2018-10-06 / News

Volunteers Lead Effort To Clean Up Round Island Wilderness


At left: Ryan Akers (center) and Kyle McGregor (right) haul trash from Arnold Freight’s 906 Freight Express to the state park’s landing craft Wednesday, September 12. At left: Ryan Akers (center) and Kyle McGregor (right) haul trash from Arnold Freight’s 906 Freight Express to the state park’s landing craft Wednesday, September 12. After finding an abandoned camp on Round Island while kayaking in 2017, brothers Peter and Sean Hubel and Michigan State Police Trooper Ryan Akers organized a cleanup. Wednesday, September 12, they and several other volunteers cleaned up the traps, old tents, rotting beds, chairs, dishes, empty food containers, and even a rusted washing machine.

They had worked this summer with Mackinac Island State Park ranger Justin Wright on a plan to remove the debris, marked all the dumpsites in August, and returned with volunteers in September to remove the trash.

Round Island is a designated wilderness area and part of the Hiawatha National Forest. Keeping it free from trash and dumpsites is a challenge, said Hiawatha’s East Zone Recreation program manager Kari Vanderheuel. She is thankful for the help of the volunteers.


A dumpster at St. Ignace fills quickly with trash collected on Round Island. (U.S. Forest Service photographs) A dumpster at St. Ignace fills quickly with trash collected on Round Island. (U.S. Forest Service photographs) “Trooper Akers contacted me in May to propose a joint effort to remove some of the larger dumpsites, and I was thrilled by their offer of assistance,” she said.

With only a small boat at its disposal and a small staff to police the grounds, the federal agency has been unable to keep up with the blight.

“However,” she continued, “with the assistance of volunteers and with the added vessels from Arnold Freight and Michigan DNR, the prospect of cleaning up more trash on Round Island became realistic.”

Arnold Freight offered its landing craft, the 906 Freight Express, for the project, and the state park sent its larger, green LCM landing craft. 906 Freight Express was sent to each dumpsite to pick up debris, which was then transferred to the LCM docked near Round Island Lighthouse.

Volunteers and five Forest Service employees collected trash on the island, dismantled makeshift shelters, and removed fire rings. At the end of the day, the LCM hauled the trash to a dumpster in St. Ignace that was rented by the Forest Service.

“We are truly thankful for the enthusiasm and dedication of these individuals, and we look forward to working together in the future,” said Ms. Vanderheuel.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2018-10-06 digital edition