ROSCOMMON COUNTY – Members of the West Branch Visitors Bureau joined Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau (HLATB) members and other local volunteers to clean a portion of the AuSable State forest in Roscommon County September 23. Nine volunteers removed approximately 15 yards of construction material and household debris along with four mattresses and seven tires from three illegal dumping spots near the Dead Stream swamp.
Their clean up was done with Michigan Cares for Tourism (MC4T) and DNR’s Adopt-a-Forest projects.
MC4T invests in Michigan’s most valued tourist treasures – the people and historic, cultural, and natural resources. Each year nearly 200 tourism industry professionals and volunteers clean, repair, and help restore a different State Park.
The Adopt-a-Forest program works with volunteers to enhance the enjoyment of public forest lands by cleaning illegal dumps on state land. This summer they had a goal to clean 100 spots in 100 days.
It was a natural decision to join together after MC4T’s planned project was canceled because of COVID 19. This allowed volunteers to complete a project near their residence while maintaining social distancing.
HLATB Board President, Dave Clouse, volunteered for the Roscommon County project.
“We missed doing the big project with Michigan Cares for Tourism because of the virus,” Clouse said. “This allowed us to do something for our area.”
“Our two groups have worked together on a couple different projects over the last few years and the forest clean up seemed like a natural continuation of our cooperation. This project was very rewarding and we hope to continue doing clean ups as part of projects every year.”
Other volunteers included HLATB board members Sandy Arndt and Don Sylvester, HLATB staff members Theresa Ekdom and Pam Reed, West Branch Visitor’s Bureau treasurer Vicky Barnes, and volunteers Anna Sylvester, Vickie Alexander, and Sheryl Sedgeman.
Visit the DNR Adopt-a-Forest website at cleanforests.org to find out how and where to volunteer to clean, or to report an illegal dump location. More information on MC4T can be found at michigancaresfortourism.com.