Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Ambassadors are volunteers who ride, walk, or ski the SBHT on a regular basis. They wear a bright orange vest that identifies them as an Ambassador, and they are available to answer trail user questions and provide directions or other help to our visitors. Ambassadors model good trail etiquette and report any trail maintenance issues to the Trail Crew.
Trail Ambassador Duties:
You are representatives of the National Park to visitors using the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, so do your best to help our visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience. You are also our eyes and ears on the trail to identify issues that we need to address.
- Walk/Bike/Ski trail regularly. Patrol the whole trail or a portion. There is no set schedule, so patrol when it is convenient for you.
- Wear your orange Ambassador vest. This identifies you as a Trail Ambassador and visitors will know you are someone they can ask questions.
- Follow Trail Etiquette (below) and traffic rules (especially STOP signs on the trail). We want to lead by example.
- Carry a park map and trail map to assist visitors with directions. That is one of the most frequently asked questions, “Where am I? How do I get to…?”
- Be friendly, assist trail users where needed, respond to questions and engage people in conversation. You know more than most of our visitors about the area, so point out highlights and special places you like or events that are happening in the Park.
- As you are riding the trail, be aware of your location, because you might need to tell someone where you are (like emergency services).
- If a trail user has a mechanical issue that you can not fix, contact the Cyclery. (phone = 231-334-4420)
- Monitor the trail for minor as well as major maintenance issues. Ambassadors are not responsible for attending to any maintenance other than minor clean up. They are only responsible for reporting the issue via an online reporting form. Once the maintenance request has been reported, it will be evaluated and taken care of by the Trail Crew.
- Report maintenance items and your volunteer hours through our short online form after each patrol. Even if you found the trail to be in perfect condition, we want to have your report. It helps us keep track of how often we have Ambassadors on the trail.
- To make a report, go to http://friendsofsleepingbear.org and click on the VOLUNTEER button on the right side of the page. Then select the link for Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.
- In addition to filling out the online form, if you think the maintenance problem needs immediate attention, send a text message to either Rick Schanhals (231.638.1589) or Mary Peterson (248-762-8977). Describe the issue and where it is located on the trail, what time you saw it, and if you have more information.
- For safety or security issues, which require emergency response, dial 911 and work with the emergency dispatcher. Then call your Trail Crew or SBHT Ambassador Manager. If there is an incident on the trail, try to capture any issues with pictures if possible. We do want all safety incidents reported.
- Stay to the RIGHT, alert others when passing on their left.
- DO NOT BLOCK the trail when stopped – move to the side.
- Cyclists ride single file when other users are present.
- Please wear a helmet for your safety.
- Dispose of all trash and animal waste in trash receptacles.
- Stay on the trail – respect plants and wildlife.
- Respect Private Property – stay on the trail.
Some of our Trail Ambassadors are also members of the Trail Crew, who perform regular maintenance on the trail. That includes blowing leaves and debris from the trail, removing trees that fall over the trail, repairing erosion issues, and grooming the trail for cross-country skiing in the winter. Trail Crew members receive additional training and are assigned a regular work schedule with other Crew members on a rotation of about once a month.
Trail Crew Duties:
- Trail Crew volunteers are responsible for keeping the trail safe for all users by maintaining trail shoulder and operating a blower to keep trail clear from debris and leaves. The crew volunteers will also remove trees and branches from trail with chainsaw and other equipment, as needed. If volunteering in the winter, you could be operating a snow groomer preparing the trail for cross-country skiing.
- Trail Crew members are scheduled to be on-duty on a regular basis. Typically, four crew members are assigned per week and coordinate a maintenance schedule for that week depending on the weather and work to be done.
- It is very important to keep track and report your volunteer hours including transit time to and from the trail. Report the hours worked on the form located on a clipboard at the Maintenance garage in Glen Haven.
- Following each task, Trail Crew members are responsible to complete maintenance checklists depending on the equipment they used.
Click on the link to download a pdf version the Trail Ambassador Duties – includes contact information to report safety or maintenance issues. Trail Ambassador Duties – May 2016.