Summer volunteer projects provide chance to be a Superior National Forest steward

Using a cross-cut saw in the BWCAW. (Photo by R. Haaversen, via Northwoods Volunteer Connection)

There are many opportunities scheduled this summer to get your hands dirty and help maintain trails and other facilities in northeastern Minnesota. The activities are coordinated by the Northwoods Volunteer Connection, a nonprofit that brings together the Forest Service, businesses, and individuals who want to be stewards of the Superior National Forest and nearby public lands.

Last year, 318 volunteers put in 3,563 hours on projects. In total, the group’s volunteers improved more than 60 miles of trails.

“By getting involved with stewardship activities, either through participating in a volunteer project or making a donation, you can help ensure that these public lands are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations,” the organization says.

Projects this summer range from one day to five days, on sites across the Superior National Forest. The group also helps promote volunteer projects coordinated by other groups, including the Kekekabic Trail and Border Route Trail Associations.

All volunteers receive necessary training to safely accomplish their projects, and some projects include reimbursements for food and other expenses.

The group also offer less formal opportunities, such as assessing Boundary Waters campsites, or monitoring visitor use and solitude opportunities, while on personal canoe trips. More information about all the opportunities is available here.

Northwoods Volunteer Connection projects

Grand Marais Community Earth Day Celebration
April 20, 2019
We are proud of our public spaces in Grand Marais and take great pride in keeping them clean! What better way to show our appreciation for our beach and harbor than Earth Day weekend? This cleanup is part of the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach program.

Moss Lake Trail Project
June 8, 2019
Drop in for a few hours or the whole day. Learn what it’s like to be a trail volunteer with the Northwoods Volunteer Connection. The Moss Lake Trail is a newer trail constructed in 2014 which hugs the south side of Moss Lake. This trail connects to the Caribou Rock Trail on the east and the South Lake Trail to the west. Overlooks afford beautiful views of Moss Lake and the BWCAW.

Wilderness Project #1 – Little Isabella River Boardwalk
June 27, 2019 and July 1, 2019
Explore the rivers of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on this volunteer adventure! Volunteers will work together to repair and replace a boardwalk on the Little Isabella River and venture to nearby portages to assist with clearing activities.

Wilderness Project #2 – Alton Lake Planting Project
Saturday, August 24, 2019 and August 26, 2019
Interested in volunteering in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness but don’t feel ready to commit to a 5-day trip? This is the project for you! Help restore the shores of Alton Lake on this weekend project. Volunteers will work alongside Forest Service and Northwoods Volunteer Connection staff to transplant trees in areas that have been trampled by campers.

Wilderness Project #3 – Sioux Hustler Trail Clearing
September 9, September 14, 2019
Join us for a Wilderness adventure on the Sioux Hustler Trail! The Sioux-Hustler Trail is a primitive 30-mile loop hiking trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This project will focus on improving the eastern portion of the trail between Agwato and Emerald Lake.

Border Route Trail Association projects

  • May 3 – May 6 South Lake 1
  • May 9 – May 12 South Lake 2
  • May 16 – May 19 Clearwater Lake 1
  • May 24 – May 27 Clearwater Lake 2
  • May 30 – June 2 Clearwater Lake 3

More information »

Kekekabic Trail Association projects

  • April 27-30: Trailhead to Mine Lake crew to clear from the Gunflint Trail trailhead in to Mine Lake; Day hike
  • May 8- 11: Bingshick Lake crew to clear from Mine Lake to the Chub River; Backpack into Bingshick Lake
  • May 16-19: Mine Lake relocation project; Canoe/Backpack into Bingshick Lake
  • May 17-24: Mine Lake relocation project; Day hike
  • May 16-24: AHS Volunteer Vacation crew to clear from the Chub River to Chip Lake; Canoe into French Lake
  • May 12-17: Reunion Crew to clear from Gabimichigami Lake to the Agamok Bridge; Canoe into Agamok Lake

More information »

Powwow Trail Projects

  • April 25 – 29: South Side backpack trip
  • May 3 – 4: Powwow Gateway
  • May 2 – 5: South Side backpack trip
  • May 9 – 13: N/S Wilder canoe trip
  • May 16 – 20: N/S Wilder backpack trip
  • May 23 – 27: Superstition-Mirror backpack trip
  • May 24 – 28: Superstition-Mirror canoe and backpack trip

More information »

Superior Hiking Trail Projects

  • May 3 – 5: Schroeder Area Trail Clearing
  • May 10 – 12: Finland Area Trail Clearing
  • June 12 – 14: Sugarloaf Reroute Project
  • July 13 – 14: Blue Blaze Blitz
  • August 7 – 9: Lakewalk Improvement Project

More information »

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