Group Service Project Opportunities

One thing about stewarding an 80-acre property adjacent to thousands of acres of wilderness—there are always plenty of projects that need to be done! And some of them are very different from “city projects.”

several men on a woodpile

If your family or group is interested in combining a stay at Okontoe’s beautiful north woods property with a service project, we want to talk to you!

Why a Group Service Project at Okontoe?

There are two big reasons for considering a service project with us:

  • Our wilderness location far from the city, surrounded by pristine forest and a small, private lake. Almost everyone who comes here experiences the same thing—their stress leaving as they drive up Lake Superior’s North Shore, into the small harbor town of Grand Marais, and then the 28 miles up the Gunflint Trail to our road.
  • The chance for young people and adults to do good old-fashioned hard physical work. That isn’t that common anymore, especially for city folks.

You’d be surprised how many people love to come here to split firewood, paint cabins, cut and haul brush, and other hands-on projects.

These kinds of volunteer projects that make you sweat and give you something to show for it are very fulfilling. Especially for young people who’ve never done more than take out the garbage or wash dishes.

a few men staining Okontoe's Chapel
Staining the Chapel during a Men’s Retreat

Let’s add a third reason:

We don’t have cell service or wifi here…yet (although there are always rumor of it coming).

You and your whole family or group will be on a forced media fast while you’re with us. You’ll be amazed how relaxed you can get without having a phone attached to you 24/7!

What Types of Projects do We Need Help With?


We burn dozens of cords of firewood during each of our long northern winters. So sawing, hand-splitting and stacking wood is a huge, ongoing project. This will be under the supervision of an Okontoe staff member and several adults, if taken on by young people.

Only experienced folks will be allowed to man the chainsaws, and must wear eye protection at all times.

Hint: Boys and young men who grow up in the city with easy heating LOVE to learn to split wood with an ax or maul! A lot of girls do, too. One of our most popular work projects.

Best for September and October.

several people chopping wood
Church group from the Twin Cities during a Woodcutting Weekend

Painting/Staining Cabins & Picnic Tables

Every few years we tackle the painting and staining of our cabins, picnic tables and many out-buildings on the property.

Best for summer.

Tree Trimming & Brush Clearing

The forest seems to grow in on us continually, so every couple years we get out the saws and tree trimmers to cut them back. Includes hauling to our burn pile on “the back forty.”

Good anytime.

a family cutting and hauling brush
A family group cutting and hauling brush

Make It a Working Retreat for Your Family or Group

Many groups and families choose to combine their vacation or retreat with volunteer work projects when they come.

Plan to work with our staff on a work project in the morning and enjoy swimming, fishing, hiking, canoeing or napping during the afternoon!

Are you interested bringing a group for a Group Service Project? Call 218-388-2285 or email