Page 84 - Visitors Guide 18
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It’s your Lakeshore, why not help out?
It takes work to keep the white- sand beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore free of trash. To keep up, the National Park Service offers beaches for adoption.
Not surprisingly, the program is called “adopt-a-beach.”
“Volunteers usually choose a beach that is near them or is a favorite beach,” explained Mary Peterson, coordinator of the adopt-a-beach program through the Friends of Sleeping Bear organization. “Every beach in the park is up for adoption.”
Volunteers are expected
to clean their portion of the shoreline at least every other week. Their makeup includes school groups, summer travelers and northern Michigan land owners and families.
“Some people even go out every week from spring through fall,” Peterson said.
Responsibilities include picking up trash and reporting issues that need more attention than clean
up. In some cases, volunteers  nd  res not properly dismantled. They’ve also come upon pieces of dock, concrete and even boats pulled on shore.
“I notify the park in these cases and they send out a service crew,” Peterson said.
Beach volunteers also advise visitors on rules in the park and generally helping visitors with questions she said. And they’re encouraged to explain the leashed dog rule because of the presence of the piping plover and the unpredictability of loose animals.
Following a session on a beach, a volunteer  les a report to the Friends of Sleeping Bear organization.
“There is a list of items that they report on,” Peterson said. “We also track their hours. Many of the beaches are covered by several volunteers, although not necessarily at the same time.”
Since the program’s start in 2008, the adopt-a-beach
Volunteers pick up trash left behind by summer visitors to the national lakeshore.
program has proven popular.
“If not for community programs like this, our beaches would be in
terrible condition,” Peterson said. “The National Park Service does not have funding for maintaining the beaches on a regular basis. This is true for all of the beaches in Michigan. It is community volunteers who make visiting them such a pleasure.”
Want to help? The Lakeshore partners with a multitude of local nonpro t organizations that provide volunteers for a variety of
needed services.
Included are “Bark Dog”
owners who explain leash laws, monitors for Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, campground hosts and even interpretors at the Visitors Center.
Two major nonpro ts offer their services: the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Preserve Sleeping Bear.
If you would like to volunteer at the park, give the Lakeshore a call at 326-4700 or contact a partner nonpro t group.
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