Each year, the number of people using the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail grows. Last year about 60,000 people were counted on the trail, according to Kerry Kelly, Chairman of the Board for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Their surveys have shown that 85-90 percent of trail users are families and friends. It has become a destination for people from around the state, and it continues to draw people to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the local community throughout the year.

In 2015, it cost over $13,000 to maintain the trail, and in response to user requests, the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, the group that manages and operates the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, is currently working on adding benches, bike racks and picnic tables at various places along the trail. To help cover the costs of maintenance and ongoing projects, the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes are asking the community for donations.

Photos by Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes

Trail users can help cover the costs by donating $2 for paper trail maps. Trail maps can be downloaded and printed for free and an online interactive map is also available. Businesses who support the trail can be included on the map. Click here for details.

5 more ways to donate:

1. Donate to install a bench. ($2,500)

The benches are made by Ken Rosiek and installed by a team of volunteers. The first bench was installed in Glen Haven.

2. Donate to install a bike rack. ($4,500)

The bike racks are made with black locust wood—an invasive species of tree that’s known for its weathering properties. These trees are currently being removed from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore because they are invasive. The first bike rack was built in the Blacksmith Shop in Glen Haven last fall and is located outside the shop. The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes hope to build several more during the summer season so visitors can watch and learn about the type of blacksmith skills and techniques that would have been used when the shop was supporting the logging operation from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

3. Donate to install a picnic table. ($4,500)

Your donation could be used to install the first picnic table on the trail, which will be assembled and installed by volunteers.

4. Order a SBHT trail sign. ($100 or $75)

Have part of the trail in your home. Make a donation and receive a mile-marker sign that was used on the SBHT. These small signs (3.25″ square) were replaced with the yellow emergency mile-marker signs in 2015.


5. Donate to the Trail Operations Fund. (Any amount)

Donate to the project of your choice.

Click here to see details on these and other ways you can support the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

More Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

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Photo(s) by Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes