CALUMET -- Tired of finding plastic bags, food wrappers and other unsightly trash littering your favorite Great Lakes beach? Be part of the solution and join thousands of volunteers in cleaning Great Lakes shorelines during the Alliance for the Great Lakes Annual September Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Sept. 19., or Sunday, Sept. 20. Times and dates may vary depending on location.
An example is the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) cleanup of the Bete Grise Preserve this Sunday, Sept. 20.
The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District invites volunteers to participate in the cleanup of this Lake Superior beach at the Bete Grise Preserve from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Sept. 20. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
"Starting at 9 a.m. we will walk the Bete Grise Preserve beach and then go to the Public Beach at Bete Grise North to do the same," says Sue Haralson, HKCD administrator. "Bring a lunch and we will have a picnic back at the Preserve around noon."
Adopt-A-Beach and Michigan Coastal Cleanup are part of an international effort to pick up trash on beaches around the world.
The North Woods Conservancy (NWC) is the Michigan Coastal Cleanup coordinator for Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties, including Lake Superior and inland lakes and rivers. Contact Jane or John Griffith at 906 337-0782 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information about joining a cleanup group at an already-adopted beach or becoming the Beach Captain for a beach that is special to you.
While the official time is 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 19, Beach Captains can choose any date and time for their particular site.
"The idea is simple: pick up trash at local beaches and record the amounts and types of each trash item so garbage sources can be identified and hopefully terminated," notes Jane Griffith. "This is how the bottle bill was passed. It’s a good reason to stretch your legs, enjoy the beautiful fall weather and see some gorgeous coastal scenery."
Bill Deephouse of the Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited cleans up at the Gratiot River Park during a previous Michigan Coastal Cleanup. Deephouse will again serve as Beach Captain for the cleanup this weekend at Gratiot River Park. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
New and returning volunteers are needed to help clear the shorelines during this year's event in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. The cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup. Great Lakes volunteers join 400,000 other volunteers from 103 other countries around the world to clean up our shorelines by removing litter and recording what they find.
You can sign up by contacting the NWC (see above) or by stopping at the Ahmeek Streetcar Station (4 miles north of Calumet on US 41) between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays or between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekends. A master map, bags, gloves, aerial site maps and data forms are available at the Streetcar Station.
Beach at the Mouth of the Gratiot River after a previous Michigan Coastal Cleanup. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
No beach is too large or too small. You can choose one of the Keweenaw public beaches or do your own beach. Perhaps you and your neighbors would like to claim and clean a portion of private beach (maybe a whole subdivision or neighborhood)? Just let NWC know so they can add you to the list.
Working together, we can clean every inch of beach in the Keweenaw!
For a list of Keweenaw beaches and beach captains, email NWC at email@example.com or call the Griffiths at 906-337-0782.