Friends Recognized as Wavemakers

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has been chosen as an Alliance for the Great Lakes Wavemaker Honoree! Wavemakers are the people, companies, and organizations making a big difference for our Great Lakes by being super volunteers, educators, advocates, energizers, and protectors. Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes was nominated by the Alliance’s staff, board, and volunteers as one of the most critical stewards. We are being recognized for our efforts to protect and care for one of the most important natural assets of the Great Lakes through our dedication to the Adopt-a-Beach and other programs.  We are honored to be a Wavemaker Honoree and thank the Alliance for the Great Lakes.


2023 Annual Update

Click to view a PDF of the Annual Newsletter

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes closed another year of service in October and accomplished a lot of projects supporting the park with more support than ever. This year, the Friends welcomed 316 new volunteers and committed over 11,425 volunteer hours. This year, we saw a record amount of volunteers support the Adopt-a-Trail, Adopt-a-Beach, and Adopt-a-River programs. We also had new volunteers on the PSAR crew connecting with over 30,000 visitors keeping visitors safe and leading to record-low emergency calls. The team also supported community events, including the Dune Safety Day and Glen Arbor Fire Department Open House.

In terms of supporting Priority Park Projects, the Friends procured funding for emergency services training, water quality testing equipment, AEDs, interpretive sign updates, snowmobile trailer, and tools and supplies for general park improvements. 

The Grants Team had a banner year securing specific funding for multiple programs. Two grants went to the Park’s Piping Plover Conservation Projects as well as funding to support natural resource preservation and outdoor education. Major donors included the National Park Foundation, the Andrew R. and Janet F. Miller Foundation, the Top Family Foundation, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

We would also like to thank Oryana Community Co-Op for selecting the Friends for their Groceries for Good program where a portion of their proceeds were donated to the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. 

Some of the Goals for next year include supporting new trail development and expansion of the SBHT, a tandem accessible bike for the Accessibility Program. as well as a Dark Sky Certification for the Lakeshore. If you would like to donate to support our 2024 priority projects, view our Donate Page and mention the project you would like your donation to support in the



Groceries for Good with Oryana

Oryana, the TC-based food co-op will be supporting the Friends through their program, Groceries for Good. Oryana is designating Thursday, September 14th as a Groceries for Good day to benefit the Friends. Oryana will donate 2% of their profits that day, from both their East and West locations to Friends plus offer customers the opportunity to “round up” their purchase to the next dollar, with the change going to Friends. 

Friends Volunteers will be at both locations mid-day to talk to shoppers about the Friends Mission and how they can become a Friend. 

Learn More about the Program on Oryana’s Website.

When: Thursday, September 14th 
Where: Oryana Stores, Traverse City 
260 E Tenth St, Traverse City, MI 49684
3587 Marketplace Cir, Traverse City, MI 49684
What: 2% of their profits that day go to the Friends.

2023 Annual Meeting

Friends Volunteers_SBHT_DuneClimb

Please join us for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes annual meeting, Tuesday, August 29, 2023, 3:00 PM at the Empire Town Hall. Friends Volunteers_SBHT_DuneClimb

You are welcome to attend if you are an active Friend; volunteer or donor, or interested in learning more about the organization. The meeting will last approximately an hour, and will not be broadcast digitally this year. There will be updates from Friends Leadership and Park Superintendent, Scott Tucker. Ice Cream will be served following the meeting. Below is the tentative Agenda. 

What: Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Annual Meeting 
When: Tuesday, August 29th, at 3:00 PM 
Where: Empire Town Hall, 10088 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630
Who: All Active Friends, or those interested in learning more about the organization. 


1. Chairman’s Welcome, Kerry Kelly
2. August 21, 2022 Annual Membership Meeting Minutes, Bill Stott (Secretary)
3. Annual Financial Report 2023, Steve Klein (Treasurer)
4. Project Updates, Kerry Kelly
5. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Update, Scott Tucker (SLBE
6. Introduction of Board Member Candidate and Vote, Bill Stott
7. Adjourn and Ice Cream Social

Friends’ membership is comprised of people who have donated their time or money to the Friends this year or last.

NEW Trails Guide!

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Unveils New Trails Guide

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, known for its beauty and numerous trails, now has trail maps worthy of its stunning scenery. The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is proud to unveil the Mainland Trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a 40 page guide featuring the first updated maps of the park’s mainland trail system since the non-profit volunteer group was formed 29 years ago.

This new guide covers 15 trails in Leelanau and Benzie Counties, and includes mile-by-mile trail descriptions, suggested routes, difficulty ratings and color photos. The Friends teamed up with MichiganTrailMaps.com to produce the guide’s full-color, highly detailed maps featuring contour lines, elevation figures, mileage flags and location icons covering everything from scenic views and ghost forests to swimming beaches, picnic areas and shipwrecks. These comprehensive maps replace the original hand-drawn maps found in the previous booklet.

The 72,000-acre National Lakeshore, home to the largest freshwater dunes in the country, attracts 1.7 million visitors a year. Visitors travel from across the country to experience the beloved Dune Climb, incredible beaches and stunning trails. The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes will have the new trail guide available this season at the Lakeshore’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, the Dune Climb, DH Day Campground and Glen Haven historical village. The Mainland Trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will also be available at area bookstores, shops and online at

2022 Annual Newsletter

This year has been fantastic for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. In 2022, the Friends dedicated over 12,600+ volunteer hours and $177,000 in funds to help complete Park projects and connect with visitors to make the Lakeshore a safe place for visitors to experience while protecting resources. 

