Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others? – Martin Luther King Jr.
Minnesota’s North Shore is an incredible place. Natural splendor surrounds visitors with a wilderness retreat. Small towns showcase a diverse array of heritage that forged a region, a state, and nation including indigenous people, early settlers, and more recent arrivals. Maintaining all this greatness, often, is an army of volunteers keeping the north shore awesome. I’ve encountered them on the trails, in the museums, and on the airwaves throughout the region.
If you’re looking to give back to the area, check out some of the following ways in which you can volunteer to keep the north shore thriving.
Superior Hiking Trail
The superior hiking trail offers more than 300 miles of fantastic trails for hikers of all experience levels. Maintaining these trails is no small feat. According to the Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA) nearly 300 volunteers giving 6,000 hours of their time, help keep the trails in tip top shape. Volunteers can “adopt” a portion of the trail to help maintain it or volunteer at events. If you’re interested in volunteer with the SHTA you can learn more here.
NorthWoods Volunteer Connection
People who love the outdoors head to the North Shore either for the lake or the woods. Conserving the wilderness takes a lot of hands on deck. The NorthWoods Volunteer Connection is a sort of volunteer broker organization for the region. They coordinate volunteers who are interested in conservation and provide them to organization’s and projects throughout the area that are in need. If conservation and nature is the name of your game you can learn more about volunteering with NWVC here.
WTIP Community Radio
Minnesota and community radio go hand in hand. This year the state is celebrating 50 years of Minnesota Public Radio. North Shore-goers have likely tuned into the regional favorite WTIP in Grand Marais. Everything from local music, storytelling and more can be picked up on WTIP. A WTIP volunteer can run the Gambit from on air to off air and plays a big role in making the on-air magic happen. As a former radio broadcaster myself, believe me when I say it takes a village – and WTIP is a North Shore treasure. If you’d like to learn more about volunteering with WTIP check this out.
One of the coolest little stops off Highway 61, Sugarloaf Cove offers great hiking, views and educational programs. Maintaining all of this, naturally, requires some help. Volunteers at Sugarloaf Cove can help with everything from hosting to trail maintenance. If you’d like to learn more about helping at Sugar Loaf Cove visit them online here.
Lake Superior Railroad Museum
The railroad has a rich history in Minnesota and across the North Shore. The North Shore Scenic Railroad offers a spectacular seat for a traveling tour of the region while the museum houses one of the best railroad exhibits in the country. If you love the railroad, volunteering here might be a perfect fit.
Superior National Forest
If the woods is totally your thing, then you come to the North Shore for Superior National Forest. Home to the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness area, lots of trails and campgrounds, the National Forest is truly a beauty. Forest us rules requires that campers and hikers pick up after themselves and practice minimum impact camping. Still, to conserve the forest, a team of volunteers is needed. If you’d like to volunteer directly with the forest service, you can learn more here.