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Beach & Trail Cleanup CITO event at Kirk Park Cache In Trash Out® Event

This cache has been archived.

FJFitzgerald: Completed totaling up the volunteer hours and sending the info to the Ottawa County Parks Department Volunteer Coordinator. Had a significant delay due to the local school systems having spring break, and also a trip south to see the total solar eclipse on 4/8/2024. Now almost caught up and archiving this Cache-In Trash-Out event and a last round of thanks to everyone who came. God bless and we hope to do this again in the fall.

Hidden : Tuesday, 02 April 2024
1 out of 5
4 out of 5

Size: Size:   other (other)

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Geocache Description:

02 April 2024, 14:00 - 18:30

A CITO event for the Beach & Trail cleanup at Kirk Park in West Olive, Michigan.  The 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm time for this event is quite broad as we want to give everybody the opportunity to come during whatever times they might be available in the afternoon and early evening.  While the official event will close at 6:30 pm, please message us if you would like to come before or after the designated timeframe, as we can provide coordination of your time to make sure you are able to get credit for your efforts.  We will try to coordinate for a group photo at 6:00 pm and possibly a surprise if time resources allow (planning still underway at the time of writing this).

The park will be divided into trail sections and beach sections and can be marked off as areas are completed.  Please bring gloves and appropriate apparel and footwear.  If you have some plastic grocery shopping bags you have been waiting to reuse, now would be a great time to bring them, and we will have additional ones onsite.

Zone 1 - Beach Areas: Preferably in 2-person teams, work north and south from the main staircase.  You are welcome to go as far as you desire and collect trash and debris, of any size you desire, that is not assumed to be private property.  Please don't hesitate to retrieve large items as well, or report the location of larger objects that require assistance in removing.  Car tires are a high priority target if found.  There should not be any medical waste (from the off-shore dumping in the late 1980s) but keep your eyes out in case a syringe is found (unlikely, but possible).  Lots of miscellaneous plastic trash and broken boards of deck lumber may be the more common items.  You are not limited to staying on the park property for this beach cleanup and may proceed along the shoreline north and south as you desire, staying within the public egress allowance along Lake Michigan.  We will provide drop locations at 1/2 mile and 1 mile in both the north and south directions for collection of large objects at designated private property access points that have given permission for this project (details will be onsite or updated to this CITO event cache description).

Zone 2 - Park Trails, Woods and Dune Staircase Trails: Using the park trail map, pick sections that you desire to hike the most, being aware that there are flat trails, hilly trails, and dune climb staircase trails.  Work only in the areas that you are capable of doing so safely.  Keep your eyes out for areas that trash may accumulate, especially the high elevation areas along the dune overlook ridges that often provide nesting locations for young couples while the sun transitions below the water line.  Camping items are uncommon to find, but forgotten apparel is not, and please carry extra trash bags if working in this area.  The official policy of the Ottawa County Parks Department for Kirk Park is that they ask you to stay on the trails, but it is not required at this park (you can roam freely and there are no consequences to departing from established trails).  However, do not climb on dune slopes for recreation.  Please respect this fragile environment, especially the dune grass and plant life on inclined surfaces.  You are encouraged to venture off trails as needed for trash retrieval while maintaining your personal safety.

Zone 3 - Road Areas: The tree line areas along Lakeshore Drive will often collect trash and blowing debris that is missed by cleanup efforts along the roadway.  The wooded section 20 feet wide that stretches north to south and set back from the road is the primary focus of this 3rd zone.  You should not need to approach the road when working in this area, but thorns may be more likely to be present here than elsewhere in the park due to the extra sun exposure.

Invasive Species Note: All the Hemlock trees in this park have been cataloged by the State of Michigan and the Ottawa County Parks Department with small Aluminum tags nailed to each tree.  In order to prevent the spread of Wooly Adelgid that attacks these trees (and other invasive species), please use the long fibered boot cleaners located at all trailheads before entering and exiting the trail systems.  While the removal of invansive species is not a planned priority of this CITO, I am awaiting a call back from the Parks Department and will ask if we are allowed to do such work during our trash cleanup for those cachers who are up to speed and trained for recognition and removal.  Note that there are dedicated volunteer groups that help on Fridays throughout the Ottawa County Parks in this task, but the job is bigger than the volunteers.

The base of operations for this CITO event is the Picnic Pavilion on the northwest corner of the main parking area.  Since this location can not be reserved officially due to off-season limitations and there is a chance it will be occupied before our arrival, the backup location is the space next to the public restrooms immediately south of the pavilion.  Charcoal grills are on site and available for use.  Please bring sufficient water in case we run out and the drinking fountains are not running.  Snacks to pass & share would be a blessing if you can.

Additional notes and relevent items:

While onsite, be sure to visit the oldest continuously published Geocache in Ottawa County, GC4D1, The Shores of Michi-gama if you have not done so yet.  There are no parking fees for this event, those are only required between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  The official park hours are 7 am to 10 pm and your vehicle will be locked inside the park if it remains outside of these hours.  At this time, dogs are permitted to be off-leash only on the southern-most section of beach so be aware if working in this area.  Other restrictions on locations and leashes for K-9s exist here and change often, so be sure to read the most current park rules before considering bringing your 4 footed friend to help you pick up.  More info about the park is available at:  The 38th President of the United States of America, Gerald R. Ford, attended summer camp here when this property was a Boy Scout Camp.  (Known as Camp McCarthy before 1926, then Camp Shawondossee 1926-1928, and later as Camp Kirk up through the early 1970s.)  The remains of a sea wall and dock structure still exist along the beach shoreline at the south end of the property.

If logging this event during the day but outside of the official timeframe, it must be on 4/2/2024 and you must include a picture of you and the trash you picked up.  The dumpsters are centrally located at the south edge of the main parking area.  Anyone who attends and puts in a good faith effort of 20 minutes or more may log this CITO event.  Thanks for all the help and hard work to improve the woods and dunes of this 68 acre park and making this a great place to visit this summer.  God bless and work safely.

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