volunteers

Snowshoeing at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
NPS.gov/Kerry Kelly 2007

Updated Jan. 15, 2019: As of Saturday National Park maintenance workers have begun plowing and picking up trash.

While many federal employees continue to be out of work during the partial government shutdown, about 30 volunteers are filling in for park rangers at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

Members of the non-profit group Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes have emptied trash receptacles, cleaned and restocked bathrooms, and groomed 20 miles of trails around the Lakeshore.

More than three centuries of thriving marine commerce and those notorious storms in the Great Lakes have given Michigan a wealth of historic shipwrecks. There are nearly a thousand on the bottomlands of the state's 13 designated underwater preserves alone. But Michigan's mostly volunteer system of protecting the shipwrecks is showing signs of trouble. 

For more than 20 years, volunteers with AmeriCorps have served in nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community- and faith-based groups across the country.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. 

And it turns out Michigan is one of the top states for AmeriCorps volunteers. 

National Director of AmeriCorps Bill Basl spoke with us today about the program and the more than 28,000 Michiganders who have contributed over 41 million hours of service.