The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s sustainable trail systems offer Nature Preserve visitors an exceptional experience that supports healthy lifestyles, equitable access to nature and serve as the foundation of support for the Conservancy. We are able to connect with new and existing supporters on guided hikes, through our interpretive signage or through individual tours, all of which take place on our trail systems! As such, keeping our trails in pristine condition and offering a variety of opportunities throughout our service area is crucial to our mission.

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Throughout the 2019 field season, we are offering two trail building and maintenance opportunities:

  • The newly protected Maplehurst Natural Area in Antrim county has recently opened to the public. To facilitate responsible use of this incredible property, we are assisting Milton township in building a 6 mile, multi-use trail system.
  • Our beloved Dry Hill trail at Arcadia Dunes: The C.S. Mott Nature Preserve is in need of some TLC. Originally designed by the International Mountain Biking Association and built by volunteers, we will be addressing a list of problem areas along this 10 mile loop.


Each trail workday may involve different tasks, but all of the following may be included on any given day:

  • 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 move soil and create the trail bed
  • Paint markings to “blaze” the trail for wayfinding


Trail building can be very strenuous labor depending on the slope and soil types we’re building the trail on. The following qualifications will help you be a successful trail builder:

  • 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

Time Commitment

We believe that any time you choose to contribute to improving access to nature on our Preserves or elsewhere is invaluable, and you may volunteer as much as your schedule allows. That said, we’ve designed our trail building opportunities as regular, weekly efforts in which we hope you will return for multiple weeks. If you’re unable to commit to these weekday workdays, consider our Preserve Steward program which allows you to volunteer on your own 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

If you’re excited to learn about and help us build sustainable trail systems, sign up to be a volunteer today!