Each and every time a piece of land is protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, long term stewardship is involved. It’s an extremely important, ever-expanding and never-ending part of protecting treasured natural features across the five county region. GTRLC owns and maintains dozens of nature preserves encompassing over 10,000 acres of protected land under our management, and the number keeps growing! Because of the expansive nature of the preserves, staff cannot singlehandedly care for them. We need your help to clear trails, maintain signage, monitor plants and wildlife and be our eyes and ears on the ground! 

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Each nature preserve will require different specific tasks, but in general, Preserve Stewards will be required to:

  • Visit their chosen nature preserve on a regular basis (every ~2 weeks)
  • Submit monitoring report forms to document the condition of the preserve
  • Clear the trail corridor with saws and pruners (optional)
  • Notify staff of any disturbances that require further attention


Volunteer Preserve Stewards are needed across our entire five county service area on all of our nature preserves. Many volunteers choose one property they return to time and again, while others prefer to roam our service area visiting multiple preserves.


Each nature preserve will require different specific tasks, but in general, the ideal Preserve Steward will have:

  • Availability to regularly visit our nature preserves
  • Physical capability to hike the trail systems and prune vegetation

Time Commitment

We believe that any time you choose to contribute to improving the health and condition of our preserves or elsewhere is invaluable, and you may volunteer as much as your schedule allows. Preserve stewardship allows you to volunteer when it works for your schedule, though we ask volunteers to visit their preserve once every ~2 weeks to trim vegetation on the trail and submit a preserve condition report.


We will be hosting several training opportunities throughout the year to educate volunteers on how to properly monitor and care for our Nature Preserves. Please reach out to Jon Throop at jthroop@gtrlc.org for training dates, or to be paired with a staff member or volunteer to provide 1 – 1 training.

Training Video:

Volunteer Preserve Stewardship

If you’re excited to learn about and help us maintain our Nature Preserves, sign up to be a volunteer today!