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Contact: Lisa Myers, 231-326-5134
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) will be hosting a kickoff meeting for Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-Trail volunteers on Wednesday, May 12 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center on M72 in Empire.
If you are looking for a way to help keep Lake Michigan beaches beautiful while enjoying a relaxing walk on the beach once a month, you’ll want to learn more about the Adopt-A-Beach Beach Patrol. Or maybe you prefer a quiet hike on one of the many trails in the National Lakeshore. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is also looking for volunteers to hike their favorite trail once a month to clear fallen branches and notify park staff of bigger trail problems. Many of their volunteers are families or groups of friends who enjoy hiking the trails and beaches together.
The Adopt-A-Beach program is sponsored by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Alliance for the Great Lakes,and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Volunteers select one of the Lake Michigan beaches in the National Lakeshore and commit to patrolling their beach at least once each month during the spring, summer, and fall. They keep record of the type and amount of trash they pick up during their patrol. They also do a beach health assessment by taking water quality samples and weather data during their visit. This data is collected by the Alliance for the Great Lakesand is used to track sources of pollution, influence changes in laws and practices, and provide information to research studies of the Great Lakes. The Alliance for the Great Lakes has over 9,000 volunteers and groups involved in beach clean-up and monitoring in four of the five Great Lakes.
The Adopt-A-Beach program has been in operation for two years at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. During that time, their volunteers have picked up hundreds of pounds of trash that washed up on the park’s Lake Michigan beaches to keep beaches clean and safe. They even found an industrial ice machine washed up on a remote section of the Sleeping Bear Point shoreline and worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to identify the owner of the machine, prior to arranging for its removal.
The Adopt-A-Trail program has been managed by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes for over 15 years. The more than 100 miles of trails on the mainland have been divided into about 15 trail segments that a volunteer or group can “adopt.” The volunteers can take care of most problems they find along the trail such as picking up trash or clearing fallen branches. Park staff will be available to handle bigger problems like large trees that fall across the trail.
Make a difference by helping them keep the beaches and trails beautiful and safe, get a little exercise, and enjoy the great outdoors. Jamie Cross from the Alliance for the Great Lakes will present results from 2009 and lead the training session. Kerry Kelly and Molly McCombs from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Park Rangers from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will help you select a beach or trail and provide you with equipment and materials for your patrols.
Volunteers receive an annual pass to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
If you would like to Adopt-A-Beach or Trail, but are unable to attend the training meeting, contact Kerry Kelly, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, at email@example.com or call 231-421-1645.