Celebrate Public Lands Day by volunteering at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is celebrating National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday, Sept. 25, and inviting the public to help clean up the National Lakeshore’s beaches.

National Public Lands Day 2010 celebrates service and recreation on public lands and encourages volunteers to get outdoors to explore, enjoy and improve America's natural wonders.

Admission to all national parks, including the National Lakeshore, is free on National Public Lands Day. With that in mind, all are invited to join others in protecting the coastline by collecting and tallying all the trash found along the beach – plastic bags, balloons, cigarette butts, six-pack holders or any other refuse

National Public Lands Day is the largest volunteer hands-on activity of its kind in the country. Held in September each year, the event brings together thousands of individual and organizational volunteers to refurbish and restore the country’s public lands. These are the places Americans use for outdoor recreation, education, and just plain enjoyment. They encompass national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, and reservoirs managed by government agencies, but belonging to and enjoyed by all.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore beach cleanup coincides with the International Coastal Cleanup, which is sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy and takes place around the world every year.

Participants not only contribute to cleaner coastlines, but collect data from the debris they pick up. That data is then compiled and analyzed by the Ocean Conservancy, and locally by the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a nonprofit group concerned with the future of the Great Lakes.

The beach cleanup starts at noon and lasts until 3 p.m. Park Rangers will meet volunteers at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center, located on M-72 in Empire.

Volunteers should bring water to drink, wear weather-appropriate clothes (held rain or shine), sunscreen or hat, and closed-toed shoes. Tools and other needed materials will be supplied.

Participating in NPLD activities again this year is a group of local paddlers who kayak and canoe the lower Platte River while collecting trash along the way. Lois Goldstein of Williamsburg has organized the spring and fall cleanups for the past four years because of her love of the National Lakeshore waterway. The paddlers start at the Platte River Picnic Area and take out at Platte Point.

As a token of the National Lakeshore’s appreciation, each volunteer will also receive a free, one-day pass good for entrance to any federal recreation land (national forest, national park site or wildlife refuge) before Sept. 24, 2011. Credit for three hours of community service will also be available, if interested.

For details, please call Susan Sanders at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at 231- 326-5134, ext. 302. For more information about the park, visit www.nps.gov/slbe.
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My family (wife and three kids, sometimes the dog) and I have been RV campers since 2007. We own a 2000 Trail-Lite B22 Bantam hybrid, our tow vehicle is a 2006 Trailblazer LT EXT (5.3 V8 with 3.73 Rear Axle Ratio), and our setup includes the Equalizer sway controller. Looking to upgrade the camper in the near future, but until then we get out 2-3 times a month in season.