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.


2024 Spring Volunteer Training

Annual Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Volunteer Training

Scheduled for May 18th

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Annual Spring Training is scheduled for 1 pm, May 18th, at the Empire Town Hall and on Zoom. Get the latest safety training, and park updates, and meet other awesome Sleeping Bear Dunes Friends volunteers and park staff.
1 PM general orientation and 2 PM break-out sessions.
More information will be provided in later newsletters.  

What: Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Volunteer Training
Saturday, May 18th
Empire Town Hall, 10088 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630
Zoom: Join us on Zoom – Click Here
All Current and Interested Volunteers 



Seeking Summer Communications & Social Media Intern!

Thank You to those who applied, we have found an intern for the summer 2024 season! 

Join our communications team for a unique opportunity to work with a National Park’s non-profit partner organization (Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes) to help document happenings around the park during the busiest time of year to capture and share the National Lakeshore with all. We are looking for a motivated, enthusiastic, creative intern for FOSBD this summer to help take photos, conduct interviews, post on social media, help with promotions and other related projects. 

Summary of Position: 

The communications and social media intern will work with the communications committee and the Director of Communication to document park happenings throughout the summer.  The candidate will be expected to assist with: photography, social media posting, content creation, and other such related projects. This is a unique opportunity to work with a National Park’s non profit partner organization to help document happenings around the park during the busiest time of year to capture and share the National Lakeshore with all. 

Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Documentation of park and Friends events by taking photos, interviewing, and creating content around the event
  • Promotion of special happenings 
  • Photo cataloging
  • Content creation and social media scheduling
  • Represent Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and educate visitors

Necessary Skills: 

  •  Excellent organizational skills. 
  •  Excellent communication skills. 
  •  Strong sense of initiative and willingness to take on and create your own projects
  •  Ability to multitask and prioritize various projects. 
  •  Strong attention to detail. 
  •  Excellent critical thinking and problem solving skills. 
  •  Interested in learning about the National Lakeshore and Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. 

Qualifications for the Job:​ To perform this job successfully, you must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed above are representative of the knowledge, skill, and / or ability you are required to possess. Reasonable accommodations may be made, should you have a disability, to allow you to perform the essential functions. 

Position:​ Communications and Social Media Intern

Reports To​: Communications Committee 

Employment Duration:​ June 1st – August 31st 2024 (date can be flexible)

Seasonal Position: ​32-40 hours / wk 

Location:​ Empire, MI

Compensation: $15 /hr

M22 and M109 Road Construction

Planned Road improvements are planned for this fall along M22 & M109 around Sleeping Bear Dunes between Empire and Glen Arbor. Specifically, the section of M109 to the Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Drive and various spots around Glen Arbor. View the on their website for up-to-date details. 

Construction will start on September 5th with occasional lane closures. The goal of the construction is resurface the road in locations where it is uneven or needs adjustments to level the roadway to bridges that pass over waterways. An addition to the roadway is also planned to include a turn-lane into the Dune Climb entrance. 


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 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

Safety Topic: Tick Report

Benzie/Leelanau public health

Ticks have already made several appearances this year, so protect yourself to reduce the risk of a bite and possible disease transmission.

  • Use a repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) – care should be taken to avoid eyes and mouth. 
  • Wear clothing that has been treated with permethrin.  
  • Be extra vigilant in warmer months (April – September) when ticks are most active.  However, ticks can be active anytime the temperature outside is warmer than 40° F.
  • Stay on well-groomed trails and avoid high grass, brush, and fallen leaves.
  • Before going back indoors, check & remove ticks from your clothes and pets.
  • Look for ticks on your body, especially the scalp, ears, armpits, belly button, waist, and groin.    
  • Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.  
  • Take a shower as soon as you can after coming indoors. 
  • If you find an embedded tick, immediately remove it, as it typically requires 36 to 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease. Then, use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible and pull upward.  
  • Report any embedded ticks to the FOSBD immediately through the safety report link:


To Learn More:

2023 Spring Volunteer Training

Annual Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Volunteer Training

May 13th, 1-3 pm

The Annual Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes training is scheduled for May 13, at the Empire Town Hall. The training begins with a general orientation at 1 pm, which is applicable for all volunteers, both experienced and new. This training is a once-a-year chance for volunteers to hear the latest park news from park staff. It will include updates from the park superintendent, park rangers, and the park volunteer coordinator. The 1 pm general training will be followed by 2 pm breakout sessions to provide more information about individual volunteer opportunities including Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-Trail.

What: Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Volunteer Training
Saturday, May 13th 1pm – 2pm, Break-out sessions start at 2pm
Empire Town Hall, 10088 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630
All Current and Interested Volunteers 

Join Us Virtually 

If you can not make it in person, join the Friends ZOOM at:
The ZOOM meeting will open at 12:45 PM and close at 2:00 PM and will not include the break-out sessions. 

