Bike Repair Stations

Bike Repair Station at D.H.Day Campground

The Friends have received approval from the Park to install three bike repair stations on the Heritage Trail. The Park has already installed one at DH Day Campground and has proved to be a valuable tool for bikers who frequent the trail.
We plan to install the stations at 
the following locations:

  • Glen Haven – near the Garage
  • Dune Climb – near the bike racks and Donor Plaza
  • Voice Road / Bar Lake Road Trailhead – across the trail from the trailhead kiosk

These locations are very popular starting points for many trail users. Having repair stations where trail users are just getting their bikes ready to go on the trail will make it possible for them to make minor repairs or adjustments before they get on the trail.

Each station costs about $1,540. Please consider donating toward one today – or buy a whole station! Just indicate the donation is for Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and add a comment saying “For bike repair stations.”

Announcing Picture Perfect Book

Share your Park photos for Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear: An Album of Shared Memories Celebrating the National Lakeshore

Would you like to have your best Sleeping Bear Dunes area photos considered for a new book? The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is creating a crowdsourced book chronicling the history of our Park area through photos and text in celebration of the Park’s 50th Anniversary. 

We are accepting photos through our Submission Page by March 1, 2021.

We have traveled here, sometimes for generations, and created memories of family vacations, weddings, canoe trips, campfires, and hikes. Some of us had family homes and farms that are now part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. What is your story?

For more information – visit the Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear Book information page. 

Friends Picture Perfect call for photos PR web version Press Release


River Count Volunteers Needed

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is seeking volunteers to assist with conducting its bi-annual River Use Counts on the Crystal and Platte Rivers. River use counts are conducted every other year to document park visitors’ enjoyment of these unique natural resources. Information collected helps park officials to better understand recreational use of the rivers and how to best preserve the outstanding habitat they provide.

Volunteers will be asked to commit to a five to six hour shift, counting the number of visitors that pass by a given spot on each river. This is the perfect opportunity to relax in the great outdoors and enjoy a good book.
We are looking for volunteers who can assist with any one of the following days/shifts:


Crystal River

  • Saturday, August 1 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
  • Tuesday, August 4 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
  • Wednesday, August 5 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)

Platte River

  • Friday, July 31 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
  • Saturday, August 1 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
  • Wednesday, August 5 (9:00 am to 2:00 pm) and (1:00 pm to 7:00 pm)

If you would like to assist the park in this effort, or would like more information, please contact Renee Babiarz at or (231) 326-4762

Adopt-A-River Clean Up June 24

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Adopt-A-River Clean Up scheduled June 24th. 
We are back on the water, come join the fun! 
We will begin with a brief welcome and orientation followed by the river cleanup. You may bring your own kayak or  Riverside Canoe Livery  will provide you with one, please email the program coordinator listed below to RSVP.
Transportation to the “put in” location will be provided.
If you have a “Friends” vest and litter gitter, please bring them with you. If not, we will have some available for use.
Please bring a mask which will be required while being transported in the transportation vehicles. The “put in” location is at the Canoe/kayak access point at Lake Michigan Rd. and Hwy 22. 
Date: June 24th: 10 am 
Location: Meet at the Canoe/kayak access point at Lake Michigan Rd. and Hwy 22
Any needed equipment and transportation will be provided by Riverside Canoe/Kayak Livery.
Pizza will be provided for all volunteers at Sue’s Riverfront, which has outside seating.
Do not attend the cleanup if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus. 
You must fill out the daily self-assessment checklist BEFORE you come into the park to participate:
If you are not currently a member of the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, please fill out the Friends Volunteer Registration Form and Park volunteer service agreement available for you to sign prior to attending the river clean up.
Please email me ( to let us know if you will be attending the river cleanup and if you need a kayak. We need this information to plan transportation requirements.

Looking forward to seeing you on June 24th!!

Summer Volunteer Training

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Hosts Volunteer Training Sessions through Zoom.
Join the annual Friends volunteer training zoom session for registered Friends members. Presenters will include speakers from the Park Interpretive and Law Enforcement divisions as well as Chairpersons for different volunteer positions. Park staff will address questions about volunteering in the Park during COVID restrictions.
Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-River Orientation: Thursday, June 4 at 2:00 pm.
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Ambassadors, Adopt-a-Trail, and Trail Crew Orientation, Thursday, June 4th at 4:00 pm.
Watch your email for a zoom invitation and instructions, coming soon!
Anyone who is not a current Friends member can apply by filling out the application form through the Friends website:
For more information, email Mary Peterson at 
We are still seeking a few special Friends with specific talents and good organizational skills who want to join our team: Membership Record Manager and Fund Development Director positions are currently open. 
For more information, visit our previous post:

Winter Snowshoe Hikes

The National Park will be holding weekly Ranger-led Snowshoe hikes in the park.

