Volunteers lend hand by adopting
By Neil Rhines
Manitowoc Herald Times
POINT BEACH STATE FOREST - Randy Beecher has a favorite
Beecher, president of the Friends of Point Beach, said
his and his two dogs’ love of the park is reason enough
to want to pitch in.
About 20 people were expected to join Beecher Saturday
as he and other friends, beginning at the park, walked
about three miles south picking up trash on the beach.
At the other end, another group coordinated by the Two
Rivers Parks and Recreation Department worked their way
three miles north from Neshotah Park in Two Rivers, meeting
in the middle for a shared lunch.
"That’s the main reason the Friends of Point Beach
is out there," Beecher said. "To preserve what
is out there and make it better."
The cleanup may seem like a rather thankless job, but
with tight park budgets "someone has to pick up the
ball and run with it," Beecher said.
The beach cleanup is in partnership with the Ocean Conservancy’s
International Coastal Cleanup in September and Wisconsin’s
Coastal Management Program, celebrating its 25th anniversary
this year, said Mike Friis, program coordinator with Wisconsin
Coastal Management. Wisconsin was the first Great Lakes
state to develop a Coastal Management program, Friis said.
From Lake Superior to Kenosha and on many inland lakes,
school groups, civic groups and even a group of divers
will take to their favorite body of water in hopes of
not only cleaning up the areas, but also of finding out
what kind of litter is found in the area and developing
educational ways of fixing the litter bug problem.
According to Guy Willman, superintendent at Point Beach,
not all litter found on the beach is necessarily dropped
More soda bottles and, for some reason, balloons found
their way into the trash bags last year, although not
many trash bags were filled on the three-mile walk in
2002, he said.
Regardless, the efforts of a group like Friends of Point
Beach, one whose 40 members have "adopted" the
park and help keep it beautiful, are appreciated.
The Friends group doesn’t only help with annual cleanups.
They also volunteer time, labor and money to help keep
up the park, Beecher said.
The group builds park benches and sells them for $250.
With the proceeds from the approximately 225 to 250 benches
the group has sold in the last few years, Friends of Point
Beach has been able to apply for grants from the state
and other foundations.
Money raised from the benches, for the most part, was
how the Rawley Point trail was built in the park, a project
that has received positive comments from park visitors,
The group also holds a pancake breakfast in early June
as a fund-raiser, and on Oct. 18 the group will have their
annual Halloween Weekend, where campers decorate their
campsites with goulish themes, and children get to have
an old-fashioned, in-the-dark trick-or-treat. The campground
is already full, he said.
According to Manitowoc County Health Department Director
Jim Blaha, service groups like the Friends of Point Beach,
groups willing to adopt a beach just like some groups
would adopt a highway, are incredibly helpful.
Adopt-a-Beach programs are relatively new to the area,
but the idea is growing in popularity, and some local
civic-minded people have expressed their interest, Blaha
The county would still test these beaches during the
swimming season, but while the county is only at a beach
for a short period of time every few days, adopted beaches
would, hopefully, have someone visit them every day.
Through these daily visits, and written logs detailing
personal observations of things like weather, wave conditions,
wind, rainfall and temperature, the hope is that a better
means of predicting how the samples will come back can
These programs give Beecher an excuse - as if he needs
one to get to the park, but it is simply a feeling of
responsibility that helps bring him back for more work.
"The state parks are limited to the funds they get,
and there are certain needs that must be filled,"
Beecher said. "Somebody has got to do it."