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Volunteers collect concrete, trash at state park beach cleanup

Alex Doty • Apr 21, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Some area residents got a head start on Earth Day by going to the beach Friday afternoon.

The Save the Catwalk Committee hosted a beach cleanup effort at Grand Haven State Park, where they collected everything from dead vegetation to large chunks of concrete and steel rods. The cleanup was in advance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ contractors’ plan to deposit dredge materials along the beach area during upcoming dredging operations.

Joining in the volunteer effort were brother and sister Jacey and Jameson Kloeckner, who biked down to the beach to help with the cleanup.

“We live in Grand Haven and we hate when the beach is a mess,” Jacey said. “I’m surprised there’s this much cement.”

The siblings helped carry large chunks of concrete into wheelbarrows and front-end loaders to be hauled away. Jameson — who pulled a large metal stake from deep beneath the sand — said he was glad to be a part of Friday’s volunteer effort.

“We wanted to give back to a community that always helps us out,” he said. “I’m very glad that we have such an awesome community to do these things.”

RELATED: Photo Gallery: Grand Haven State Park beach cleanup

Save the Catwalk Committee’s Erin Turrell said she was pleased with Friday’s turnout, and noted that she was surprised by the size and quantity of the debris on the beach.

“The 50-plus people that showed up to do this has been a wonderful testament to our community,” she said. “And because Sunday is Earth Day, we’re just getting a jump start.”

Help included wheelbarrow donations from Grand Haven Garden House and assistance from the city, state park, Corps of Engineers and The King Co., in addition to the dozens of area residents who volunteered their time. Turrell said that volunteers were from all over the Tri-Cities area, not just Grand Haven.

Helping out on the beach was Grand Haven Mayor Geri McCaleb, who called the event “a great community effort.”

“I am gratified with all of the people that came out to help. I think that is awesome,” she said. “I’m glad for the opportunity to pick up those big chunks of concrete and stuff. A beach rake can only do so much.” 

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