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Wilderness Volunteers

Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness, Huron-Manistee National Forest, MI (Sep 12th - Sep 18th 2021)

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The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is the only designated wilderness on Michigan's lower peninsula and encompasses 3,450 acres of National Forest. The dunes were formed 3,500 to 4,000 years ago as winds swept exposed sand from the rising and falling Lake Michigan into a series of dunes that stand up to 140 feet high. It is part of the Ludington Dune Ecosystem which has the largest area of fresh water interdunal ponds in the world. These ponds, small water holes and marshes, decorate the area and along with the dune grass provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species. The area is interspersed with woody vegetation such as juniper, jack pine and hemlock. The wild sand beach along the lake varies from narrow to wide and is home to the Federally Endangered Piping Plover, a shore bird that nests on the ground in small cobbles.

Our service project with the Huron-Manistee National Forest will focus on a variety of projects that may include trail work, campsite restoration and maintenance on some of the approximately 14-miles of trail within the wilderness. Projects could possibly entail constructing a turnpike, crosscutting, digging, moving heavy logs and possibly some vegetation transplanting depending on what is available at that time of year. Our group may also do a beach project that would entail trash removal from the beach, hauling in material that has washed up, getting rid of any signs of beach camps, possible structure additions or removal, planting posts for barriers and other general projects. We will set up camp at the Lake Michigan Recreation Area that borders the Wilderness Area directly to the north. On our free day we can swim, hike, view wildlife, fly a kite, visit Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, fish, float a Wild and Scenic River or just relax.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, Wilderness Volunteers is operating our 2021 project schedule under our Modified Project Procedures for Volunteers. These project guidelines will be revised as needed. Please check back often for the latest version.

Due to additional COVID-19 precautions, we are prohibiting mixed household volunteer carpooling (with volunteers outside of the same household traveling in the same vehicle) to projects until further notice. Exceptions to this policy (eg close friends traveling together) will need to be discussed with/pre-approved by the office and will require additional precautionary steps for the individuals involved.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

This project is rated as a active project.

Check out more photos from previous Nordhouse Dunes trips in our gallery.


Sep 12th - Sep 18th 2021

Service Project

Trail work and campsite restoration.

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Free Days

Hike/explore the dunes, fly a kite, view wildlife or have a relaxing day on the beach.


Tent and car camping in a designated campground.

Project Difficulty

Active : Bending, lifting, digging, pulling, cutting, hauling, hiking.


Linda Ziesmer
Sarah Kocher

Equipment List