The Superior Hiking Trail depends on volunteers.
Over 300 volunteers put in over 8,000 hours every year to keep the Superior Hiking Trail in great shape. Whether serving as a trail or campsite adopter or contributing to our Trail Renewal Program efforts, we strive to ensure volunteers are safe and successful in their work along the Trail.
Why volunteer with us? It’s a great opportunity to:
- Give back to the Trail
- Make new friends
- See the Trail from a different perspective
- Have FUN!
Are you interested in volunteering with us? Check out the options below. This page is being updated regularly as new opportunities become available, so if you don’t find the opportunity you’re looking for, check back again soon!
2023 Volunteer Events
Asset Inventory and Intercept Survey Volunteers Needed
The Superior Hiking Trail Association is working to conduct an asset inventory along the entire length of the Trail as part of our 2023 master planning process. Collection of assets such as boardwalks, bridges, and signs will allow us to plan for future maintenance and anticipate future costs. We will be collecting attributes for each asset including construction material, length, and width. Volunteers for this project will need to have a basic comfort level with a smartphone, similar to operating an email app. Volunteers will need to have a smartphone or tablet with a camera (data or phone plan not necessary). We are looking for a commitment of at least 10 miles of survey per volunteer. Training will take place Mid May in Duluth Minnesota. Alternative training dates may be arranged. Interested in participating? Contact [email protected]
The SHTA is also planning to conduct a trail user intercept survey as part of our 2023 master planning process. An intercept survey volunteer will be stationed at specific trailheads for specific times and approach people with a short questionnaire so that we may better understand the demographics of our Trail users. Gregarious outgoing people wanted! Email [email protected] to let us know if this fits you!
2023 Trail Renewal Group Projects
Check out this summer’s volunteer projects!
No experience necessary. Join us for one day or multiple days. All tools are provided. Complimentary camping and most dinners will be available for all of these projects. Registration is required for all events and will be available on this page approximately six weeks in advance of each project start date.
Trail Renewal events start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. Expect to travel and work on rugged and uneven ground. Please register only if you can volunteer for a full day. If you are unable to join us for the entire day, please sign up for a different event when you are able to commit fully. Want to know more about what to expect on a Trail Renewal event? Check out our FAQ.
A special way to support our group projects – We’re looking for a few folks who are willing to participate as a camp cook. This person would arrive at camp at about 4:30pm to set up for dinner on the nights that there are shared meals. If you’re interested in doing this on one or more of our projects, please contact Barbara Budd at [email protected].
2023 Projects Please note that these dates and locations are subject to change as we see what spring brings us.
Trail Clearing Weekend - Duluth area, May 6-7 Help SHTA clear this winter's storm debris off the trail. Certified chainsaw operators will lead teams on several sections of trail in the area which have been hard hit by the wind and heavy snow this winter. No experience necessary to participate, and many hands will be needed. Please note that only certified sawyers are allowed to operate chainsaws on the SHT. But there's lots of other work, so don't worry if you don't know what that means! Register here.
Trail Clearing Weekend - Finland, May 27-28 Help SHTA clear this winter's storm debris off the trail. Certified chainsaw operators will lead teams on several sections of trail in the area which have been hard hit by the wind and heavy snow this winter. No experience necessary to participate, and many hands will be needed. Please note that only certified sawyers are allowed to operate chainsaws on the SHT. But there's lots of other work, so don't worry if you don't know what that means! Register here.
Britton Peak Staircase, June 7-11 Join SHTA as we work to finish the huge rock staircase we started a few years ago. If you have ever wanted to learn how to cut, shape, move, and set natural stone steps, then this project is for you! No experience necessary. Nearest town: Tofte. Register here.
Wilson Creek Stone Steps, June 24-25 Help make this stream crossing safer and drier by providing stone steps across Wilson Creek. A slight relocation of the trail on either side will also provide the opportunity to do some trail building. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Two Harbors. Registration opens soon (after June 1, thank you for your patience).
Springdale Creek Stone Step Crossing, July 12-14 Join SHTA staff as we remove the old, unsafe bridge and replace it with solid stone steps across Springdale Creek. We will also be repairing tread between the trailhead and the creek. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Tofte. Registration opens early June.
Springdale Creek Stone Step Crossing - all women, July 15-16 Our second annual all-women weekend will include completing the stone step crossing and repairing tread between the trailhead and the creek. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Tofte. Registration opens early June.
Save the date: July 27-31 We will be hosting a project during these dates. Details yet to come. Check back soon. Nearest town will likely be Tofte or Lutsen. Registration opens mid-June.
Corridor Clearing and Blazing, August 5-6 Have you been whacked in the face or tripped up by low-hanging branches while hiking the SHT? Here’s your chance to clear the trail corridor of woody brush using hand tools and to mark the trail you’ve cleared with fresh blazes. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Silver Bay. Registration opens late June.
Encampment River Crossing and Reroute, Aug 11-16 Join us to build a safe and sustainable crossing of the Encampment River. Work will be led by professional stone builder Willie Bittner and will include building a stone step crossing and rerouting a part of the trail that is falling away. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Two Harbors. Registration opens in early July.
