Michigan DNR seeking volunteer harbor hosts for Straits State Harbor in Mackinaw City

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteer harbor hosts for Straits State Harbor during the summer of 2011. The Volunteer Host Program allows individuals to stay in a state harbor at no charge in return for providing visitor assistance at the harbor.

Straits State Harbor is an award-winning harbor, featuring eight wind turbines that produce energy for the harbor. The facility also makes use of natural light, recycled materials and other eco-friendly features. The harbor is one of the newest, and most energy efficient harbors on the Great Lakes. Straits State Harbor is located at 409 S. Huron Ave. in downtown Mackinaw City, a premier tourist destination that offers a variety of activities, including museums, shopping, restaurants, golf, historic parks, the Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Island.

The harbor has 136 slips for transient boaters, and offers electricity, gas, diesel and pump out service. Other amenities include a comfort station with showers and laundry, boat launch, fishing pier, grills, picnic shelters, refuse and recycling containers, and a dog run.

Harbor hosts at Straits State Harbor would assist harbor visitors by directing them to their boat slips, helping them tie off their boats, answering questions about the harbor and local tourism, organizing harbor activities and performing light maintenance and other services, depending on the host's talents and interests.

Harbor hosts can be individuals or teams. Hosts must be at least 18 years old, provide services for five days, 30 hours per week, including weekends and holidays, serve a minimum of four consecutive weeks and furnish their own vessel, equipment and personal items. Retired couples, teachers, college students and families are some of the people who have enjoyed volunteering as hosts in other state locations.

Hosts must attend a two-day training session at the end of April at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon. Harbor hosts are chosen by park managers who may require an interview or request additional information. Selection is based on the individual's familiarity with the harbor, their boating experience, special skills, availability, knowledge of the area, and the needs of the harbor.

Persons interested in volunteering as a harbor host at Straits State Harbor should send an application as soon as possible to the Cheboygan Field Office, Attn: Harbor Host Program, 120 A Street, Cheboygan, MI 49721. For more information about the harbor or the harbor host program, contact the Cheboygan Field Office at 231-627-9011 (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired).

This is the first year for the Harbor Host program, an expansion of the already successful Campground Host program. Persons interested in becoming a campground or harbor host at a state park or harbor, should apply directly to the state park/harbor of their choice. For more information about other DNR volunteer opportunities, or to download an application, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers, or contact Pam Ames at 517-467-7401.