Trail Stewards

Chuck and Janet Whetsel are longtime volunteers who serve as Trail Stewards at Kehl Lake Natural Area. Chuck uses a sled to drag pruners and chainsaw along the trail.

Click here for the online Trail Steward Monitoring Report

Do you love to be in the woods at all times of the year?  Do you enjoy hiking and working out-of-doors in any kind of weather?  Does helping to keep Leelanau Conservancy hiking trails clear and maintaining boardwalks and other structures at one of our Natural Areas and Preserves sound like fun?  If so, then we have the perfect volunteer opportunity for you!

Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas and Preserves trails take in some of the best views in the county.  They meander through mixed forests, along fragile sandy shores, and into blowout dunes and wetlands.  We love for people to visit our Natural Areas, but we want to ensure that their hiking experience is safe and that trails are accessible.  That’s where you come in!  We have a group of hardworking “Trail Stewards” that help maintain our 24 Natural Areas and Preserves, which are located from Empire to Northport, Leland to Traverse City.  You can choose to help at a Natural Area and Preserve that is closest to your home.

While not a required skill, willingness and ability to utilize a chainsaw is a plus.  As a Trail Steward, you will monitor a trail, clear branches or fallen trees, replace trail markers and repair boardwalks.  You will be an independent volunteer who communicates on the state of our trails via reporting forms.  You may also be called upon if a storm blows through or if we are alerted of a problem at “your” Natural Area or Preserve (no evening or middle-of-the-night calls–we promise!).  If a job at your Natural Area or Preserve is too demanding, we encourage you to call and ask for our help!

Some of our Natural Areas have multi-loop trails.  In this case Trail Stewards are responsible for each loop.  Multiple volunteers may be needed for one area, depending on the length of trails to ease the workload.  If you would like to apply to become a Trail Steward Volunteer, please contact Claire Wood at [email protected] or 231.256.9665.

Invasive Species Observer: Become a Citizen Scientist 

Learn how you can help our Stewardship staff document and keep track of invasive species at our natural areas.