Corridor Clearing and Blazing, August 26-27 Have you been whacked in the face or tripped up by low-hanging branches while hiking the SHT? Here’s your chance to clear the trail corridor of woody brush using hand tools and to mark the trail you’ve cleared with fresh blazes. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Grand Marais. Registration opens late June.
Indian Camp Creek Stone Step Crossing September 14-17 Help SHTA remove a failing bridge and build a new stone step crossing over Indian Camp Creek. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Lutsen. Registration opens in early August.
Corridor Clearing and Blazing, October 7-8 Have you been whacked in the face or tripped up by low-hanging branches while hiking the SHT? Here’s your chance to clear the trail corridor of woody brush using hand tools and to mark the trail you’ve cleared with fresh blazes. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Two Harbors. Registration opens mid-August.
Duluth Area Trail Maintenance
Ongoing All Summer -
Trail work between the southern terminus and Two Harbors has begun for the season!!
Join our southern area contractor, Larry, as he leads trail maintenance events in the Duluth vicinity. Depending on the day, you might find Larry leading groups of volunteers lopping, weed whipping, or building trail structures like stairs or boardwalks. Check out the list on the registration page for dates and details about what project will happen at any given event.
Dates and projects will be posted regularly throughout the summer. Projects will regularly take place on Thursdays and most Fridays throughout the summer. Other days may be added as necessary. We post these opportunities four to six weeks in advance, though last-minute opportunities will also arise, so keep coming back to find a date that works for you!
Introduction to Trail Work Classes
Introduction to Trail Work, June 3 New to trail maintenance? Have you ever wondered if this was something you'd enjoy? This half-day event is a great way to check out what it's all about. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Two Harbors. Register here.
Introduction to Trail Work, July 8 New to trail maintenance? Have you ever wondered if this was something you'd enjoy? This half-day event is a great way to check out what it's all about. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Two Harbors. Registration opens late May.
Introduction to Trail Work, August 4 (evening) New to trail maintenance? Have you ever wondered if this was something you'd enjoy? This evening event is a great way to check out what it's all about. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Two Harbors. Registration opens late June.
Introduction to Trail Work, September 2 New to trail maintenance? Have you ever wondered if this was something you'd enjoy? This half-day event is a great way to check out what it's all about. No experience necessary. Nearest town: Two Harbors. Registration opens mid-July.
Adopt a Section or a Campsite on the SHT
Adopt a section of trail: Section Adopters inspect and maintain a 2-5 mile section of the trail at least twice per year. The primary goal of a section adopter is to lop back the persistent brush that threatens to obscure the Trail. Check out the full job description. Update 5/10/22 - We are celebrating 100% adoption! If you would like to be on the waiting list for a section, please email [email protected].
Adopt a campsite: Campsite Adopters inspect and maintain a SHT campsite at least twice per year. They clean out the fire ring, clear brush, and report hazard trees in the area. Check out the full job description. Update 5/10/22 - We are celebrating 100% adoption! If you would like to be on the waiting list for a campsite, please email [email protected].
Update 6/14/22: To file your any volunteer hours since Oct 1, 2022 to present, please follow this link to get to your volunteer portal and the reporting system. If you have any questions about this, please email [email protected].
Other Volunteer Opportunities
There are lots of ways to volunteer at SHTA, and not all of them require using a shovel or a saw.
Below are some areas where we can use help. If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact [email protected]. Let us know how you'd like to help out at SHTA, and we'll let you know when opportunities arise. If you have a skill to share or an idea of how you can help that isn't on the list, let us know.
- Facebook moderators
- Trail store and office
- Camp cook (for group events)
- Education and outreach, tabling
File Your Volunteer Hours
Update 8/22/22: If you have had difficulty filing hours, please know that the glitch has been fixed, and you can follow the directions below. Thank you for your patience! If you believe you have already filed your hours, please check to make sure they were saved. Click on this link (Portal pic) to see what your portal should look like. If you have hours in either the "Your Approved Tasks" section or "Your Submitted Tasks" section, then Hooray! Your hours were saved! If you do not see hours there, or not the correct hours, please re-enter your hours. If, after re-entering your hours and clicking "submit" they still don't show up, please email [email protected] and we'll fix it together.
To file any volunteer hours since Oct 1, 2021 to present, please follow the instructions below to get to your volunteer portal and the reporting system. If you have any questions about this, please email. Please note that volunteer hours recorded in the defunct Galaxy system will not appear in your portal (i.e. hours from 2019 to Sept 30, 2021). We do have them, and they will eventually be transferred to the new system, but not just yet.
This link is for Adopters, Trail Clearing (sawyers/swampers), and other individual projects (i.e. tabling, office/store, board activities). If you participate in a Trail Renewal or Duluth Area Group Project, your hours are automatically recorded. Do not fill them out using this system.
Thank you for your patience in waiting for our new system! Finally, we've got it up and running. It is not perfect, but it should be pretty straight forward and MUCH EASIER than Galaxy (for those who used it).
Here are the steps to follow:
- Click on https://superiorhiking.secure.force.com/requestVolPortalAccess
- If you use the email address that you gave SHTA, you should be in the system and it will automatically generate an email to you sending you a secure link that is your personal, secure volunteer portal.
