People of all ages and abilities help the Forest Service care for the land and serve communities.  Volunteers are kids and young adults, recent graduates, retirees, corporate teams, community service organizations and individuals.

And volunteer activities are as diverse as the people who volunteer.  Have a skill and want to use it to help the Forests? Or are you looking to learn a new skill?  Some volunteers work outside with natural resource and recreation staff while others work in offices.  All kinds of rewarding volunteer opportunities are available on the Huron-Manistee National Forests, including trail maintenance, fish and wildlife management, campground hosting, wildlife and plant inventory and census’, helping at the visitor center, or cleaning up dump sites in the Forests.

The commitment you make is up to you. You can volunteer part of your time or full-time, and you can choose how long you volunteer for – one day, one week, a month, a year or even longer.  And if a posted volunteer opportunity requires training, we will train you.

People interested in volunteering should contact the nearest Forest Service office or the Volunteer Coordinator in the Supervisor’s Office in Cadillac at (231) 775-2421 or email us at sm.fs.hmnf@usda.gov.


General volunteer opportunities

Wildlife –

Opportunities to volunteer with wildlife can include things like plant survey’s, wildlife census’ or removing non-native invasive plants from Forest recreation sites. Examples include:

  • Karner Blue Butterfly census
  • Kirtland warbler census
  • Weed the Wilderness
  • Garlic Mustard removal – Hungerford Recreation Area



Recreation and Interpretive Services –

Opportunities for helping in recreation are varied, from trail maintenance to campground hosting there is always something that needs done.  Examples include:

  1. Trail maintenance
  2. Campground host
  3. Dump site clean-ups, work with Adopt a Forest to clean up a site where someone has dumped garbage. Or help adopt a forest update their database of sites by checking out which sites are cleaned already.


Other –

Don’t want to work outside?  That’s okay.  Although most of the work we do is outdoors, there is plenty to be done in the offices too.  From answering visitor questions to scanning and filing, even our offices are nonstop hives of activity.



Getting Involved with Partners

A lot of our work is done with the help of partner organizations.  Our partners help maintain recreation sites and trails, reduce hazardous fuels, monitor wildlife populations, improve wildlife and fisheries habitat, monitor archeological and historic sites, conduct conservation education programs and respond to emergency incidents.

We are committed to ensuring that existing and new partners are able to continue contributing in a useful and pro-active manner. If you would like to get involved in one of our partner organizations you will need to contact them directly. 


On-going Volunteer Programs

Adopt a Forest

The Adopt-A-Forest program is a cooperative partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the USDA Forest Service, the Michigan Forest Resource Alliance, and many other private organizations and volunteers. The goal of the program is to work towards elimanating illegal dumping and to increase the awareness of recycling opportunities for waste materials found, on both federal and state land. Please visit the "Adopt-A-Forest" website to learn how you can get involved and become a volunteer.


Plant a Tree

The Plant-a-Tree program provides a way for people to have trees planted on National Forests to memorialize loved ones or commemorate births, weddings, anniversaries or other special events, while helping to improve the environment.

For a suggested minimum donation of $10.00, donors receive acknowledgement of their gift and the name of the person in whose honor the donation is made is placed on the certificate.

The trees will not be individually identified by donor. Business groups may participate in non-commercial.

Trees planted from the donations will be used for multiple-use management purposes such as recreation area development, wildlife habitat, and commercial timber production.

By making a donation directly to any one of the 156 national forests in 43 states, donors can ensure their gift is used in the national forest of their choice.

Contributions given to the Huron-Manistee National Forests will be deposited into a special fund and distributed as needed on this national forest. Donations may be made in person or by mail at all Forest Service offices. They are listed in the telephone directory under "U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture."

Checks submitted to the program should be made payable to "USDA Forest Service." All donations to the Plant-a-Tree program qualify as charitable deductions under section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Service code.

For more information about this program, write or call your nearest Forest Service office. For the Huron-Manistee National Forests, write Plant-a-Tree Program, 1755 South Mitchell Street, Cadillac, Michigan 49601, email  r9_hmnf_website@fs.fed.us or call 231-775-2421. An information sheet is available to show what information is needed (docx.)