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Friends group plans fourth annual park cleanup

 

Submitted photo

LINNEA AND Henry Shackleford, of Ironwood, stand next to an illegal dumping site in Miners Memorial Heritage Park in Ironwood. Volunteers are welcome to join the Friends of MMHP to help clean up the site. Workers will meet at 9 a.m. Hiawatha Park on Burma Road in Ironwood.

IRONWOOD — The Friends of Miners Memorial Heritage Park will host their fourth annual spring cleanup in the park Saturday starting at 9 a.m.

Volunteers will meet at Hiawatha Park in Ironwood before focusing on the westernmost area of the park, part of the old Norrie Mine between Burma Road and Alfred Wright Boulevard.

“Miners Memorial Heritage Park includes 167 acres of city-owned land and has deep subsidence areas resulting from iron ore mining that occurred during the first half of the 20th century,” Friends president Monie Shackleford said. “After the mines closed, these areas were treated as waste areas.”

Before the group’s annual cleanups, the park had many illegal dumping sites where items like tires, appliances and furniture had been left through the years. “Dumping sites are not only unsightly, but also they create concerns for public health and safety, decrease property values, and negatively impact the quality of life,” Shakleford said.

“The first year that we did a clean-up, the task seemed impossible because some of these dumping sites are in deep and difficult to reach areas,” Shackleford said. “But with each cleanup, we have found that a group of dedicated people can do a lot in one morning of hard work. Even though some dumping does continue to occur, a majority of what we remove has been there for decades. That being said, if someone sees trash being dumped illegally, he or she should call public safety.”

The cleanups, held since 2010, have concentrated on a specific dump sites in the park each year, with two cleanups in 2012. The Norrie Club also hosted a separate cleanup in 2010. “Over the course of these cleanups, volunteers have removed hundreds of tires and multiple city truckloads of trash,” Shackleford said.

This year’s site includes some large metal items that may be difficult to remove, Shackleford said. “What we won’t get this year, we will find a way to remove it next year,” she said. “I find this cleanup to be one of the most fulfilling activities I do each year.”

Volunteers should wear sturdy boots and work gloves. They may bring brush-cutting tools to help clear brush around the Norrie A Shaft. “Anyone who could bring a truck with a winch to pull up large objects would be welcome,” Shackleford said.

A free cookout will follow the event.

For more information, call Shackleford at 906-932-3779.