LIGHTHOUSE CLEANUP

Sean Lenney of Chesterfield Township climbs a ladder to paint a side of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse as he and nearly 300 Michigan Cares for Tourism volunteers, plus Michigan Department of Natural Resources employees and other workers, took over Leelanau State Park near Northport on Tuesday to clean, paint and build. The non-profit industry association of tourism professionals coordinates an annual clean-up event in addition to smaller scale events designed to spruce up and protect tourism spots around the state.

NORTHPORT — Edie Heerspink thinks the Grand Traverse Lighthouse is beautiful, no matter how Michigan dresses for the seasons.

But after a massive restoration and cleanup effort by Michigan Cares for Tourism held Tuesday, it’s glistening and gleaming, she said. Heerspink spent the day sanding, scraping and painting picnic tables and benches.

“The lady glows,” said Heerspink, a volunteer lighthouse keeper. “The lady just glows.”

About 300 volunteers completed numerous projects throughout Leelanau State Park over the course of a day, including work on the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

“If (a site) had the money to do it and the people to do it, they would have done the project a long time ago,” Program Coordinator Patty Janes said of this and other MC4T projects. MC4T tries to remove barriers by bringing money, equipment, supplies, etc. with them so they can get the work done, she said.

“All the way in Northport, you’re running on skeleton staff and volunteers,” Janes said. “So to have it all done in one day and know that yesterday a visitor and a volunteer had a different experience than they will tomorrow (is great).”

Find out more about the event in today’s Northern Living section.

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