Curtis volunteers to demonstrate support for Great Lakes

(Courtesy photo)

CURTIS — At 10 a.m. today, communities across the U.S. Great Lakes Basin will link hands and host a boat flag, to raise awareness of the need to protect the lakes everyone loves.

In Curtis, a group will gather in the parking lot behind the Erickson Center for the Arts, N9426 Saw-Wa-Quato St., then walk to the Portage Township Park and boat launch on Big Manistique Lake, where they will hold a short ceremony. After the ceremony, a group is also planning a boat armada that will leave the boat dock, paddle around Burnt Island, and return.

Contact Randy Fretz at 906-450-7277 to participate.

The Curtis group is joining more than 60 communities in six states that are participating in the All Hands on Deck ceremony, according to a news release

“Whether you join an official ceremony on the Third or not, we just encourage people to get to the water with family and friends and reflect on what the Great Lakes mean to you at 10 a.m,” said Kimberly Simon, Director of All Hands on Deck.

Locally, nearly two dozen volunteers plan to participate.

“Sites and events may differ by community but the intention is the same: to bring people together in an expression of unified concern. In Curtis, our short walk will be followed by a boat procession from the public launch, around Burnt Island, and back.” said Ruthette Mills of McMillan, coordinator of the Curtis event.

Mills spearheads Indivisible Central UP, a group of friends and neighbors working for peace, people, and the environment.

“We all care for our Great Lakes. They face so many threats — invasive species, pollution, diversion, erosion. And with deep funding cuts planned for research and maintenance programs, this is one way to show how much we value our resource. Everyone has a stake in sustaining the vitality of our lakes.”

Launched in 2017 by Simon of Charlevoix, All Hands on Deck was prompted by the proposed funding cuts that would eliminate the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The group grew to reflect ongoing water issues centered around the desire for water policy to be based on science. Volunteers in more than a dozen communities have planned local events, and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council became the first of many groups to support and publicize All Hands on Deck.

A list of participating communities and supporters can be found at allhandsondeckgreatlakes.org.