The Great Northern Michigan Shovel Experiment

Clearing your sidewalk is a honorable community action. And in places, the law.

The Great Northern Michigan Shovel Experiment is a crowd-sourced effort to keep northern Michigan communities accessible in the winter. We do that by encouraging everyone to maintain clear sidewalks, curb cuts, bus stops, pedestrian bridges, and fire hydrants during the winter. 

Ultimately, The Great Northern Michigan Shovel Experiment = neighbors helping neighbors. So what can you do to help others keep moving? 

The region is improving its efforts to clear sidewalks in a timely fashion. But unfortunately, intersection curb cuts often become barricades once the street plow comes by after the sidewalk plow. These orphaned snow-berms make the intersection impassable for people like Jeanne, who uses a wheelchair.

What can you do? 

  1. Take the Pledge–Pledge to keep your sidewalk clear all winter. 
  2. Adopt a Spot– Our goal is to pair up energetic people with shovels with an adopted intersection in their neighborhood or near their workplace. 

How does it work?

  1. Pledge below to keep your residential or business sidewalk shoveled.
  2. Adopt an intersection, a pedestrian bridge, a bus stop, and a fire hydrant near your home or workplace.
  3. Receive heaps and heaps of praise and gratitude as well as mucho high fives for being awesome.
  4. Send us pics of your efforts. We love before and after shots after massive snowfalls. In exchange for your photo, get a Norte buff to keep warm!

Take the pledge to keep your sidewalk clear (and if able, adopt an intersection, bus stop, pedestrian bridge or fire hydrant) here:

  • Optional but awesome. Please be specific ie. Oak & 6th intersection, Water Street & Front bus stop, Cass Street bridge.

No shovel? 

No problem. Our friends at Northern Building Supply have generously donated dozens of shovels for neighbors in need. Swing by the Norte Clubhouse at the Civic Center Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 2-6 pm and Saturdays 10-2 pm. Call 231-883-2404 with questions. 

Northern Building Supply will also have these shovels for sale at their store. For every shovel sold, a portion of the proceeds will go to Norte.

Need help shoveling your sidewalk? 

The Northern Michigan Big Dig is part of our “neighbors helping neighbors” campaign. Complete this form, and we’ll try our best to connect you with someone in your neighborhood that can help.

Want to commit to helping out as needed in Downtown TC? 

Norte is teaming up with TART Trails and the Traverse City DDA to tackle problem spots in Downtown Traverse City. If you’d like to be part of our rapid response team, email our advocacy director at