Volunteers needed to keep local forests clean

There’s a Hiawatha National Forest program that area residents and organizations should consider getting involved in. It improves a place where many residents spend a great deal of time – the outdoors and the recreation areas that fall under the umbrella of the Forest Service.

It’s called the Adopt-a-Forest Program, and there’s no better time to adopt part of the area’s forest land than right now. As snow melts after the long winter, it leaves behind not only piles of sand but also bottles, cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic, and numerous other trash blown in by the wind or dropped out of someone’s vehicle. Littering and illegal trash dumping are also a problem on public lands. This is an eyesore for everyone who uses and enjoys the forest. According to Hiawatha National Forest officials, this debris can pollute soil and groundwater, causing problems for fish and wildlife.

In these days of budget cuts and belt-tightening, the Hiawatha National Forest relies on volunteers, organizations, and concerned citizens to help keep the forest clean. They need your help more than ever.

The Adopt-a-Forest Program allows individuals, families, organizations, or any group within the community to select a trail, lake, campground, road, or other high use area and keep it clean. Each individual or group will be recognized by the Forest Service on a sign in the adopted area. The Forest Service will provide groups with garbage bags, gloves and vests. There are many areas available, especially in Delta and Schoolcraft counties.

To get involved in this worthwhile effort and adopt a part of the forest contact Autumn Jauck at 906- 387-2512.

Whether you become a part of the effort or not, you can always do your part by not littering in the forest and removing trash when you see it. It’s a small way to help protect one of the area’s biggest assets.