- Go to that email and click on the link you find there.
- Scroll down to where it says "Submit a New Task" and click on that button.
- If you are NOT entering hours spent as an adopter, please just fill out the first five lines, then scroll to the bottom and click Submit.
- If you ARE entering adopter hours, please fill out the entire form and click Submit at the bottom
- One note: Date you began is the date you started your adopter work this spring. If it was multiple days, don't worry, just one date is necessary. Then you can put the total number of hours (so yes, you could have 32 hours listed, but only one day listed). If you are also entering hours from last fall, please do a separate entry for fall.
- KEEP that link (by saving the email and/or bookmarking your portal link) and use it to file all of your volunteer hours, except any hours spent on a group project like our Trail Renewal Projects or Duluth Trail Maintenance - those will be entered by the crew leader. If you lose the link, you can get a new one by requesting it using the same link above.
- If you use a different email address, or if you have never been in our database (for example, if you brought a friend to help you, they need to enter hours, but they won't be in the database), the above link will give you an error message to contact [email protected]. If you get that message, please send me an email with your (or your helper's) name, email address, and zip code, and I will send out a link to the portal. It may take me a day or two to respond to that request, depending on which day the request arrives. Once I get the request, I will initiate an email with a link to your (or your helper's) volunteer portal. Then follow the steps above starting with "Go to that email and click on the link you find there."
If you brought friends out with you, please have them file their hours separately. If they don't want to do that, please just let me know via email at [email protected]. But it would be very helpful to have everyone's hours logged in our system for accurate reporting. You can have them request their link directly from me, or you can send me their names and emails and I'll send out a link to them, whatever works best for you.
We will use this same form (with perhaps a few small edits) in the fall. However, larger improvements to the system are already forthcoming and we will be working on those this winter for use in Spring 2023. We would like to have your feedback regarding this new system so that we can make it more of what you need. In order to keep all that feedback in the same place, please fill out this short form (it should take about 5 minutes, maybe less).
Become a VIP through the NPS Volunteer-In-Parks Program
Because the SHT is an affiliate of the North Country Trail, SHTA volunteers have access to the Volunteer-In-Parks program. The VIP program for the NCT is co-managed by the National Park Service and the North Country Trail Association. The VIP program provides important protection for volunteers. All VIPs are entitled to the same injury considerations that NPS employees receive (provided they are operating within their approved scope of duties and NPS policies). Additionally, VIPs are recognized for their contributions and earn annual recognition items based on hours of service and are eligible to attend certain skills and leadership training.
To sign up as a VIP, please take the steps below.
Please select the title(s) below to view the position description and job hazard analyses (JHA) for the position(s) that best fits your interests, skills, and abilities. There are five volunteer positions to choose from*:
- Administrative. Activities include attending or participating in meetings, preparing materials, and general administrative office tasks.
- Sawyer. Sawyers operate a chainsaw or crosscut saw to build, maintain, or otherwise clear the trail corridor. This requires certification.
- Swamper. Swampers assist sawyers, but do not operate saws. Activities include clearing brush, transporting equipment, site preparation, cleanup, and risk management.
- Trail Construction and Maintenance. Activities include design, layout, construction, and maintenance of the trail tread, its immediate environment, and related support facilities.
- Trail Support. Activities include leading hikes, scouting, attending outreach events, blazing, trash cleanup, and landowner communication.
* As an SHTA volunteer, please contact [email protected] when the position description states to contact someone within NCTA and the Chapters.
Once you have determined which positions you're interested in, please print and complete the Volunteer Service Agreement. (Google Chrome or Firefox are the recommended browsers to use while opening this document.) Important: Be sure to check the appropriate boxes in Box 26 of the agreement to identify what position descriptions and JHAs you read for each position you would like to serve.
As long as you continue to report your volunteer hours on the SHTA Volunteer Portal or attend an SHTA group volunteer event on a regular basis (at least once a year at a minimum), you must only update your volunteer agreement when there is a change in personal information or if you wish to make any changes to the volunteer positions you wish to perform.
Unfortunately, only hand-signed ink signatures will be accepted at this time. Regardless of how many positions you would like to sign up for, only one Volunteer Service Agreement is needed. If you do not have access to a printer, we are happy to mail you a paper copy. Simply email [email protected] and provide a mailing address.
Send the Volunteer Service Agreement to NPS Volunteer Program Manager Nic Loiseau and she will contact you when she receives the form. You can send it by:
- Mail: 318 E. Main St. Suite K, Lowell, MI 49331. Tracking is recommended.
- Email: [email protected] if the email is encrypted. It’s important to encrypt the email because it contains personal identifiable information.
- Fax: (616) 319-7913
Have fun and be safe! Remember to submit your volunteer hours on a regular basis. (See the File Your Volunteer Hours link on the SHTA Volunteer Page).
Video Resources for Volunteers
Documents for Volunteers
- SHTA Trail Maintenance Manual (2021) *PDF*
- Superior National Forest Job Hazard Analysis *PDF*
- 2023 Volunteer Waiver
Questions? Contact [email protected]