The October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014 fiscal year was a good one! The Federal Government operates on this fiscal year and the Friends have changed our fiscal year to match the Park. That simplifies some of our reporting and bookkeeping. Each year, Park Management asks us to report on the projects, grants, and volunteer hours during the year, and this one is the best ever!
Our Adopt-A-Beach program reported 90 volunteers maintaining our Lake Michigan beaches and logging over 1,000 hours. We were fortunate this year in having only a couple of major trash wash-ups, and very few dead birds! The Adopt-A-Trail program reported 35 volunteers logging over 660 hours keeping our hiking trails clear and safe. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Ambassadors (84 volunteers) and Trail Crew (28 volunteers) logged almost 2,600 hours.
The Friends made cash grants to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore of $9,382 and contributed $205,314 in a long list of projects. The major projects included the SBHT trail spur to the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive parking lot and the Donor Recognition Plaza for the SBHT at the Dune Climb. Funds for these projects came from the private fundraising for the SBHT led by TART and the SBHT Campaign Cabinet.
We built another beach access stairs in Port Oneida, to allow safe access from road level down a steep bluff to the Lake Michigan Beach. Fifteen volunteers (many from Cherry Republic) logged over 250 hours building these steps under the direction of Chris Lefleur, Park Roads & Trails Crew. The first visitors to use the new steps was an extended family with a baby and some elderly aunts and uncles, who all very much appreciated the new stairs.
Several projects that support historic and cultural activities at the Park were transferred to Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear, another non-profit Park Partner focused on historic and cultural preservation within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We transferred these projects to minimize duplication of effort and it allows the Friends to focus on recreational projects like trails, natural resource protection, and educational projects.