Our organization is committed to assisting the National Park Service team with enhancing visitor experiences and preserving the Lakeshore for many years to come. Thank you to our tremendous volunteers and supporters for your contributions and dedication to our mission. Here is a look at some of the projects that the Friends conducted and supported this year:

  • Our Preventative Search and Rescue volunteers increased visitor contacts by 8,000 and saw the low- est number of search and rescue operations and 911 calls since the program’s inception!
  • Expanded the Track Chair Program with an additional chair as well as brought the hikes to a new location, the Platte River Campground. 
  • Provided funding for the NPS and tribal consultants to develop and offer educational and interpretive programming about the history of the Anishinaabe.
  • Received a $20k grant from the National Park Foundation as part of a larger grant given to the Lakeshore for Night Sky education programs. 
  • Fabricated custom bike racks at the historic blacksmith shop in Glen Haven. 

View the full 2022 Annual Newsletter to read more about the programs and their impacts as well as statements from our new Chairman and Park Superintendant, Scott Tucker. 

Over our 25+ years in service working with the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, the Friends have accomplished some amazing work within the park. You can find a summary of this year’s accomplishments and all previous newsletters from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes on our Accomplishments Page. 



Holiday Gift Bundle

Shop for a Special Holiday Gift and Support Sleeping Bear Dunes!
Do you need a gift for someone who loves Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore? It can be challenging to find that perfect present, but we are here to make it easier! This year, the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes put together a gift bundle full of holiday spirit and all things Sleeping Bear. The holiday gift bundle includes some of our most popular items including the outstanding Picture-Perfect Sleeping Bear book. This delightful collection of stunning photos and endearing stories, contributed by visitors who adore the Lakeshore and compiled by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, highlights what makes the park so special for so many. The book shares the special memories people have made throughout the years as they live and visit this national treasure.

The gift bundle also includes the Friends’ Hiking Trail Map booklet. This booklet details 16 great hikes in the area along with specific information for each from terrain and difficulty to unique features and comments from others who have previously hiked the trails. The Hiking Trail Map is ideal for both hikers and skiers alike. The local Wildflowers Guide and Sleeping Bear Dunes sticker round out this gift sure to please anyone who loves the park!

With the purchase of the holiday gift bundle, you’ll be supporting projects throughout the Lakeshore. Each year, the Friends provides funds to support various programs and needs across the park. Every purchase of the bundle helps to further those fundraising efforts. The holiday gift bundle is available for $29.95 plus shipping (normally valued at $38.95), an exceptional value and the perfect gift for the Sleeping Bear Dunes fan in your life! To purchase your holiday gift bundle, while supplies last, visit https://lifeofthesleepingbear.com/.


2022 Volunteer Training


The Annual Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes training is scheduled for June 11th, at 1 pm at the Empire Town Hall.

The general orientation will begin at 1 pm. This usually includes a welcome by the Friends Chair, followed by information useful to all volunteers from the Park Superintendent, Volunteer Coordinator, and Rangers.
At 2 pm we will schedule breakout sessions for individual volunteer groups: Adopt-A-Trail, Adopt-A-Beach, Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, and the Track Chair program.

At this time of hybrid remote working, we will plan to live-stream the general orientation and some volunteer leaders will also have additional training that can be done remotely. 

View the 2022 Volunteer Training Video

Link to Video


Staff Positions Open

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been called “The most beautiful place in America” and it needs your help. Our 700+ member organization helps ensure that the roughly million and a half people who visit Sleeping Bear Dunes each year have a great experience while helping to protect this precious resource. 

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes organization to continue to fulfill its mission is dependent upon its many volunteers. This also includes volunteers who serve as Directors and Managers of its various admin and programs.  In particular, we depend on these leaders to keep the communications, funding, and organization intact and moving forward. 
Currently, the Friends has the following open Staff positions: 

All Volunteer positions can be found on our website Volunteer Page

We need your support in filling the following vacancies in your Friends organization.  Please contact Bill Stott (Secretary, sec2@friendsofsleepingbear.org) if you may be interested in helping out.


Communication Team Openings

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has several openings on its Communications Team

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been called “The most beautiful place in America” and it needs your help. Our 700+ member organization helps ensure that the roughly million and a half people who visit Sleeping Bear Dunes each year have a great experience while helping to protect this precious resource. 

We are looking for volunteers with good communication skills and experience with IT communication tools to join our high functioning organization. 

The Social Media Manager serves as a focal point ensuring Friends’ information reaches volunteers and the public alike via numerous Social Media outlets. The Assistant Website Content Manager will team with our Website Manager to ensure up-to-date information is available on the Friends Website. Together, these individuals will ensure that the Friends maintain an active social media presence, up-to-date website, and outlet for information about current Friends and Park activities.  

Training and assistance are provided by the Friends and Pro Web Marketing as needed.
Time commitment averages will vary by position and calendar. Descriptions of the three positions are attached.

Read more about volunteering with the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes on our Job Descriptions Page
Social Media Manager
Assistant Website Content Manager

If you have any questions, please reach out to Bill Stott at sec2@friendsofsleepingbear.org.
Note that these are all volunteer positions as are all members of the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes.
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, all-volunteer organization. 


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