Great Lakes Climate Corps and volunteers shore up the beaches

The Great Lakes Climate Corps hosted a clean-up and restoration event at McCarty’s Cove Friday to get people involved in protecting Lake Superior and its surroundings.
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Steady downpour Friday afternoon on the beaches of Marquette, but it didn’t rain down the Great Lakes Climate Corps’ mission to get people involved in protecting Lake Superior -- as the busy summer season winds down.

“As we reminisce on that summer, we see a lot of social trails cutting through our dunes that aren’t supposed to be there, a lot of litter left over,” said Great Lakes Climate Corps (GLCC) Program Manager Tyler Penrod.

Penrod and his GLCC teammates gathered around a dozen volunteers -- including locals, visitors and students from Northern Michigan University -- picking up cigarette butts, cans, any trash along the way from McCarty’s Cove to Shiras Park.

“This is one of Marquette’s most popular beaches, so it sees a lot of action, a lot of footsteps throughout the summer,” he said.

They are post-season efforts to clean-up and preserve.

“Going and planting dune grass, we’re trying to restore the root system in our dunes to keep the sand from blowing away, getting washed away by water and ice throughout the winter,” Penrod said.

Restoring also includes removing invasive species that disrupt the root system.

“A couple of the nasty invasives that we’re working with here are spotted knapweed, which is a small purple flower. And common tansy, which you see all over our beaches and has big yellow heads,” noted Penrod.

The GLCC program manager reminds to always do your part in your next beach visit -- and stick with the main trails.

“Don’t go off walking through the beach grass. It’s a really sensitive plant -- stepping on it will kill it. And people tend to follow other peoples’ paths,” explained Penrod.

It’s all part of a community action to protect the Big Lake and its surroundings.

“With the volunteers we really appreciate their support and dedication through the rain. We’d also like to thank our partners who helped us put this on. Travel Marquette contributed some monies so that we could provide tools, safety equipment for volunteers and some snacks as well. And we’d also like to thank Citizens for a Safe & Clean Lake Superior. They brought their volunteers here in an effort to protect our beaches as they try to protect Granot Loma from the rocket launch facility,” Penrod said.

Learn more about the Great Lakes Climate Corps, a project of the Superior Watershed Partnership HERE.

Upcoming volunteer events can be found on Superior Watershed Partnership’s Facebook page.

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