The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s sustainable trail systems offer visitors exceptional experiences that support healthy lifestyles and equitable access to nature. These trails also serve as the foundation of support for the Conservancy. New and existing supporters connect with us through guided hikes, individual tours, and our interpretive signage – all of which take place on our trails! Keeping our trail systems in pristine condition and offering outstanding, diverse opportunities throughout our service area is crucial to our mission.

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The Conservancy often has trail projects on several properties throughout our five-county service area. Please check with us at (231) 929-7911.


Each trail workday may involve different tasks but may include the following:

  • Clearing the trail corridor with saws and pruners
  • Removing large woody debris from corridor
  • Raking any organic material (leaves, roots, etc.) from the corridor
  • Using hand tools to move soil and create the trail bed
  • Painting markings to “blaze” the trail for wayfinding
  • Installing trail features such as drains, culverts, turnpikes, or bridges


Trail building can be strenuous depending on the slope and soil types of the trail. The following qualifications will help you be successful with this task:

  • Familiarity with basic hand tools
  • Familiarity with different trail systems – it helps if you enjoy hiking or biking!
  • Ability to perform strenuous labor for two hours at a time

If you feel you do not meet the above qualifications, don’t worry! We are always happy to teach newcomers how to work on trails, and we encourage all interested in making a positive impact on their community to join us at one of our work days!

Time Commitment

We believe that the time you contribute to improving access to nature is invaluable, and you may volunteer as much as your schedule allows. We designed our trail-building opportunities as regular, weekly efforts with the hope that our volunteers return for multiple weeks. If you can't commit to these weekday workdays, consider our Preserve Steward program, which allows you to volunteer on your schedule.


All trail building and maintenance volunteers will receive training on all concepts necessary to build sustainable trail systems, including:

  • Sustainable trail concepts
  • Tool use and safety
  • Relevance and importance of trail systems

Training Videos:

Trail Building & Design

Trail Building Tool Overview

If you’re excited to get involved and help us build sustainable trail systems, sign up today to volunteer!