There will be two hikes each Saturday, one for beginners called the Snowshoe Saunter and one for more experienced snowshoe hikers called the Snowshoe Trek.

Reservations are required but snowshoes are not and will be loaned at no charge to participants. For more information and learn more about the events on the park’s website: and to make a reservation for a hike, Please call 231-326-4700, extension 5010.


Weekly Snowshoe Hikes

Date: Saturdays 

Time: 1:00 PM

Location: Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire

Purchase our book, The Life of the Sleeping Bear

The Life of the Sleeping Bear celebrates the world-famous Sleeping Bear Dunes area — its land and people — from prehistoric to modern times. Blending art, history, and science, the book contains vivid pictures, fascinating facts, and helpful graphics and maps to provide a rich and colorful tour of this precious geological and environmental area.
Find out more information about the book here

Kettles Trail Update

Work on the new Kettles Trail has been completed for this year. We have a few more things to add in 2020 – an interpretive overlook at the bog, and an interpretive sign and bench at the end of the Accessible portion of the trail. 

The trailhead is located on Baatz Road near Fritz Road, and you are invited to stop by and hike this new addition to the portfolio of hiking trails at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! A map of trailhead location, trail map, and other info about the trail is available on the Kettles Trail page.

Planning and construction of this new 3-mile long hiking trail was a joint effort between Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore management and staff, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, YouthWork youth corps, SEEDS youth corps, and many volunteers! This year we had a volunteer work day in early June to finish the parking lot and work on the accessible portion of the trail.

Volunteers plant grass seed around the new parking lot.

A YouthWork crew worked alongside the NPS crew for the entire month of August. They improved the accessible portion of trail and built the bench-cut trail on the north end of the trail loop, which travels along a steep hillside with a bog way down below. They had to remove 9 huge stumps (by hand) to create this portion of the trail! 

YouthWork had a crew of 3 team leaders and 7 different members that participated in the Kettles Trail project. All of them learned a lot about trail design and really worked hard. Those 7 members logged hours towards educational awards, which in total amounted to $10,000 in scholarships. The YouthWork program is affiliated with AmeriCorps and we are happy to be able to support this important program.

Some of the YouthWork crew

New Benches installed on Heritage Trail

Have you noticed some new benches along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT)?  We just installed 8 new benches, bringing the total to 14.

After the first section of the SBHT was built in 2012, we started asking trail users what we could do to improve their trail experience. The most frequent request was for more benches along the trail – especially between Glen Arbor and the Dune Climb.

Volunteers install the first bench in 2015 in Glen Haven.

Leonard Marszalek worked with TART Trails and Park staff to develop a design for benches that would be sturdy and require little maintenance and to get the locations approved by the Park. Leonard and Ken Rosiek, one of our Heritage Trail Ambassador volunteers, designed and built a prototype in 2015.  A small crew of volunteers installed that first bench in Glen Haven.

Because Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes have been working on improving accessibility on Park trails and beaches, we realized that we needed to install accessible pads around the benches, so someone in a wheelchair could pull in and park sitting next to a companion on the bench. So that is why the benches seem to be off-center on the pads. We needed to provide a space for a wheelchair to pull along beside the bench.

During 2017, we made some minor changes to the bench design and Ken built us more benches, which we contracted with AJ’s Excavation to install in 2017. That brought our total up to 6 benches.

YouthWork Crew installs benches

This year, we received a grant from Northwest Michigan Health to install an additional 8 benches. That completes our plan. All approved bench locations now have a bench! Ken Rosiek built the benches and YouthWork, a program of Traverse City Child and Family Services installed the benches and accessible pads this spring.

You will notice that each bench has the name of a native wildflower engraved on the top board. This naming convention allows us to identify specific benches (e.g. the Trillium Bench).

Ken Rosiek built all 14 trail benches.

People who want to donate to support the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail can make a donation to the trail and sponsor one of these benches. Donations of over $1,000 are recognized on a plaque in the Park Visitor Center in Empire.  Learn more.

Track Chair Reservations OPEN

Do you long to get back into nature and hike a trail that is just too steep or sandy? Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is offering FREE use of a Track Chair for those with mobility limitations. This is the first program of its kind in a National Park! 

We are getting more and more requests for accessible options for park visitors to be able to enjoy the beauty and natural settings of our beaches and trails. The Track Chair offers the opportunity for the whole family to enjoy the Park together. 

In the first year of the program operation, the Track Chair will be available for use on the Bay View trail about 3 miles north of Glen Arbor. A volunteer will train the visitor in the use of the Track Chair and will accompany the group on the trail.

The Track Chair will also be available at some Park events throughout the summer.

For more information or to make a reservation, click here.

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