Adopt-A-River

Each year thousands of people kayak, canoe, or tube the two rivers (Platte River and Crystal River) in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to experience the fun of navigating a flowing stream and enjoying the flora and fauna on the river. 

The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes in cooperation with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has developed an Adopt-A-River program to provide regular monitoring and clean-up of the rivers within the Park.  We also coordinate with the Traverse Area Paddle Club to do large clean-up events a couple of times each summer.


There are two parts to an Adopt-a-River Volunteer: 
1. Identify downed trees, branches or other strainers and erosion of banks, and clear small obstructions by hand or with hand tools. Communicate larger obstructions or erosion to Park Roads, Trails, and Grounds crew.

2. Regularly patrol the rivers for trash left behind by patrons or what has flown down and gotten caught in the river. You will help assure that these fresh waters will be clean and in good condition for future visitors.

To become an Adopt-A-River volunteer, you or your group must commit to patrolling your river segment about once each month during the spring, summer and fall.  

Here is how you can become an Adopt-A-River Volunteer:

  1. Read the full description of the Adopt-a-River Volunteer.
  2. Sign up as a Friends Volunteer on our online registration form. One of our Volunteer Coordinators will get in touch with you and help you select a river segment and help you through the process of getting signed up and obtain the materials you will need including an Annual Pass to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
  3. The Volunteer Coordinator will help you sign up as a Volunteer-in-Park (VIP) at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. If you are already a VIP, we will add this job to your existing VIP profile. 
  4. Upon volunteer orientation with the program coordinator, you will receive an orange Friends Volunteer vest which we ask you to wear whenever you are participating in a cleen-up as well as be a save water steward by wearing a Personal Flotation Device.

After each time you paddle your River, you will report your volunteer hours, the trash you picked up, and any other observations about the river. Litter-gitters are also available for use by volunteers.

SaveSave


Duties & Responsibilities of volunteers:

The volunteer will patrol designated river segments, perform low level river bottom and shoreline maintenance, watch for any problem areas and report them to park staff.

Volunteers are asked to participate in at least one scheduled river cleanup per year. They are also asked to kayak or canoe a park body of water as an Ambassador wearing an Ambassador vest as well as a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) at least twice a year and report their volunteer hours and conditions.

The volunteer will pick up litter, remove trash and debris from river, shoreline, and portages.
The volunteer will report volunteer hours and observations online.
Click here to report.

Skills and Abilities Needed by Volunteers:

The volunteer’s physical conditioning and skill level must be good enough to permit paddling moderate distances and negotiating portages. The volunteer needs to be able to work alone and to exercise good judgment.

Limitations for Volunteers:

Volunteers may not use power tools for river maintenance without supervision from park staff. Volunteers need to respect the rights of private property owners along the river.

Minimum Time Commitment of Volunteers:

Volunteers are asked to participate in at least one scheduled river cleanup per year. They are also asked to kayak or canoe a park body of water as an Ambassador wearing an Ambassador vest as well as a PFD at least twice a year and report their volunteer hours and conditions.

Report volunteer hours and observations here.

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