CALUMET TOWNSHIP - Michael D'Angelo was looking at the Michigan Technological University website when he checked the involvement link and saw Keweenaw National Historical Park needed volunteers for National Public Lands Day Saturday, so he and some friends decided to take part.
National Public Lands Day is an opportunity for members of the public to get involved with various projects at many national public properties, not just parks. At KNHP, volunteers were picking up trash at the former industrial area around the Coppertown USA Mining Museum on Red Jacket Road in Calumet Township.
D'Angelo said he and his friends were representing Copper Country Habitat For Humanity, and it was this first time they took part in National Public Lands Day.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Left, Michigan Technological University students Michael D’Angelo, Scott Pokornowski and Jack Piper pick up trash Saturday during the National Public Lands Day near the Keweenaw National Historical Park headquarters building on Red Jacket Road in Calumet Township. National Public Lands Day is an effort by the National Park Service to get members of the public to take an interest in all national public lands, not just parks.
"We've done 'Make a Difference Day,'" he said.
With D'Angelo was Scott Pokornowski, who said he liked the idea of doing something something useful.
"We feel like it's good to go out and help the community we live in," he said.
In a Sept. 9 article about the National Public Lands Day, Tom Baker, management assistant at Keweenaw National Historical Park, said NPLD has become relatively popular throughout the country.
"In 2011, there were about 170,000 volunteers nationwide," he said. "It's basically to engage the American public in the stewardship of public lands."
Those 170,000 volunteers put in work equivalent to $17 million in wages, Baker said.
Although KNHP is a park, Baker said the NPLD isn't confined to parks, but includes all public lands.
Tara Laase-McKinney, KNHP seasonal park interpreter, said 23 people took part in the clean up of the park Saturday, which was similar to past years. Although last year, the volunteers also cleared brush from the industrial area, only trash pickup was done this year.
"It kind of maintained itself very well," she said of the reason brush wasn't cleared this year.
Laase-McKinney said the number of people taking part in Public Lands Day at KNHP depends on what organizations or groups are able to come, such as Tech fraternities.
"We usually get a big turnout from Tech," she said.