MARQUETTE - A local nonprofit group will be working this week to do trail maintenance and erosion control at Little Presque Isle.
Officials with the Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition, a Marquette County-based organization focused on climbing in the U.P., organized the two-day event and is seeking volunteers. Work is set to begin Friday morning.
"On Friday from 10 to 6, we will be having a work session for anybody that wants to come out and volunteer," coalition member Jason Schneider said. "On Saturday, we will be doing the same thing."
The group plans to remove some graffiti on the island, but most of the work will focus on erosion control, Schneider said.
"The way that most people go to the rocky side of the island goes up this big steep sandy hill. That sandy hill and the whole trail that leads up to it has, over the last 20 years, seen very, very serious degradation," he said. "That's the primary focus area ... trying to control the erosion area on that hillside and some of the other spots."
Schneider said the island is one of the prime spots in the Midwest for bouldering, but added that this week's events are not just about bouldering at the island.
"Climbing is something that is growing in the community and climbers want landowners to know that we try to be as respectful of their property as possible," he said. "We want to give back to the community by being able to do some trail maintenance and clean-up at Little Presque Isle."
The primary goal of the coalition is to "maintain access to the area's limited climbing resources," Schneider said.
In pursuit of that end, the coalition tries to engage landowners and land managers in a dialogue about climbing.
"A lot of the climbing resources are either on state, federal or privately-held land that's in (Commercial Forest Reserve)," Schneider said.
Though the coalition has been around for less than two years, the group aims to do a clean-up or maintenance project each year.
Last year, the group did trail maintenance and cleaned up trash - members also posted informational signs - at the privately owned Slug's Bluff near Palmer.
This year, the coalition will be getting some help from the Access Fund, a national not-for-profit climbing advocacy group that has a conservation team that is sent out each summer. The team works with local groups to do trail maintenance, clean-up and management projects.
Schneider said that anyone looking to volunteer with the effort should just come to Little Presque Friday or Saturday. He recommended bringing basic tools, as well as work gloves and work clothes.
"Anybody who wants to, they can wade out to the island between 10 and 6 and pitch in," he said.
Schneider can be reached by phone at 361-0857 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.