the making a hike more difficult or dangerous. Trail adopters commit to hiking their trail about once each month to clear small obstructions by hand or with hand tools and to communicate larger obstructions or erosion to Park Trails and Roads Maintenance. Also, even though most people who hike our trails are very aware of the problem of litter and leave the trail in the same or better condition than they found it, having volunteers regularly hike the trails assures that they will be clean and in good condition for future visitors.
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes in cooperation with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has developed an Adopt-A-Trail program to provide regular monitoring and clean-up of the trails within the Park. To become an Adopt-A-Trail volunteer, you or your group must commit to hiking your trail about once each month during the spring, summer and fall.
At this time, the following trails are in the Adopt-A-Trail program:
- Old Indian Trail
- Platte Plains Trails (Lasso Loop, White Pine, Bass/Deer Lake, Otter Creek Loop, Otter Creek West, Otter Creek East)
- Empire Bluff
- Shauger Hill
- Windy Moraine
- Dune Loop
- Alligator Hill
- Valley View
- Bay View
- Pyramid Point
- Good Harbor Bay
Here is how you can become an Adopt-A-Trail Volunteer:
- Contact the Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator, Chuck Schaeffer (email@example.com) to indicate your interest. The Coordinator will help you select a trail and help you through the process of getting signed up and obtain the materials you will need including an Annual Pass to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
- Sign up as a Volunteer-in-Park (VIP) at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Download a VIP Application Form and take it to the Visitor Center in Empire. If you are already a VIP, we will add this job to your existing VIP profile.
- After each time you hike your trail, you will send an e-mail to the Park Volunteer Coordinator Matthew Mohrman (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a copy to Chuck Schaeffer (email@example.com) to report the hours you spent.
Description of Project:
The volunteer will patrol park trails, perform low level maintenance, watch for any problem areas and report them to park staff.
Duties & Responsibilities of volunteers:
The volunteer will patrol the trails to provide a situation report including windfalls, drainage problems, erosion, vandalism, and litter. The volunteer may use hand tools to cut low-hanging limbs or branches and small downed trees that block the trail.
The volunteer may also pick up litter, remove leaves and debris from drainage’s, and remove sand from boardwalks. The volunteer will provide a report of trail conditions to the Roads and Trails Foreman via e-mail with a copy to the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Adopt-A-Trail coordinator. The volunteer will provide a report of hours worked to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anticipated Results & Benefits of Project:
Park trails will receive more frequent scrutiny than is possible through visits by paid staff. Problems will be corrected on the spot, or else reported to the appropriate staff member for prompt attention. The presence of volunteers on the trails will provide a positive influence on visitor behavior.
Skills and Abilities Needed by Volunteers:
The volunteer’s physical conditioning must be good enough to permit walking moderate distances. A volunteer using hand tools must be accustomed to doing such work to prevent injury. The volunteer needs to be able to work alone without frequent supervision and to exercise good judgment.
Limitations for Volunteers:
Volunteers may not use power tools for trail maintenance without supervision from park staff.
Minimum Time Commitment of Volunteers:
Volunteers are asked to hike their trail once per month from April through October.
Park Employee Who Will Supervise Volunteers:
The Roads and Trails Foreman will be in charge of the volunteers assisted by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Contact information: Ross Toles email@example.com 231-326-5834.