Northern Michigan Events: Looking for a way to help keep Lake Michigan beaches beautiful while enjoying a relaxing walk on the beach once a month? Learn about the Adopt-A-Beach Patrol!

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will be hosting a kickoff meeting for Adopt-A-Beach volunteers on Thursday, May 24 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center on M-72 in Empire.

Volunteers select one of the Lake Michigan beaches in the National Lakeshore and commit to patrolling their beach at least once each month during the spring, summer, and fall. Many of the volunteers are families or groups of friends who enjoy hiking beaches together. They keep a record of the type and amount of trash they pick up during their patrol, and do a beach health assessment by taking water quality samples and weather data during their visit.  

This data is collected by the Alliance for the Great Lakes and is used to track sources of pollution, influence changes in laws and practices, and provide information to research studies of the Great Lakes.  The Alliance for the Great Lakes has over 10,000 volunteers and groups involved in beach clean-up and monitoring in the five Great Lakes.

At the kick-off meeting, Jamie Cross from the Alliance for the Great Lakes will present results from 2011 and lead the training session.  Kerry Kelly from the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Park Rangers from the National Lakeshore will help participants select a beach and provide equipment and materials for patrols. Volunteers receive an annual pass to the National Lakeshore.

The Adopt-A-Beach program, sponsored by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,   has been in operation for five years at Sleeping Bear Dunes.  During that time, their volunteers have picked up hundreds of pounds of trash that washed up on the park’s Lake Michigan beaches, keeping beaches clean and safe.

Those who wish to join will make a noticeable difference. Do your part by helping keep the beaches beautiful and safe; all while getting a little exercise and enjoying the great outdoors.

If you would like to Adopt-A-Beach, but are unable to attend the training meeting, contact Kerry Kelly, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, at, or call 231-631-4244.

For more in-depth information, please contact the National Lakeshore at 231-326-5134 or visit their website at  Also, check them out on Facebook at and Twitter!/SleepingBearNPS.