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Volunteer Russ Fischer of Solway paints the picnic cabin at the Lake Bemidji State Park Saturday morning. Fisher joined nearly 30 other volunteers to help clean the park as part of Green Touch Day Brian matthews | Bemidji Pioneer

Green Touch Day volunteers get park ready for summer

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI- Nearly 40 volunteers from the area picked up their racks, paintbrushes, and shovels Saturday morning to help prepare the Lake Bemidji State Park for summer.

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"We got a lot of the same people out here every year." Park Manager Pete Harrison said. "They really enjoy it (and) they look forward to the projects they like doing."

Saturday's projects were in celebration of the 13th Annual Green Touch Day, a statewide partnership with Minnesota's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and State Parks. The Bemidji event was partnered with the Beltrami Electrical Cooperative, who sent out invites to their customers to volunteer to clean the park.

"This is something we enjoy doing because they do so much for our members and we just want to give back to them," Beltrami Electric Cooperative representative Mitch Raile said.

This year, Harrison and the park workers decided to work on projects including painting the picnic shelter along the shoreline, racking leaves, planting native flowers in the garden and other general projects that park staff is not always able to get to.

For volunteers like Herald Schramm, Frank Bera, and Jan Moen, Green Touch day is a tradition. Each has been coming out for the past few years to help plant trees, clean the roadways or whatever project the park staff has planned.

"I've been doing it for a few years," Moen said. "I belong to this group in Bemidji called the Master Naturalists and to keep your membership up you have to do so many volunteer hours, so this is a nice way to do that because it's so peaceful and so close."

For Judy Mouser and her granddaughter Haley, first time volunteers, the day is just an opportunity to help out at a park they love to use.

"We come here camping and so for that reason we want to give back," Mouser said.

Harrison said it is great to see the support for the park and get some people to help get the park ready for summer.

"As you may know there is only so much the staff can get done so any time we have the volunteers to help us out there it is great," he said.

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