Volunteers contribute their time and expertise in many ways on the Hiawatha National Forest.  Whether you're interested in fisheries or environmental education, mountain bike trails or native plants (or many things in between) there is likely a volunteer opportunity awaiting you on the Hiawatha National Forest!

Volunteering on the Forest

The Hiawatha National Forest’s scenic beauty and recreation opportunities make it an enjoyable place for people to volunteer. Each year, the Forest hosts a variety of volunteers. Some are local individuals and groups who want to support a particular recreation opportunity or management effort. Other volunteers are new to the area, and feel compelled to donate their time to help maintain a trail, campground or other resource that interests them.

Volunteer Needs on the Hiawatha

See the information below and visit Volunteer.gov to see our current opportunities.


Volunteer Citizen Science

Resource Management

In the area of resource management, volunteers have participated in a variety of projects. For example, several individuals have worked with US Forest Service fisheries biologists to support fish stocking, while the local Lions Club built an accessible fishing piers. Others have assisted with bird surveys. Another example:

  • Several individuals have worked with US Forest Service fisheries biologists to support fish stocking.
  • The local Lions Club built an accessible fishing pier.
  • Other volunteers have assisted with bird surveys.
  • A group of individuals have helped with botany programs.

Projects have included native plant garden maintenance, seed gathering, and removal of invasive plants. Learn more about resource management on the Hiawatha National Forest.


Recreation volunteers might be asked to: 

  • Brush trails.
  • Assist in our visitor center.
  • Help in Wilderness patrols.

Some individuals have acted as trail rangers on Grand Island. Another organization (Friends of Valley Spur) formed specifically to help support and maintain the Valley Spur Trail System (skiing and mountain biking). Learn more about recreation on the Hiawatha National Forest.


Adopt-A-Forest/Adopt-A-Road is a forest clean-up volunteer opportunity. 

  • Similar to Michigan's adopt-a-highway trash pick-up program, Adopt-A-Forest program allows volunteer individuals and groups to adopt a segment of Forest road or trail, or even a recreation site.
  • Volunteers are then responsible for litter pick-up at least twice a year.
  • Signs recognizing the adopters are posted on either end of the adopted road segment.

National Public Lands Day

Held annually in September, NPLD offers another opportunity for volunteers to get involved. 

NPLD activities, often coordinated at the district level, have ranged from trash pick-up to native seed collection to removal of non-native plants.

Check our events page or social media for more information as the date approaches!


Volunteering in the Forest Service's Eastern Region

Of the 155 National Forests and Grasslands, 52 are located in the agency's Eastern Region.  To learn more about volunteering in the Eastern Region, click the title above.


Volunteer Needed: Point Iroquois Lighthouse Caretaker

Point Iroquois Light Station

Are you looking for an exciting, challenging, unique and deeply rewarding volunteer experience? A "gap year"?! Then consider being a lighthouse caretaker!

Meet the Volunteer Lighthouse Caretakers

Want to be a Lighthouse Caretaker?! Meet Chris and Tim Irwin, who served as the Point Iroquois Lighthouse caretakers for the 2018 season! Click the link to learn more...


2020 Monarch Volunteer Opportunities

Monarch Butterfly

The US Forest Service and volunteer citizen scientists have been gathering Monarch Butterfly data at Peninsula Pt for over 20 years -- we would love to have you join us. Learn more...

Ready to Volunteer?!

If you're excited to volunteer on the Hiawatha, this information may help you take the next step! Learn more...