Additional Training 

Track Chair Training

We will be training on Saturday, May 6th, for the upcoming Track Chair season; this training is open to new and old volunteers.  We will be doing the Bayview at 10am (meet at the lower trailhead off of Port Oneida Rd. near the Kelderhouse) and the Platte Campground at 2:30pmboth lasting 2.5 hours. You can attend one or both sessions depending on which trail you want to help with. This is a great way to learn about our program and how the Track Chairs operate.
If you have any questions, please email us: 

What: Track Chair Volunteer Training
Saturday, May 6th 10am – 4:20pm
Bayview Trail – Meet at the Trailhead at 10am, or Platte Campground at 2:30pm
All Current and Interested Volunteers 

Glen Haven Volunteer Training

Learn more about volunteering in Glen Haven. Over two trainings, the park will focus on Interpretation, and the other on volunteer safety, specifically in Glen Haven. Training is two nights on May 9th and May (), both events are virtual.
For more information, contact Casey for more info at

Bark Ranger Volunteer Training

The Park will hold a kick-off event for new volunteers of the Bark Ranger Program. Help the National Park and The Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team protect piping plovers. We are recruiting dog owners to join our BARK Rangers program. Volunteering focuses on encouraging pet owners to recreate responsibly in the park with a lead-by-example approach. Training for new volunteers will be held in June.

Bark Ranger Informational Kick-off
Saturday, May 31st 6:20pm
Empire Township Hall
Interested Volunteers 

Glen Lake Picnic Area
Saturday, June 10th 10:30am
Glen Lake Picnic Area
New Volunteers 

Position Opening – Fund Development Director

Position Opening – Fund Development Director


Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has an opening for a volunteer position:

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been called “The most beautiful place in America” and it needs your help. Our 600+ member organization helps ensure that the more than a million people who visit the Dunes each year have a great experience, while helping to protect this precious resource. We are looking for a person with good communication, organizational and interpersonal skills to join our high functioning all-volunteer organization.

The Fund Development Director helps integrate all fundraising programs to assure financial support for operations and programs approved by the Friend’s Board and National Park administration. This is accomplished by helping to direct a group of dedicated fellow volunteers seeking donations via fundraising events, granting sources, individuals and businesses.

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes will provide training and assistance as needed. Time commitment will vary with the individual and seasons but typically can be very flexible.

Interested in helping out? For more information please email our secretary at

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, all-volunteer organization.

North Manitou Volunteer Sign Up

North Manitou VIP

North Manitou Volunteer Sign Up

“Volunteers In Parks; is an official program supervised by National Park Service employees

throughout the country. Some of you may be familiar with other VIP projects in Sleeping Bear

Dunes, such as beach patrol. There has been a continuing VIP project on South Manitou

Island for many years, and the North Manitou Island VIP crew is just getting started under the

leadership of Jennifer Miller, the Island Maintenance Supervisor.


North Manitou VIPWe had a full season in 2022 after a slow start in previous years. From May through October,

29 individuals spent a total of 217 days on the island, recording 1823 volunteer hours. Major

categories of effort were: visitor assistance/VIP Rangers (624 hours), historic cottage window

and shutter repair (381 hours), trail maintenance (276 hours), and village mowing (115 hours).

We are looking forward to another busy season in 2023, and are taking applications for new

crew members.


North Manitou VIPHousing in park buildings for up to 14 VIPs will be available on North Manitou for at least one

week every month from May through October. Typical trip length is about a week, and you

can come to the island more than once in a season. Different trips lengths are negotiable, but

each trip must include at least 3 nights on the island. The proposed projects for 2023 are

similar to those of 2022: trail maintenance, village mowing and bush-hogging, and building

historic cottage screens and storm windows. New projects could be fence repairs (and other

work) in the cemetery, back-country campsite clean-up, and installing a floor in a wilderness

farmhouse. The project list is not final and may be revised before season begins.

North Manitou VIP

All VIPs will be provided transport and housing (with full kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom

facilities) at no charge in exchange for their labor, but must bring their own food and drink.

VIPs work alongside Park staff and are considered colleagues, not subordinates. Individuals

will need to sign a formal agreement and comply with National Park Service guidelines while

volunteering. Your volunteer hours are credited to you individually (instead of to a group) and

you earn gratuities for continued service, such as Dune Dollars, badges, hats and T-shirts.

If you are interested in applying to serve on the North Manitou VIP crew, contact me by email


Alan Richardson

VIP Crew Lead

North Manitou Island

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Winters Quiet Secret Spots

Looking to chase those winter blues away? Research shows that getting outside even in the winter is a great way to keep those blues at bay. We recently received a request for some secret, quiet, special spots in the park that are good to visit during the winter. We came up with a few. 


Winter Canoeing the Crystal River

Winter Canoeing the Crystal River

1. Take a paddle down the Crystal or Platte Rivers.


These rivers are full of visitors during the warmer summer and fall months.  Consider bundling up and bringing a few extra lawyers to pad your seat for insulation and take a paddle down a quiet empty river! It is a great time to see wildlife and enjoy some peace and quiet. 






2. Explore a new trail.

Empire Bluffs Trail

Empire Bluffs Trail


We have a great web page dedicated to trails, this page provides easy ways to research each trail with information like, length, location, difficulty and more. Consider taking one a weekend to explore. Do keep in mind that with all of our thaws and freezes shoe grips and poles might be a good idea if there is not enough snow to use snowshoes or skis. 







Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

3. Winter birding. 


Did you know that spring birding starts in March and birders look and listen for Red Winged Blackbirds who signify that spring is coming! Meanwhile in the colder months grab your binoculars, field guide and look up your local audubon society and join a winter birding adventure.  Inland lakes as well as lake Michigan are a great place to spot lots of different ducks. Or consider setting up a bird feeder in your yard and birding from the comfort of your own home.

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