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.
We 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
Housing 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.
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
VIP Crew Lead
North Manitou Island
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore